I am shocked to tell you that I have won something. Sadly it’s not the lottery (I gave up entering years ago when I didn’t win for three weeks running) and it’s not another windfall from a dubious solicitor in Nigeria, although to tell the truth, I have had two such emails in the last week directly to the Frugal Life blog. Obviously they think I need the money!
The Energy Saving Trust has been running a competition to find the Green Voice of the UK – somebody who will stand up for the man in the street on green issues and represent the public’s point of view – so I thought I’d have a go and apply. They billed it as a kind of Green X-Factor. Although the role is voluntary, there were 100 entries which were whittled down to just four finalists – myself, Tom Callow from London, Shirley Mann from Derbyshire and Michael Groves from Edinburgh – who were all very strong candidates. They made us make little videos about ourselves, which were uploaded onto YouTube and onto the Energy Saving Trust website (you can watch mine here), explaining why we thought we were the best candidates. Judges at the Trust, as well as its green ambassadors around the UK, voted and we waited with baited breath to see who would be crowned the Green Voice of the UK.
Yesterday me and the other finalists attended an event at Portcullis House in Westminster with the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Joan Ruddock, where the winner was announced and I was dumbfounded to find that it was me! The next thing I knew, I was up on the podium shaking hands with the Minister, having to give a speech and then questioning Joan Ruddock, along with other journalists present, about her policies on climate change.
However, a sinister looking item was lurking in the background – a huge green and gold throne which had apparently been reclaimed from an old theatre. It wasn’t long before they’d got me in it, complete with a bright green sash proclaiming ‘The Green Voice of the UK’ across my chest and I was surrounded by paparazzi. It was a pretty strange feeling, I must say. My local MP John Baron even appeared and insisted on buying me a cup of tea.
The funniest thing (besides the sight of me dressed like a green Miss World) was after the event when it was announced that the Prime Minister himself was on his way to use the same room for another meeting. Panic set in when the Energy Saving Trust’s team got the green throne stuck in the lift and had to carry it down the stairs in the end to some strange looks from MPs.
But now the hard work begins. In my new role I will be reaching out to everybody in the UK to find out what our fears and concerns are about going green and saving energy – what is stopping us from doing so. Is it apathy? Is it money worries in the recession or do we feel that the bottom line is that it isn’t our responsibility to do so but that of the government? Are energy companies, local authorities or the government not doing enough to help? Would a boiler scrappage scheme similar to the car scheme be a good plan? I want to hear people’s thoughts and ideas for new schemes and initiatives or how existing ones can be improved. So please get in touch through the blog and let me know your thoughts. As anybody who reads this blog regularly knows, I am no angel either when it comes to saving energy or resources around my home. DJ and I have made a lot of progress, but we could still do better (you’ll be relieved to hear that we now have energy saving light bulbs through most of our home now following my blog entry last week). So part of my role will also be to set an example by making more small changes around our home and to our lifestyle.
What is stopping you from saving energy or going green? Got any suggestions for initiatives to make it easier? Leave a comment or email me through the blog and let me know. Thanks, Piper xxx
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