I write this blog about ecotourism because I have a big interest in this topic and I do think it can make a difference. I want to share what I find/think interesting about it.
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Green Britain Day: Can We Trust Energy Companies?

That was Green Britain Day on 10th of July here in the UK. I have to admit that when I saw the poster "Team Green Britain" I thought the idea for the logo was brilliant and the concept of it (mobilizing people for a greener Britain with the help of sportsmen and the London 2012 Olympics organization committee) was useful. But today I feel I was wrong. I feel I have been trapped in a smart PR campaign and abused by what I have criticized: greenwashing.

The whole event is sponsored by EDF, the energy company, in partnership with the Eden Project and the London 2012 Olympics organization committee. The goal is to increase awareness about climate change and to push people to be more responsible for the environment. I have to admit that was an impressive campaign as they were all around the place (newspapers, print ads, social media). But there is an outcry in the UK, lead by Dale Vincent, CEO of Ecotricity, claiming this is greenwashing as EDF is one of the biggest producer of nuclear waste and still operates coal plants. Other competitors such Npower or British Gas have attacked the campaign by saying that it is green day 365 days a year for them.

Al these things made me realize how brainwash I am about the whole system: I had a good perception of EDF because they have a very good customer service in France regarding daily things or in case of emergency. And the French government has always supported nuclear energy and influenced people in order to reassure them about it.

But nuclear energy is wrong as in the long run it creates more problem than it solves. Other energy companies have hands as dirty as EDF does. And even if Ecotricity, might be a greener company, its reaction is more the one of a competitor that someone having a pure interest in the environment. And it s claim about a French company stealing a British symbol is ridiculous: in an international and multicultural place such as Britain, what is the point of this? Putting people on your side with nationalistic rhetoric? Sorry but you are one century late!

So what are we left with? What have we achieved with this day. Bitterness, disappointment and disillusion. What should we do? Launch a European Green Day! Why European? Because no one could use the nationalistic argument but it will still be our day. And to the British, like it or not, but you are European! Plus it would make more sense to act all together at a European level to have a real impact on climate change awareness.

But what should we trust the EU to lead this kind of initiative. Well if you look at the mobile industry, the EU has done a lot more to force companies to reduce their prices than any government. So it appears this is a force that we can, to a limited extent, trust.

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