We think it really was the best Earth Day event we’ve run- thanks to so many people- all the groups with displays from The Green Britain Centre in Swaffham to King’s Lynn Civic Society, from the College of West Anglia to the Quakers. There was exciting art with a Groundwork Gallery/4Transform Waste Transformed project, and Karen Whiterod with the wire Nest of Hope made in King’s Lynn last summer plus Highgate, Reffley and St Edmund’s Academies with splendid posters and junk models. St Martha’s school choir gave great pleasure and it was encouraging to see people’s pledges of new actions to help care for the Earth covering our pledge tree!
Saturday April 21st 4.30-7.00pm St Nicholas Chapel PE30 1NH
For the 3rd year running we are holding an informal drop-in event, both informative and enjoyable, to celebrate International Earth Day, at St Nicholas Chapel. There will be displays from a wide range groups taking part (Norfolk Wildlife Trust, beekeepers, political parties, Gaywood Valley Conservation Trust, the Civic Society among others), free food, art- linked to the themes of waste and climate change, music, activities to involve children and a bar.
‘Recycling can sometimes be confusing for people’, says Bob Brady, an active member of our group with a background in plastics science, whose wife is running an entertaining rubbish sorting game at the event. ‘We need to encourage people to see waste, not as waste but as a valuable resource that could potentially create new products. Unless we put all our efforts into tackling environmental problems, things will be far, far worse for our grandchildren.’
Another fun activity will promote pedal power in a light-hearted way, making smoothies by pedalling a bike!
Earth Day started in the USA in 1970, when a huge gathering in Washington seems to have persuaded an unlikely president, Richard Nixon, to back a whole raft of environmental legislation. This year the international theme is ‘Cut Plastic Pollution’, one that clearly resonates with many many people, particularly after viewing the David Attenborough ‘Blue Planet 2’ scenes of ocean pollution.
Our group has remained focused, above all, on the single environmental issue of climate change. It seems to us- and to scientists around the world- that this is an even more serious, though much less visible issue than plastic pollution. But Earth Day gives a really great opportunity for us to bring together lots of groups with environmental concerns, at the very time that the public’s response to the plastic pollution issue gives real encouragement that people power can make a difference.
WWF asks, What’s your promise for the planet? Look at their suggestions and 60 things to do in the dark!! www.earthhour.org.uk
Turn off lights 8.30-9.30 on Saturday 24th to join with millions around the world.
Then look ahead to our local event in April:
All of us are becoming increasingly aware of respiratory and heart disease from polluting emissions.
Now health campaigners say the energy policies of the world’s richest countries are inflicting a double burden on their citizens, not only using their taxes to pay fossil fuel subsidies, but also loading huge health costs on them.
The Health and Environment Alliance, HEAL report says that although fossil fuel combustion causes deadly air pollution and climate change, virtually all governments spend vast sums of public money – their citizens’ taxes – on supporting the oil, gas and coal industry in fossil fuel energy production.
The G20 agreed in 2009 to phase out the subsidies, but HEAL says that on average, in countries belonging to the bloc, the health costs associated with fossil fuels are far greater than the subsidies: US$2,758bn against $444bn. How big are our subsidies?
This infographic doesn’t show the direct effect of pollutants from burning fossil fuels but looking just at climate change in itself, there is much food for thought.
On Saturday some of us will be writing messages on Climate Change in a metalwork art workshop with Norfolk artist, Karen Whiterod, entitled Hope Calling. There are still a few places. I think my personal message has to be something about the urgency expressed in the letter this week from Christina Figueres, former UN Climate chief and other experts: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/world-has-three-years-left-to-stop-dangerous-climate-change-warn-expertsNorfolk County Council have helped fund the workshops and the messages will be used to create a photobook to be presented to local MPS.
The response from many US cities, states and businesses was encouraging. We need to keep working.
The Leonardo DiCaprio documentary, Before the Flood, remains a good tool. (DiCaprio gave a copy to Ivanka just after the election. It may have affected her attitude.) Invite friends and family round to watch it! Get in touch if you want help setting it up.
After a very busy few months the group has a chance to look ahead. Do send thoughts for our meeting on Monday 12th June (Friends Meeting House barn at 7.30pm) if you can’t come.
An interesting meeting. Well attended. Thank you to those who came.
Environment Agency – What’s in Your Backyard?
Flood map for planning – https://flood-map-for-planning.service.gov.uk/
Climate change tools to support local flood risk management strategies –http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140328084622/http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/planning/135749.aspx
Wash East Coast Management Strategy – Public Consultation
Association of British Insurers – Flooding
UK Committee on Climate Change
7 December 2015 – https://www.theccc.org.uk/
UK Climate Projections, Met Office: http://ukclimateprojections.metoffice.gov.uk/
Met Office: Extreme weather, 1990 to 2016
(Shows rainfall, flooding, extreme temperatures &c)
( a US site focussed on “Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism”]
Emissions limit “is 20 years away”
C40 Cities (megacities)
UKCIP [UK Climate Impacts Programme: with Case studies and Exchanging knowledge & ideas]
Transition Network [transition towns]
The Ecologist magazine [Top 10 . . . greenest UK cities] http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/home/807176/top_10_greenest_uk_cities.html
Alex Kirby, former BBC journalist and environment correspondent will engage with Brian Long of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council (environment portfolio holder before he became leader of the council) on climate change issues in terms of our local response.
This discussion will have two aspects:
- our response to the effects of climate change, especially projected sea level rise and more extreme weather events, asking whether we are tending to work with over optimistic estimates
- our local response to the challenge of reducing our carbon footprint in areas such as transport, recycling and use of renewable energy.
A lot of very thoughtful posters from children- a special mention of Eastgate Academy -plus thoughtful responses to the raffle ticket question- What are you trying to do about climate change?
A great one to bring friends and relations to- bar and free food snacks, informative displays and raffle. Even face-painting for children plus the judging of children’s poster competition. Please also save the date – May 12th- of our major public meeting: scroll down-