Sunday, April 19, 2009

The UK today....

It's been interesting coming back to the UK at this time of recession, coming from the US where panic is amok, yet how the rest of the world is coping is hard to hear about. Without hearing much about the UK, I had assumed it was doing better than the US, but in reality i'm not so sure. Big British institutions like Woolworths, Adams and MFI have fallen down in the recession. Woolworths is particularly sad for me, as I worked there for 2 years on weekends and holidays through high school and still knew some people who worked in the local one. These are just a few big ones too, many many smaller local companies have disappeared from the high streets i've visited on this trip and many stores are low on stock and high on unemployment. I've also noticed in the last few years bigger supermarkets seem to be creeping in - giant Asda and Tesco stores seem to be in every town now. Basic food prices are down, many houses are for Let or sale, redundancies are rife, in short the recession here is right in your face. I guess I expected to see little difference on the surface. Worries me more than a little. 

There are some good things I've noticed though, maybe stimulated by the recession, maybe stimulated by increased awareness of the environment and health, but either way, I think it's pretty cool British TV would go the step to put these kinds of ads on TV -  

Get a Bag Habit - Adverts on TV reminding people to bring reusable bags to the shops - awesome! I've actually noticed too that supermarkets and such are no longer putting out plastic bags at the checkouts and ask if you want a bag instead. I think this is brilliant, as not only is i expected that you will bring your own, it also reduces the amount you use, as if you ask for a bag, they'll only give you a couple at a time. Awesome! 

Change 4 Life - Adverts aimed at children to encourage healthy eating (not eating too much - "me size portions from mum, not adult size portions") and more activity. Run by the National Health Service. 

The Optimum Population Trust - Trust with the message "Environmentally Sustainable Populations" and has a "Stop at Two" campaign to encourage people to just have one or two children and help reverse population growth in the UK. 

Traffic Light Nutritional Labels - Not an advert but something else i've noticed I like. On most foods sold in the UK there are now colour coded nutritional labels - green for low, yellow for medium and red for high - makes it easier to see what you are really buying. 

So now it's time to go back to Hawaii.......

Lucy is obviously so sad to see me go....

2 comments:

nicola said...

cute photo and such interesting bits about UK life/status. i heard a clip on NPR interviewing folks in the UK. i am sure it was probably on it's your world or some such program. we also get BBC news at night.
the "stop at two" thing is so interesting to me. i drafted a blog posting i haven't hit "post" on yet, talking about family growth. mike and i are talking about this a lot these days and one of my concerns is going beyond "one for me, one for you."

RGW said...

A few years ago a friend of mine explained that they stopped at two children as they didn't want to go beyond "replacing themselves" and to be honest i'd never really given any thought to it before then. With population growth being such a huge problem around the globe I was also intrigued to see the OPT in the UK and I like their attitude - no accusations if you have more than 2, no forceful actions, just information, support and encouragement to make an informed choice, and trying to change the old stigmas of having one or two children. It's of course easy for me to be behind this having no children, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense to me personally, but I also understand it might not make sense to everyone, it's a personal choice.

In the UK the welfare system can be taken advantage of by having a larger family (more children = more benefits) which is something that really needs looking at. When an unemployed family can "earn" more $$ by having more children something is really wrong.......