Over the last 10 to 20 years, particularly in the West, there has been a growing awareness of our need to change the way we live, or face an increasingly poor outlook for our environment. Phrases like "eco-friendly", "climate change", "recycling" and "alternative energy" are now familiar to everyone.
The global problems affecting our planet can all seem overwhelming and can lead to a sense of powerlessness and apathy. However, there are many simple, ordinary things that we can all do locally to ensure a better quality community for the future, such as recycling more of our rubbish, reducing wastage, and minimising our contribution to pollution. We can also make choices about influencing global problems, too. For instance, we can buy Fair Trade produce to help ordinary people in the developing world, we can buy recycled products to help make recycling cost-effective, and we can lobby our councillors and MPs about these wider issues.
This is what Local Agenda 21 is all about: act local and think global. If all of us acted responsibly locally, global problems would be reduced, if not eliminated. The concept of Local Agenda 21 really began in 1987 at a meeting of world leaders in Norway, where they agreed that the way forward for the planet was to adopt policies of "sustainable development". In other words, the kind of development that meets our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. This probably seems like simple common sense, but such policies have been far from common in most western European countries. Later, at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, these ideas were further developed under the term Local Agenda 21, recognising the need to work out local agendas (ways of doing things) for sustainable living into the 21st century. Each country represented was urged to develop an LA21 strategy with the agenda set by the community itself rather than by central or local government, as ownership of any initiatives by society at large is most likely to be successful.
Sadly, relatively few LA21 community forums have been set up to co-ordinate these strategies, but Hammersmith and Fulham LA21 is one that has been successfully running since 1995 with representatives from local businesses, residents' associations, schools, disability groups, etc. Many local people have attended our events and have told us the issues most important to the community. These have led to the development of ideas to improve quality of life in this area.
Now we have entered the 21st century, we have an even greater incentive to put a Local Agenda 21 strategy into practice, helping every sector of the community in Hammersmith and Fulham to improve sustainable behavious and improve our environment. Despite it's many inner city problems, our Borough is rich in parks, wildlife, and one of the most beautiful sections of the River Thames. We also have great public transport links and a doorstep recycling scheme. Let's ensure that future generations of residents and our many visitors can enjoy a better Hammersmith and Fulham for years to come.
This website aims to provide information about Local Agenda 21, local groups, activities, what has been achieved by others, and ideas for better sustainability as well as links to other related pages. Most importantly, though, it will give local people the opportunity to feed back ideas for local action on sustainability. For our other events, we will try to update the Events section on this website regularly, but also look out for publicity in the local press and HFM magazine.
If you would like more information about the H&F Local Agenda 21 Forum, please contact Andrew Jones (chair) or David Wardrop (secretary) c/o Hammersmith Information Centre, 20 Broadway Shopping Centre, Hammersmith, W6 9YD, tel. 020-8748-3079.