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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 June, 2005, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
'Every little bit can make a difference'
As UN world environment day put the focus on the 'green' credentials of major cities across the globe, an environmental show in London aimed to show what a difference people can make by changing some seemingly minor habits.

Some brave bikers try to master the tandem and trailer
Organisers hoped up to 30,000 people would attend the show
The Green Lifestlyes show in Greenwich Park was the opening event in London Sustainability Weeks, a fortnight of 400 free activities aimed at getting people thinking about living in a more environmentally friendly way.

Covering a sprawling area spanning the entire breadth of the park, the show focused on activities that would get children interested in conservation.

One of these was situated just inside the park's eastern entrance, where a crowd of spectators jostled for position around a small, rectangular fence.

In front of them, a handful of hardy volunteers grappled with a variety of novelty bicycles.

Along with the "three-wheeled recumbent", which can be occasionally spotted on main roads, there was an "eccentric-wheeled bike", which expanded and contracted like an overworked accordion as it made its way around the course.

It's not rocket science to switch off the TV when you're not using it
Linda Thoroughgood
Event organiser
A tandem bicycle with a trailer attached to the end also provided more than the odd moment of difficulty for those attempting to steer it, as well as sustained entertainment for those looking on.

The hope of the organisers was that the fun of the activity would help register a more serious environmental message.

A sign near the course told passersby that 380 people die every year in London of causes linked to air pollution, while another 1,200 are made ill.

Elsewhere, people are invited to pedal on an exercise bike and in a car with pedals installed in place of the accelerator and brake, to show the efficiency of bicycles.

Another sign warns of the amount of smog each car emits.

Passersby stop for a half-pint
Some found time to sample an organic traditional ale
Few people needed an environmentally altruistic motive to sample the 4% ABV organic beer and wine on sale.

A little further on, children threw hoops over TVs and computers displayed with "energy points" demonstrating how much power they use when left on standby.

Other events planned during London Sustainability Weeks include a fashion show featuring costumes designed by schoolchildren and treasure hunts and picnics in parks around the city.

An outdoor church service for dog walkers was held on Sunday and a nude bicycling event will depart from Hyde Park Corner on June 11.

Impact

Anji and Anette Petersen, who live near Greenwich park, said it was possible some of those who attended the shows would forget all they had seen as soon as they left.

Anji and Anette with their dog
Anji and Anette Petersen, already thought themselves 'green'
"But there's also the chance that these sorts of events can inspire people. People can pick and choose some different practices to incorporate into their lifestyle," Anette said.

Gary and Karen Furnell and their three children came to Sunday's show from their Essex home, where they compost their rubbish and run solar power.

"I was kind of the black sheep as far as conservation goes," Gary said.

"But you come to realise that every little bit you can do is going to make a difference."

Organisers hope this sort of personal epiphany will catch on.

Spokeswoman, Linda Thoroughgood, said more people needed to believe individuals can make important environmental contributions.

"It's not rocket science to switch off the TV when you're not using it, it's just a habit to get into," she said.

"When people see what a difference it makes, it can really hit home."




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