SUSTAINABLE CITIES

SUSTAINABLE CITIES – WHY MEASUREMENT IS SO IMPORTANT
By CHANTAL COOKE

I am inspired. It seems we may actually have a chance of a genuinely low-carbon future.

I chaired an event organized by the National Physical Laboratory recently (18th July) – and I’m glad I did, as I left feeling lighter and more hopeful for our environment than I have felt in a while.

The event was “Measurement and Standards to Enable Sustainable Cities” and focused on three key areas – Infrastructure, Emissions Monitoring and Reporting, and Standardisation.

As someone whose passion is communication (and I’ve spent the last 10 years specifically communicating environmental issues at PASSION for the PLANET and in a variety of magazines), what was really driven home to me was that measurement is an absolutely essential precursor to communication. When you communicate environmental issues and, particularly, with a view to encouraging people to change their behaviour, then we have to be able to give them clarity not only on what they should do and what they can do, but also on what the realistic impact of those actions will be.

We need to be able to say, “This is where we are now; this is where we will be if you do X, Y and Z.” Without any kind of measurement and standardisation process in place, that is impossible.

It was thoroughly inspiring to realise that (despite the scaremongering of the journalists at Daily Mail!) we ARE actually moving towards a low carbon future. Government and local authorities ARE taking real steps to reduce our emissions. Large corporates ARE investing money to be more environmentally friendly.

As individuals, there is a lot that we can all do. If we do it, it will make a real – and measurable – difference.

About the conference
“Measurement and Standards to Enable Sustainable Cities” was hosted by the Energy and Environment Group of the UK National Measurement System, Measurement Network which is operated by the National Physical Laboratory.

About the author
Chantal Cooke is an award winning journalist and broadcaster and founder of the UK’s only environmental radio station – PASSION for the PLANET.

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