Blue Monday? Here are five reasons to feel positive

By Tierney Smith

Today is officially the most depressing day of the year. It is January, it is cold, we are all feeling the pinch after Christmas and our next break from work seems like a million years away.

But don’t let those January blues get you down, and don’t give into the temptation to book a flight around the world – it is also the day most people book flights somewhere warm and exotic.

This month is also National Thank You month, and RTCC brings you five things to be thankful for when it comes to climate change and sustainability.

1) Investment in renewables is on the up

We may be going through a financial crisis and it may feel as if the environmental agenda has dropped off many people’s radar but last year saw global investment in clean energy reach a new high of $260 billion, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The new figures show a 5% rise on 2010 and are nearly five times bigger than in 2004.

Investment in solar far outstripped that in wind, and US clean energy investment moved back ahead of China for the first time since 2008.

2) On your bike!

With the Olympics just around the corner 2012 could be the year to get employees to adopt more sustainable travel behaviours, according to Trewin Restorick, founder and CEO of Global Action Plan.

Writing for the Guardian, Restorick said the games could provide a great opportunity if companies began looking at a more long-term strategic approach. With around 5.3 million visitors expected throughout the 100 days of the games, and the busiest days seeing 855,000 games-related trips, disruption of travel for Londoners could see them make the move to more eco-friendly transport – getting on their bikes or going on foot.

More than 4,000 new cycle-hire docking point are set to be installed and 2,000 more bikes provided, while many companies are looking into more flexible working hours, fewer client meetings, and greater use of video conferencing.

But can this be used to encourage more long-term behaviour change?

Restorick says it can. But only if companies mobilise and make it happen.

3) Even more renewables

Sticking with renewables but this time in the developing world, today saw the launch of a new sustainability energy fund which aims to roll out 4,000 pay-as-you-go solar energy systems to rural, off grid communities in East Africa.

The solar package consists of a low-cost solar panel, a battery unit with inbuilt mobile phone charger and a high efficiency LED lamp, and is aimed at making energy affordable. A great start to the UN’s Year of Sustainable Energy for All!

4) Explorer Mark Wood hits his half way mark!

Wood set off in November on the first leg of his journey which will see him travel solo to both the South Pole and the North Pole. Reaching the South Pole last week he marked the mid-way point on his expedition.

Not only is he completing the expedition to highlight the changing nature of these icy regions but he has also helped save nearly 25,000 kg of CO2 through the Do Nation’s sponsorship.

Over 100 people have now sponsored Wood by doing actions including stopping using plastic bags, eating less meat or making draft excluders, saving the equivalent of driving from London to Edinburgh 100 times.

5) Georgio Armani goes sustainable

It may only have been for one night, but Livia Firth’s dress worn down the Red Carpet at the Golden Globe Awards, designed and made by Armani was created from a weave made from recycled plastic bottles.

It was part of Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge thought up three years ago as a way to expand the use of sustainable and ethical creations on Hollywood’s red carpet and highlight the need for the fashion industry to move towards more sustainable designs.

And this year it is expected to be bigger than ever, as she aims at getting more actresses and more designers in on the challenge. Keep watching throughout awards season for more great designs.

And this year it is expected to be bigger than ever, as she aims at getting more actresses and more designers in on the challenge. Keep watching throughout awards season for more great designs.

Contact the author at [email protected] or @rtcc_tierney.

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