We all need to work together for a greener Lancashire | Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar column

Congratulations all round to the borough/county team who bid for £30,000 of funding from Lancashire's Environmental Fund to reinstate and renovate the skate park in Padiham's Memorial Park.

Thursday, 16th December 2021, 3:45 pm
Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar

Our successful collaboration which includes additional financial support not only restores a fantastic resource for skater boys and girls but is a further example of how we will, where possible, seek out and use environmentally friendly materials.

All this led me to thinking of green jobs, what does the term mean and how can we promote them in the borough?

Green jobs; even the term needs some unwrapping.

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On a recent Webinar on just such a topic it was clear that other members were just as perplexed with only one speaker, from Myerscough College, able to give a comprehensive and succinct example as to how present students will be putting practical learning into land and water management in the future.

So why is it so little is done to promote employment in agriculture, horticulture and forestry in our schools when the opportunities within each of these sectors is so diverse, in many cases, forgive the pun, ground-breaking and innovative.

The farmers, foresters and fisheries of the future are as digitally diverse as any Silicon Valley hipster. So why is it we rarely promote these sectors at the careers days or invite people to speak on these subjects in our schools?

During the last two years working from home did, briefly reduce our carbon footprint.

Despite Omicron causing many to revert to homeworking the roads remain busy and any earlier gains in air quality and reduced carbon emissions have been cancelled out. So, can it truly be argued that the new ways of working are really any 'greener'?

Working digitally, from home is not an answer in itself, in the same way planting trees is not an end in itself.

A rounded collaborative approach is required, that delivers on a personal, practical and societal level resulting in environmental gains across the board with a minimum of environmental degradation.

So, whilst electric cars may play a positive role greater thought should be given to the seedier side of the subject such as the conditions of mining the elements necessary for battery productions and where batteries will be dealt with once they reach the end of their useful rechargeable life.

Likewise, wind turbines, the great hope of green energy, do not come with a net zero carbon footprint with the concrete base on which they stand sunk into our South Pennine peat, a patchwork of old and new patio pads on our local, but much underrated, carbon sinks.

So, perhaps we need to put greater thought into what constitutes a 'green' job and rather than looking for a quick fix, work collaboratively to find long-term sustainable solutions.

Meanwhile, perhaps a little more promotion and appreciation of those who deliver tangible environmental benefits, like some of our fantastic businesses leading the way with low carbon technologies and a more responsible way of doing business and being recognised for it in the latest edition of InBusiness Burnley.

We all need to change habits and our mindset to reduce waste, make subtle changes and educate.

Rather than talk of environmental benefits, as a council we are committed to putting this into action.

We are planting more trees; all executive members have a responsibility for climate change, and we are devising a climate change strategy.

Admittedly we don’t have all the answers, but we are taking steps to learn from others.