Heatwaves – a hot topic

After such a wet winter, a bit of sun may sound like no bad thing, but people often underestimate the effect of high temperatures on older people: the 2003 heatwave led to an alarming 22 per cent increase in mortality among people 75+ in England and Wales. So I was very pleased to be invited to a roundtable held by the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, as part of their Inquiry into Heatwaves: Adapting to Climate Change.

Continue reading “Heatwaves – a hot topic”

Make your voice heard on environmental challenges

A new survey aims to raise the profile of your views on the environment.

Many older people are keen environmental activists. Yet people in later life feel their views on the environment are sidelined.

The Greener Wiser Manifesto, written by a taskforce of older people, said they wanted a much greater role in decision making about the environment and issues that affect their communities.

The environment touches many elements of our day to day life. Whether it is our choices on transport, energy or recycling they can all have an impact – for good or bad – on the environment.

Older people can also find themselves disproportionately affected by the consequences of environmental change, such as air pollution, flooding, heat waves and other natural disaster.

The EnviroSurvey55 will provide a snap shot of the current attitudes of over 55s to environmental issues. In an age of austerity and rising environmental scepticism, it is important that the views of over 55s on what can or cannot be done to reduce our impact on the environment are heard.

This is an international survey and is being launched by a consortium of older people’s organisations, led by the University of York’s Stockholm Environment Institute and Simon Fraser University’s Gerontology Research Centre (Canada).

Don’t let your views on environmental issues go ignored. We all have a stake in our environmental future. Please can you spare a few minutes to complete the survey.

Making the Energy Bill work for the fuel-poor

Energy is top of the news bulletins at the moment with cold weather leading to supply difficulties for people who don’t have access to mains gas and electricity supplies. The Government’s immediate response has been heavily scrutinised but their longer-term strategy for energy use should perhaps receive more attention than it has. The Energy Bill, published in the House of Lords in mid-December, lays out the Government’s approach for the future.

The Energy Bill, which will give effect to the Green Deal, signals a welcome step change in the government’s approach to improvement of housing stock, much of which is characterised by inadequate insulation and inefficient heating systems. A concerted programme of home improvement work is essential if we are to improve energy efficiency in homes and reduce our use of fuel. The Green Deal will include a financial plan that lets householders pay for energy saving measures in instalments through their energy bills. Continue reading “Making the Energy Bill work for the fuel-poor”

Repeating history: Floods hit Cornwall

Cockermouth floods, 20 November 2009
Cockermouth floods - 20 Nov 2009. Photo: TheNeoplanMan via Flickr

Almost a year to the day after floods devastated Cockermouth, today we see Cornwall facing a similar fate. News reports are showing all-too-familiar scenes of people trapped in their homes and closures to roads and rail cutting off access to Cornwall, because of heavy rains and gale-force winds.

Whatever your age, flooding significantly affects people’s lives. Older people are likely to face particular difficulties during and after floods. For example, floods can prevent people getting access to medicine, care and support which they are reliant on. Continue reading “Repeating history: Floods hit Cornwall”