As PETER UNDERWOOD reports, CROXR is pressing the Town Hall to make changes to its environmental policies
It’s a stereotypically British thing to talk about the weather. So it’s no surprise that the torrential rain has been the main topic of many conversations this week.
But, amid the traditional jokes about a monsoon season and going rusty instead of getting a suntan, it’s clear that people have realised that this is really no longer a joke. Our climate is changing and we are starting to see the effects.
The evidence that we are changing our climate has been mounting for decades. There is now no doubt about that among the serious scientific community. Despite some very loud voices still denying the evidence, the overwhelming majority of the population have also realised that climate change is real.
In fact, we have moved on from just talking about climate change to talking about a “Climate Emergency”. The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in October 2018, was quite clear. We have just 11 years left to deliver the “rapid and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities” we need to prevent going past the tipping points where we can no longer avoid extreme weather events.
We are in the processes of creating the earth’s next mass-extinction event and this will be the first where we are the ones threatening our own species with extinction.
This is why the Extinction Rebellion movement began. Extinction Rebellion is an international network using non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Extinction Rebellion has three key demands:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
People will most likely have heard of Extinction Rebellion because of their large scale actions in London. I have been happy to support those actions and be involved in some. I know that some people have questioned some of the tactics used but people I have met have agreed that something must be done and it’s about time government took action.
Recently the government did announce that it planned to introduce a target of being carbon-neutral by 2050.
It’s great to see the government finally admitting that it needs to do something but they clearly haven’t understood that this is an emergency. Promising to do something in 31 years’ time is not enough when we only have 11 years left to achieve radical change.
We will still keep up the pressure on national government, but that is not the only route for action. Last night I got to meet the recently formed Extinction Rebellion group here in Croydon. They are putting pressure on Croydon Council to declare a Climate Emergency and have set up a petition that you can sign here.
Action on climate change is needed at every level if we are to get on top of the climate crisis. Local councils have a big effect on the local economy and environment. Council policies on transport, housing, waste, energy, and land management can make a huge difference. Councils also have a key role in publicising information to help businesses and individuals make changes to help our environment.
Many other councils across the country have already declared a climate emergency. Croydon is lagging behind. So if you want to see action taken to save our future as a species, then the first step is to sign the petition and get all of your friends to sign it as well.
Put pressure on your ward councillors to get them to support a motion through the council and then turn this into serious action that will make a difference.
You can also come along to a meeting of the Croydon Extinction Rebellion Group to find out more and get involved.
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