WCAG and friends met for a lively discussion at the Chequers in January, covering a whole range of climate-related topics, writes Nicola Schafer
On the question, “what should be the top priority for Climate Action in 2024?” we discussed the need to stop opening new coal, oil, and gas fields and the speed of the change to renewable energy. This led on to a discussion of the Botley Solar Farm project, and the associated pros, cons, and alternatives.
Other priorities people would like to see ranged from the local - every new building having to be properly energy efficient, to the global – a commitment to getting rid of plastic waste in the sea. Another issue was plastic wrapping, much of which still seems to be non-recyclable via our household collections (although much of the rest can be dropped off at the recycling bin in the Co-Op).
We also discussed what was most interesting out of the different areas of climate change, such as transport, food, waste, energy, nature and fashion, each of which being huge, complex issues. Nature was felt to be of great interest, whilst food is something we can all take action on as individuals, and influence our own family and friends. Simple changes can be easily made, such as moving to plant-based butter, and reducing the amount of meat we consume. Food is an issue on a wider scale as well, encompassing food waste, packaging, and health.
In terms of how the climate has affected our lives so far, we have seen how food security as well as energy security can be an issue. Events such as the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza have shown the vulnerabilities of our global system and how this can impact our daily lives from the cost of food to the availability of Ikea furniture! Local production could also result in fewer transport emissions and potentially better control over pollution and sustainability of materials and processes used.
It was interesting to hear from people about actions they have taken in response to the climate emergency, such as solar panels being installed, plans for electric vehicles, hanging out washing rather than using a tumble dryer and investigations into grants for insulation.
2023 has been confirmed as the hottest year since records began, but here in the UK it didn’t feel like a particularly hot year, unlike the drought in 2022. So, is that having an effect on people’s awareness or motivation to take action? Anecdotally, people discussed there being greater awareness than ever before but also whether people may feel that the problem is so big that their little bit won’t make enough of a difference. However, there are good news stories, and there’s cause for hope.
Would you like to get involved in the conversation? If so join us next time for more discussion and debate at The Chequers at 7.30 pm on Monday 19th February.