Better environment, better lives

Lake view at Aston UniversityThe quality of the environment affects the quality of our lives. It is a reality that the poorest people are the ones living in the worst environmental conditions.

‘Environmental inequality’ was at the centre of the ‘Better Environments, Better Lives’ conference organised by the Environment Agency and Be Birmingham. The event, held on 27th February in Birmingham, raised the awareness of social and environmental inequalities and explored ideas of improving quality of life through environmental actions.

Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, presented the fact that environmental issues (such as poor air quality, river pollution and fly-tipping) are correlated to social deprivation. However, he also shared his view that the current situation can be changed.

Regulation and work in partnership are the key elements to reduce environmental inequality. In addition, work is also required with the most vulnerable communities to make them more resilient to climate change.

David Fell from Brook Lyndhurst consultants mentioned that when measuring prosperity, we must move away from the traditional monetary figure (Gross Domestic Product – GDP) towards a more holistic view which also includes social factors. The work that the Sustainable Development Commission has done in redefining prosperity was positively mentioned.

Chris Baines, Vice President of the Wildlife Trust, emphasised that delivering positive environment actions now can moderate the effects of climate change in the near future.

The event also encouraged participants to come up with innovative ideas that can change the environmental inequality in the West Midlands. Some of the ideas brought forward include:

  • People locally involved
  • Integration of the environment and regeneration agendas
  • Consultation with the community while the policy is shaped
  • Creative use of resources that includes a long term vision
  • Investment in green infrastructure
  • Green jobs to colour the green economy

For further information about the event, contact Samantha Tinsley-Hunt on 0121 675 7821 or email samantha.tinsley-hunt@birmingham.gov.uk.

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2 Responses

  1. […] and thanks to the WMRO for mentioning this and the Better Environments, Better Lives […]

  2. There’s a blog pulling together issues from the ‘Better environments, Better Lives’ conference at:

    http://betterenvironmentsbetterlives.wordpress.com

    You can view the speakers’ presentations at:

    http://betterenvironmentsbetterlives.wordpress.com/category/presentations/

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