Climate Change: Act Local, Think Global to save our planet

If we are to save our planet we have to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, if at all possible. And then we will have to reverse the trend: containing the change is simply not enough. That’s the goal. It will be very hard to do. We have to do it if we are to survive as a species and give our children and grandchildren a life here on the planet we call home.

With regard to ecological diversity, we have to protect land and the seas and oceans from degradation locally, nationally and internationally. We have to protect our habitats locally, nationally and internationally. And there is a serious need for policy changes to revert to former patterns of land use, which must include significant replanting and re-wilding. We also have to protect species, generically and specifically, as we do not know exactly how many we are losing each year. And we need to eliminate the causes of ecological degradation, whether from farming, waste, heating or otherwise.

There is the issue of population, all too often the white elephant in any conversation about climate change. Most people don’t mention this, but we will. We are heading for 10 billion people on this planet. This will stress it to its limits. We do have to encourage birth control. There really is no other way to put it. We’re not going to stop population growth. But we do need to manage it.

If we are to give the students/pupils from Folkestone School for Girls and every other school in the district, the county and the country, the same opportunities we adults have had, then we must act now, for their sake and their children’s sake.

Climate change is NOT something happening somewhere else. It is happening locally as the latest local air quality data published by the council makes it clear:

  • Results from 2017, compared to 2016 report NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) annual mean concentrations have increased at 7 out of the 13 monitoring locations with large increments observed at sites just off the A260, M20 and A20.

  • Looking at the past five years, the 2017 annual  mean NO2 concentrations appear to be the highest (even if it is only slightly), with concentrations increasing at the majority of the sites since 2015.

Polluted air is no good for any of us and our reliance on fossil fuels must change.

 Screenshot from 2019-09-20 23-34-50

It is NOT all doom and gloom though. In a very recent judgement handed down by the The Court of Appeal, the Judges  rejected a developer’s challenge to a planning inspector’s decision on air quality locally in Kent. This is the first instance of air quality proving a critical factor in such a judgment.  This is an important decision as it means that air quality is something that must be considered seriously when considering planning permission in polluted areas.

Since 2015 Kent County Council’s Pension Fund invested heavily in companies like Shell a known fossil extractor and polluter. Their investments rose from £29 million (2015) to £50 million (2016), £67 million (2017) £76 million in 2018 with a dramatic drop off in 2019 to £6.7 million. This is NOT the only divestment from fossil fuels by Kent Pension Fund. It is a small but positive step

Can we make the changes necessary to save our planet?

We think the honest answer has to be that we do not know. We do, however, and perhaps optimistically, think that based on what we’ve read and are told by those with much greater expertise than us that in principle we could.

In that case what we do know is that we have a duty to generations to come – and billions of people already alive who will have to live with the true horrors of failure if that happens – to try.

If we do not try now then the generation that did not bother will in our opinion be guilty of genocide. And that’s us. We lay the charge. Our actions now will form our defence.

How can we deliver this change

It’s impossible to suggest all the ways in which this change can happen, especially in a limited time period. In that case what we want to make clear is that we can all contribute. That said, what each of us can do is insignificant without the efforts of others. What we are then looking for is the need for collective action on an almost unimagined scale.

Yesterday’s climate strike in Folkestone along with all the others around the world show us what we can do if we try. If we want a habitable planet for our children and grandchildren then we must ACT NOW.

The Shepwayvox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime

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