Nov 15, 2011

Generation Awake: A fun way of promoting Resource Efficiency

I thought this video deserves a slot on the blog, European Commissions campaign to help save the environment by using paper bags instead of plastic.

Its time to wake up and start thinking about the place we all live in, think green!

Generation Awake, the movement launched today by the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potoènik and the Polish Environment Minister Andrzej Kraszewski in Warsaw, Poland, provides answers to everyday questions like the ones already mentioned and many more. Above all, this new initiative aims to arouse curiosity and encourage us all to change our behaviour by providing tips and promoting good ideas.

A public debate featuring Janez Potoènik, the Polish Environment Minister Andrzej Kraszewski, and representatives of NGOs and the private sector is organised in Warsaw. In his opening address at the Generation Awake Summit, Commissioner Potoènik appealed to “citizens everywhere in Europe to take the time to think before they consume. We all want to continue to enjoy life, now and in the future. And this is why we need to think about the impact of our choices on natural resources today. If you know it takes 140 litres of water to produce a cup of coffee, you’ll certainly enjoy every sip of it… won’t you?”

The launch event in Warsaw also features a stand where visitors will be given tips on sustainable cooking, fashion, and efficient energy use.

The campaign is part of the European Union’s strategy for a more resource-efficient European economy. Progress is being made - our water and air are significantly cleaner than they were a few decades ago, and more of Europe's nature is protected than ever before. The EU is now turning its attention to developing new policies to mobilise business, industry, and individual consumers.

The situation is clear: our future depends on how we use resources now

The way we use our natural resources every day is unsustainable in the long run. In fact some of them are already under considerable pressure today – think of fish stocks, wood, clean water, precious metals … If we don’t want these and other resources to run out in the future, they need to be used responsibly right now.

Today's world simply cannot create the growth it needs to accommodate the needs of 9 billion people by 2050. The kind of growth industrialised countries have had over the last two centuries is no longer possible. Demand for resources is rising, and the cheap supplies we have enjoyed for so long are dwindling. Resources will cost more.

Currently 200,000 people are being added to the world every day: 2 billion middle income earners in 'developing countries' are expected to triple their consumption by 2020. Today in the EU, we use 16 tonnes of materials per person per year, of which 6 tonnes become waste, with half going to landfill.

If we carry on using resources at the current rate, by 2050 we will need, on aggregate, the equivalent of more than two planets to sustain us. To grow successfully and be competitive under these conditions, companies and countries must use resources better and more efficiently.

Europe’s role

The European Commission has put into place a number of measures to tackle this problem. The Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative on Resource Efficiency attempts to incorporate resource-efficient strategies into all policy areas covered by the EU, providing for coherent targets and indicators.

Furthermore, in its Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe, the European Commission identifies the economic sectors that consume the most resources, and provides tools and indicators to help guide action for our future wellbeing. This Roadmap is an agenda for competitiveness and growth based on using fewer resources when we produce and consume goods, and creating business and job opportunities from activities such as recycling, better product design, materials substitution and eco-engineering.

The key words for resource efficiency are reduce, reuse, recycle, substitute and save. This implies using new materials, lighter materials, renewable materials and recycled materials. It means changing the ways we use them – and also the way we live: we need to limit waste, avoid overconsumption, protect and value biodiversity; use resources like water; minerals and wood sustainably, choose greener modes of transport solutions, and use energy efficiently. Not only will these choices benefit nature, but they will also improve people’s lives and even help them save money.

Get ready! This campaign is going to wake people up. Generation Awake will energise, excite and inspire people to embrace new ways of thinking, consuming and living. It’s a movement to make people aware that their choices can change their world and the planet.

The campaign is articulated around a central website and Facebook page, where people can learn more about their consumption habits, are encouraged to join ‘Generation Awake” and accept resource efficiency challenges, like reducing showering time to save water or using public transport once a week. New features will be added during the course of the campaign.

To learn more, visit or

Other launch events will also be organised this year in the Czech Republic, Hungary and the United Kingdom.


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