A TEENAGE climate change campaigner from Stratford says she petrified for her future.
Anwen Daniels is part of the Stratford Extinction Rebellion group which is urging Stratford District Council to step up action against climate change – something the authority committed to when it declared a climate emergency in 2019. As a result, the council set out an aim to be carbon-neutral by 2025 within its operations, and across the district by 2030.
The campaigner recently highlighted the fact the council’s climate emergency webpage was last updated the following October – over a year ago.
She said: “As a teenager, I am petrified for my future and I am not alone, with a poll showing one in five young people having nightmares about climate change. This I find important because it highlights the lack of urgency and action amongst governing bodies. It’s all well and good to declare a climate emergency, but they must also act as if it is the emergency they have declared it to be.
“They last updated their page on this in October 2019. This is not behaviour typical of an emergency situation The lack of urgency makes many others and I feel completely unprotected and alone.
“I understand covid-19 is making action a lot more challenging for councils, but it’s still possible as shown by Teignbridge District Council. Of course beating covid-19 is crucially important, but the effects of climate change in the future will dwarf our current covid experiences. This must be avoided for the sake of future generations. The world is running out of time with every second passed, so Stratford District Council must create a plan and act to reach carbon neutrality, and they must do so now.”
In response to the concerns, the council pointed out it set up a climate change panel, which had its first meeting last month. The panel decided to commission an analysis of carbon emissions in south Warwickshire which will help to develop a plan to curb them as quickly and effectively as possible.
Other decisions included working together with Warwick District Council on climate change matters and to establish a ‘carbon baseline’ – the expected degree of emissions after alternative measures have been put in place.
Other measures being devised include adopting a homeworking programme to reduce travel and energy use in the council buildings, plans for a tree-planting scheme, a Climate Change Supplementary Planning Document, and negotiations for a joint-partnership to develop a recycling superplant in Coventry which will process up to 175,000 tonnes of recycling on-site a year.
But Stratford Climate Action chair Stephen Norrie believes there is too much talk and little action.
He added: “It’s true that SDC’s Climate Change Panel seems concerned with gathering further knowledge, rather than pressing on with the actions proposed by their Task and Finish group, which they have already agreed in principle. They could also be doing a lot more to inform and involve the population of the district.
“The point of declaring an emergency is to pave the way for urgent action, and the pandemic is only a partial excuse here.”