Bristol has been a city that has focused on ecological issues for several years now. Hence, it did not surprise too many people when it became European Green Capital for 2015. This has changed things for hot air balloonists in several ways. Firstly, it has altered common perceptions of the city, and it will have an impact on Bristol going forward. Most relevantly, it has already had a minor influence on the activity of ballooning.
The status of being European Green Capital has apparently added to the attractiveness of Bristol. It has also cemented the reputation of the city as an environmentally aware urban area. A lot of different events are to be held throughout the year, including a youth summit. This is all about enthusing young people and encouraging them to send a message to the world.
The European Green Capital programme is not really concerned with putting on a series of shows, but it all about leaving a lasting legacy. People who fly over Bristol in balloons in the years to come should be able to detect significant changes to the landscape in the city region. One project involves the planting of a minimum of 36,000 trees. Children will be doing this work with the backing of the local authority. Education is to be of importance here, as the participants will learn about the value of endangered species.
This project is called One Tree Per Child. Hopes are high because it is based on an Australian initiative that has made an impact Down Under. National Tree Day, championed by singer and actress Olivia Newton-John, saw the planting of many thousands of trees and shrubs across Australia. Lord Stern, an international expert on the subject of climate change, is backing the changes being made in Bristol. It will take quite some time for the scheme to bear fruit, but a greener Bristol may be on its way. This could lead to spectacular views of the city.
The Bristol International Balloon Festival is scheduled to go ahead as usual, but it could be of particular interest this year because of a balloon being powered by solar energy. Obviously, it will be some time before most companies can diversify into balloons powered in this way. Nevertheless, if the trial is a successful one, then those in the industry may take note. As a consequence, the future of ballooning is an especially exciting proposition.