150121_bristol3

Bristol begins 2015 as European Green Capital

Bristol is kicking off its year as European Green Capital in style! This Saturday (24th January), world-famous tight wire artist Jade Kindar-Martin will cycle across a 120 metre long high wire, set between two landmark buildings. The performance, entitled “Bridging the Gap”, will symbolise the difference between our green intentions and our actions – and the bridge that we all need to cross to start living more sustainably.

Bristol’s excellent Green Capital website (www.bristol2015.co.uk) is full of sustainability advice, news and discussion, including pieces on gardening in the city, getting fit for free, and exploring the wild side of the Bristol docks.

In addition, the website allows you to explore the hundreds of events that Bristol is organizing or hosting over the course of the year. There are some great opportunities to learn and participate! On 6-8 February, Bristol is organizing the Green Capital Digital Challenge – an international competition for teams to develop Cleanweb mobile apps or environmental awareness raising games. An upcycled fashion show entitled “Green is the new Black” is taking place in March as part of the Bristol Fashion Week. The show will display designs created by Bristol school students.

All kinds of multimedia are being produced to celebrate and publicize Bristol’s progress. Check out the video below, “It’s Good to be Green”, which highlights a number of smaller-scale initiatives being run by Bristol citizens across the city.

You can also follow Bristol2015 on Twitter (@Bristol_2015) and like them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Bristol2015).

Background on Bristol

Bristol is the largest city in England’s south-west and the seventh largest in the UK, with a population of over 400,000. Historically known for its port which was the most important in England until the 18th century, Bristol has since reinvented itself as a modern, vibrant city with an overwhelming focus on sustainability.

Some key elements of Bristol’s plans as European Green Capital 2015 are:

  • A budget of €500 million to improve transport infrastructure until 2015
  • A budget of €300 million for energy efficiency measures and renewable energy generation until 2020
  • A plan to double the number of cyclists in the city by 2020, based on a 2010 baseline

Bristol also has a number of commitments in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. Among the most important is the plan to cut energy consumption by 30 percent across all sectors (domestic, industrial, and transport) by 2020. From 2005 to 2011, energy consumption within the city fell by 20 percent.

For more information, check out ICLEI Europe’s excellent profile.

We’ll give the last word to George Ferguson, inspirational Mayor of Bristol!

I have offered Bristol as a test-bed for environmental ideas in 2015, where we will develop pioneering practices which will not only benefit Bristol, but will hopefully become a model for cities around the world.