Great Big Green Week is Done! Swale FoE celebrates a successful week-long event
Swale Friends of the Earth is celebrating a successful week-long event which included:
A full-house for climate scientist Mark Maslin’s talk, How to Save our Planet
Visits to our RISE exhibition by over 130 people, including Swale and Faversham’s Mayors
Active participation in the 1,000 Actions on Climate in Swale and the giant Postcard to our political leaders
Hundreds of Swale residents took part in the Great Big Green Week, a nationwide campaign to highlight the urgent action needed on climate and nature ahead of COP26, crucial UN Climate talks, in Glasgow later this year.
- There was standing room only for the talk at the QE Grammar School’s New Theatre, only for the talk at the QE Grammar School’s New Theatre, by scientist Mark Maslin. Mark is a contributing member of the newly formed Climate Crisis Advisory Group, set up by Sir David King, to deliver monthly public meetings on issues around the climate crisis, and to respond directly to public questions. His book How to save our Planet has been described as the handbook for our times, of how we together can act at the individual and collective level to save our planet. The audience at the talk numbered over 160 people of all ages, including students from the school, teachers, parents, older people and family groups. Mark gave a dynamic talk; enlightening, inspiring and empowering. His knowledge of the complexities of what needs to change did not diminish his infectious enthusiasm and a raft of questions came from different audience members at the end.
- Over 120 people came to the RISE exhibition at no 12 Marketplace. We were also delighted to welcome the Mayor of Swale, Councillor Paul Stephen, along with Councillor Sarah Stephen and the Mayor of Faversham, Alison Reynolds BEM, to the exhibition at a late opening on 23rd September. We heard about Swale BC’s commitment to carbon reduction and increasing biodiversity, through its declaration of Climate and Ecological Emergencies, the publication of an action plan and new initiatives like new EV charging points, action plans on air quality and new eco-provisos in council contracts. The Council’s ambitious public targets for becoming carbon neutral in its own activities and across the borough are welcome and are an absolutely vital step for the urgent action we need to stop climate breakdown. Councillor Reynolds explained that this is also an important focus for the Town Council and announced the good news that Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School has just launched an AS level in Environment.
The three councillors made their own pledges at the exhibition, as part of Swale FoE’s 1,000 Actions on Climate. It was clear that both Mayors share the passion personally to protect our local environment. But we are facing a lot of challenges in Swale, particularly the high levels of housing and roads development. We need to make sure that the positive words turn into real and practical actions that make Swale a greener and healthier place to live for people and wildlife.
- 1,000 Actions on Climate in Swale is a set of in-person and online pledges to reduce carbon emissions. Three quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions come from people - so to really cut carbon everyone needs to be involved. Launched at the exhibition, the Actions covered travel, planning, food, waste, nature, energy and more. Almost 200 Actions on Climate were pledged during the week - and visitors also told us what other things they did to reduce their climate footprint. The 1,000 Actions were also available in booklet form - and are ongoing - you can take part online here or go to https://www.swalefoe.org/events. We’ll keep it going until we reach at least 1,000!
- Giant Postcard to Boris, Alok, George and Helen: a chance for visitors to tell our elected leaders what more they can do about the climate emergency. Visitors told the politicians that: ‘There should be better funding for local authorities to de-carbonise - with guaranteed money and longer time-frames’, ‘Solar panels should be on all new builds and communities should contribute to the National Grid’, ‘stop developers building 4-bed houses in the wrong places and without current high standards of insulation’, ‘introduce a Carbon Tax’, ‘Making promises and setting long-term targets is all very well but this is real, we need to act now!’, ‘Policy has to change, it can’t take 20 years!’, ‘Don’t approve a new coal mine in the UK’, ‘Reinstate grants to help people go green in their homes - money not just words’.