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Middlesbrough has won major recognition for its efforts to improve the local environment and tackle climate change to make the world a greener and healthier place for all.
The council has adopted the principles of One Planet Living into the way it plans and delivers its services.
The global initiative will help achieve greener, lower cost and healthier lifestyles, with all organisations, families and individuals contributing to more sustainable communities to make Middlesbrough a better place to live and work in.
It is based on the fact that communities are using the earth’s resources at a faster rate than they can be replaced – to sustain current levels of consumption, we would need three planets, hence One Planet Living.
Middlesbrough’s commitment to developing sustainable lifestyles and communities has now seen it formally recognised as a One Planet Living Council by One Planet Living founder BioRegional.
BioRegional is an entrepreneurial charity with the goal of helping people to have happier and healthier lives within a fair share of the earth’s resources, working in partnership with organisations around the world.
Middlesbrough’s new status has been formally conferred by One Planet Technical Director and Bio-Regional co-founder Pooran Desai at a meeting of the Council’s Executive on Tuesday, November 1.
Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon said: “Middlesbrough has wholeheartedly embraced the principles of One Planet Living and they inform how we plan and deliver our services.
“By making gradual changes to the way we do things, for example, in the way the people of Middlesbrough eat, travel and dispose of their waste, we are turning the town into a more sustainable community – which simply means living a quality life within the resources the planet can provide.
“The designation of Middlesbrough as a One Planet Living town is recognition of the invaluable work that continues here as we strive to create a sustainable future.
“We all have our part to play - individuals, families, employers and organisations, and never more so than in the challenging economic times we currently face.
“Through this commitment to One Planet Living financial savings will be made as we all use less energy and natural resources through efficiencies. The model will allow the council and partners to plan ahead to live within the resources that the planet can provide in an affordable way.”
Pooran Desai said: “One Planet Living is about being smarter with how we use natural resources and crucially that can save us all money.
“It is also about creating the green jobs that we need to build sustainable, happy, healthy communities.
“Middlesbrough Council is already saving thousands of pounds from saving energy and water.
“We are excited to be working with Middlesbrough and look forward to sharing more ideas from our international network. We invite other councils to follow Middlesbrough’s lead.”
The One Planet Living model pioneered by the sustainability charity BioRegional estimates the area of land and ocean that each individual needs to provide the resources they use.
With a current world population of 6.9 billion, each person’s fair share is 1.8 hectares – roughly the size of four football pitches.
To support their current lifestyle the average UK resident requires more than five hectares – 12 football pitches – and Middlesbrough is typical of the whole country.
This means we are living as though we have three planets to provide for our needs, which means it is not a 'sustainable lifestyle'.
Making buildings more energy efficient and delivering all energy with renewable technologies.
Reducing waste, reusing where possible, and ultimately sending zero waste to landfill.
Encouraging low carbon modes of transport to reduce emissions, reducing the need to travel.
Using sustainable, healthy products with low embodied energy, sourced locally, made from renewable or waste resources.
Local and sustainable food
Choosing low impact, local, seasonal and organic diets and reducing food waste.
Using water more efficiently in buildings and in the products we buy; tackling local flooding and watercourse pollution.
Land use and wildlife
Protecting and restoring biodiversity and natural habitats through appropriate land use and integration into the built environment.
Culture and heritage
Reviving local identity and wisdom; supporting and participating in the arts.
Equity and local economy
Creating bioregional economies that support fair employment, inclusive communities and international fair trade.
Health and happiness
Encouraging active, sociable, meaningful lives to protect good health and wellbeing.