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Why does One Planet Living want us to live like Europeans?

One Planet Living in Action
An artist's rendering of the new, eco-friendly Aquatic Centre. The One Planet Living principles were a fundamental part of the bidding and planning process for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.
An artist's rendering of the new, eco-friendly Aquatic Centre. The One Planet Living principles were a fundamental part of the bidding and planning process for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.
London 2012/Handout/Getty Images

The folks involved in the One Planet Living agenda are approaching the issues from a number of real-world outlets. Here are a few examples:

The 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics

­W­hen the Olympic torch rekindles man's love of sport in the summer of 2012, it will also be shining a light on the One Planet Living project. The 10 principles (previously discussed) have been integral parts of the planning process for the Olympics' third appearance in London.

Many of the buildings and infrastructures constructed for the Olympics -- and as a legacy for later use -- will be energy- and water-efficient, with zero-waste management systems and accessibility to alternate modes of transportation. They'll be made with local, reclaimed and recycled materials. The food served at the games will be locally grown and later integrated into the composting disposal loop. Public information campaigns will be a big part of the games to raise awareness about sustainable planning. Also, organizers are working to make these Olympics affordable and accommodating for all to attend, as a result of focusing on equity issues.


This eco-friendly village was created to have a minor ecological impact. The project, located in Wallington, South London, has an embracing, community feel and was designed to emit no carbon and reduce energy and water consumption. BedZED lessens some of the need for space heating and driving with its green transport plan and renewable energy initiatives. More than three tons of the material used in its construction -- about 15 percent -- were reclaimed or recycled products; 52 percent of the materials originated within 35 miles of the development [source: BioRegional].

The project features 100 homes, various work spaces and additional facilities. It's subject to ongoing study -- monitoring its functionality as well as interviewing people living and working there -- in order to determine and improve BedZED's ecological impact. The BioRegional Development Group began the eco-village project and developed it in partnership with the Peabody Trust and Bill Dunster Architects. Residents began moving in during March of 2002. A two-bedroom BedZED home is currently selling for about $463,000 (240,000 pounds).

BioRegional Charcoal Company Ltd

One of BioRegional's longest running projects involves the local manufacture of charcoal. BioRegional Charcoal Company Ltd (BRCC) is an independent company that follows the One Planet Living principles. More than 90 percent of the charcoal used in the U.K. was once imported, coming from unsustainably managed sources [source: BRCC].

The company has created a network of local charcoal producers who follow responsible forest management techniques as according to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC is an international organization that has developed a certification and labeling system to identify environmentally conscious forest products. BRCC then supplies their products to national retailers -- choosing the store closest in proximity for each sale. BRCC estimates this local distribution reduces the amount of carbon generated during charcoal transportation by 85 percent and boosts local economies.

Managing forests by a method known as coppicing fell out of favor in the last few decades by some countries, but has been practiced in the U.K. for millennia. The process involves letting the stumps of felled, harvested trees regrow with young offshoots. Coppicing provides a secure, stable habitat for now-dwindling wildlife populations, such as certain butterfly species, by helping preserve woodlands with this cyclical method of forestry management. The economic incentive of charcoal sales could help spur the forestry market.

Now that you've seen One Planet Living in action, go to the next page for links about sustainable living and to determine the depth of your ecological footprints.