The other posts in this series can be found here. The first one with an explanation of what this is about is here.
Bonnie Alter, London, U.K.
In the U.K., two of the big themes for 2006 were environmental politics and food. The political scene was dominated by the decline of Prime Minister Tony Blair's influence and the rise of David Cameron, the new leader of the opposition Conservative party. Cameron positioned himself as the poster child for radical green initiatives. He rode a bicycle to work, made plans to put a wind turbine on his newly green house and made the Labour party take notice. Their response: a budget that didn't deliver any substantive deterrents to flying or driving. On the food side, farmers' markets sprang up in every middle-class neighbourhood. The demand for organic food just kept on growing. However the appetite was so big that supermarkets were running out of locally grown food and had to fly it in from abroad. They became more environmentally aware, started using recycled bags, selling "imperfectly" shaped vegetables and more local produce. Ironically, one quarter of adults and children are now clinically obese here. Jamie Oliver pushed the government to introduce healthy lunches into the schools, instead of starchy, fried foods and irate mothers retaliated by selling junk food to the students over the fence at recess.
Onwards and upwards to 2007. The European Union (EU) is passing more stringent regulations about recycling, the environment and air travel. There will be heavier taxation of airplane flights, but given the British passion for weekend getaways and the endless availability of cheap flights, it will be a hard one to tackle. In London, there will be bigger taxes for driving SUV's and an expanded area of town will be included in the congestion charge zone. The effect that the massive buying power of the supermarkets has on the strength, availability and purity of the organic food industry will be a major issue. As will their ability to source locally. On a personal level; my priorities are to try and eat more locally grown food first, then as organically and ethically grown as possible. Take more trains. Buy a bicycle—and a helmet. All the best in 2007 to the readers of Treehugger, wherever you may be.