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:
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?
Taken from Greenpeace – Energy Desk
Today, something incredible happened in the Netherlands. In a landmark court case, in which NGO Urgenda along with 900 concerned Dutch citizens sued the government for failing act on climate change, the Dutch court ruled in their favour. It was a brave and necessary verdict.
The Netherlands is widely known for being progressive on social issues (gay marriage, soft drugs etc) but we are unfortunately far from that when it comes to tackling climate change. The wet and soggy lowlands have been lagging behind on renewables, with only 4% — one of the lowest in Europe.
But today’s verdict is a game-changer in the fight against climate change. The Dutch court ruling is clear: The government has a legal duty to protect its people against the threat of climate change. Litigation against governments who fail to take climate change seriously will spread around the world.
The implications will be felt for years to come. The Hague Court ordered the government to cut CO2 emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020. That is an additional 10% CO2 reduction in the next five years.
The Netherlands is not the only country failing to take the necessary measures to tackle dangerous climate change. The arguments made in this landmark ruling are applicable to other countries, and in the run-up to the Paris climate conference, governments around the world should take note.
And this is just the beginning. There is a case being brought in Belgium, and Greenpeace hopes to bring about a similar action in the Philippines, which suffered terribly from Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Greenpeace, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement and other local NGOs are requesting the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines to open a critical investigation into the responsibility of big carbon polluters for human rights violations that have or will result from the impacts of climate change.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia launched the demand for the investigation on World Environment Day by asking Filipinos and others to show their support for the investigation by signing on to this petition.
Any of us worrying about climate change will, at some point, find ourselves thinking, “Why can’t people take it all more seriously? Why can’t they (or more honestly, we,) simply adopt a different perspective that means we don’t need to grab more and more of the world’s resources? Why is it so difficult to accept the Earth and its riches as a gift to be shared?”
I believe we are caught in frameworks that are reinforced daily by our experience of economics. At its simplest level, economics is the relationship between human beings and the stuff that keeps them alive. But it has become infinitely complex and hard to understand and hard to see how the way we handle “stuff” and particularly that magic stuff, money, is giving us perverse messages, instructions and incentives. A single kind of debt-based, interest-bearing money has come to dominate the world — a money that tells its users that wealth is scarce, a money that creates obscure relationships between debtors and creditors, a money that drives us blindly and helplessly because we do not understand it.
If the planet is to be saved by new perspectives and new motivations, then better understanding of our pernicious, enslaving economics is the place to begin. There are other ways of doing it and other kinds of money.