Out on the campaign trail people have occasionally said to me that they feel being Green is a bit of a luxury when times are hard.
My response to this has been two fold:
Firstly that out policies extend far beyond what people think of as typically 'Green'; social justice is at the heart of our policies. Our manifesto leads on equality, followed by rebalancing our economy, supporting local businesses and job creation. Headline policies include those on housing, crime and yes of course transport and green spaces are represented, but as part of a package of measures that will make London more equal, healthy and affordable for everyone.
Secondly is that those typical 'Green' issues really matter and that protecting our environment is not just something to do if you believe morally that we should protect our nature world and other species (which I do) but also that there are massive benefits to us from a more 'Green' environment. The evidence is strong and growing, especially around the exposure of children to nature.
A recent study showing that fewer than ten per cent of children play in
wild places; down from 50 per cent a generation ago. Protecting our green spaces and making streets safer for children is more important than ever.
Unbelievably children are more at risk from falling out of
bed than they are in nature- three times as many children are taken to hospital each year after falling out of bed, as from falling out of trees. But understandably parents in London don’t feel
that their children are safe outside. However there are very clear dangers of
not getting outside enough: increasing childhood obesity and depression among
children and young people, are just two examples. In ‘Last Child in the Woods’, published in 2005, Richard Louv coined the phrase‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ which “describes the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses”
London Greens recognises the
link between healthy children and a healthy environment and our manifesto is
filled with pledges to improve both.
The roaming radius for kids has declined by 90 per cent in one generation. The
reasons for this include increased road traffic, a decline in wild spaces and a
breakdown in community life making parents fearful of ‘strangers’. We need
policies to reverse these trends.
The Green Party election commitments include making our streets safer by
tackling the dominance of motor vehicles, protecting our precious green space
and tackling income and health inequality.