At the first meeting of the new council since the local elections earlier this month, I was pleased to see cross-party support for a motion on climate change.
I know that members of Chester’s Sustainability Forum, which I helped set up and I am proud to be part of, had a hand in writing the motion. The members of the group come from a broad range of political backgrounds as well as my own, and I must also pay tribute to Colin Watson, who is the Chair of the group and its driving force.
Climate Change is beyond politics. That’s why I was so glad to see a consensus of opinion from Labour’s Matt Bryan, the Conservatives’ Jill Houlbrook and the new Green Party Councillor for Helsby, Paul Bowers.
If you haven’t seen David Attenborough’s recent TV Documentary “Climate Change – The Facts” then please go on to the iPlayer and watch it. The damage we’re doing to our environment is a direct threat to our children and grandchildren’s future. For many years climate change scientists have been warning us about the effects of burning fossil fuels. It’s now an inescapable truth that change is happening faster than they predicted. We have until 2030 to halve our usage of fossil fuels, and until 2045 to become carbon neutral.
Schoolchildren have led the campaign, across the world, and here in Chester, reminding adults that it isn’t enough to just to talk. Some are staging school strikes. Other protests have been organised by the group Extinction Rebellion.
And they’re right. We must act now.
The local council plays an important role in life of our borough. That’s why this motion is significant. The council is an influencer and can lead the way in planning for a carbon-free future. But, it’s also up to local residents, businesses and other organisations to be part of this too.
Last week a national index, based on recycling and smart meter installation rates, revealed that Chester is the best area in the UK for sustainability and energy efficiency. This is a great start, but there is actually so much more going on: The Super Trees, the #makechester movement, Chester Zoo, our local Friends of the Earth group, Plastic Free Chester, Transition Chester, the Frack Free team, faith groups, educators and many others are all joining forces to make our city about more than just topping an index based on data: it’s about sharing our experiences and changing the way we live, by local communities working together to fend off a global threat.
We all have a role in this, and we all have a stake in it. Let’s keep going.
To find out more about the Chester Sustainability Forum, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.