Opinion piece by the chair of Bude Labour Party (please note that anyone is free to send in an opinion piece):
There are some things that transcend party politics, and this is one of them.
In September (or October), Bude-Stratton Town Council will consider a motion to declare a Climate Emergency. The decision to begin to consider such a motion came out of a Full Council meeting in July, where there was a degree of uncertainty expressed by some councillors. There was also some doubt as to whether global heating and pollution could be described as an emergency.
So, let’s tell the truth.
The Arctic is 70% melted. At this rate of melt, ice will be 100% gone by 2022. Apart from everything this implies, ice plays a major part in reflecting sunlight and reducing global heating.
As I write, the Arctic is on fire; unprecedented wildfires are currently raging across the Arctic Circle, with some the size of 100,000 football fields, made worse by winds spreading the recent European heatwave North, and producing millions of tons of CO2.
Last year, due to multiple weather events fuelled by global heating, European food production was down 20%.
In 2018, Britain’s grain yield was down 40%.
We have a complex multi-national supply system and were able to resource food from other countries, but they are under huge climate stress as well. The traditional rainy season in central South America has failed for six years, countries that export food to us are suffering drought and famine.
The European Food supply system is resilient enough to recover from a single summer like 2018, but not three summers in a row. Last week, record high temperatures occurred across Europe. You cannot grow crops at 46° centigrade. How many summers before we in Bude start to worry whether there will be food on the table?
This is one aspect of global heating. We all know there are many more.
People often feel overwhelmed with the complexity of global heating, and councillors may ask, ‘What can we do?’.
But in an emergency things are simple. We respond to the threat that is immediate to us and act because we must.
Together, we can play our part in preventing the actions that have caused and are causing, this ecological crisis, and we can build a community that is resilient to the climate stresses the children of Bude, and the surrounding parishes, will face in the future.
Yes, we need a government that will make and support bold actions in coordination with other governments.
Yes, Cornwall Council has declared a Climate Emergency, but we cannot wait for someone else to look to our community.
Lostwithiel, Wadebridge, and Camelford are among Cornish Town Councils who have declared a Climate Emergency. As more Parish and Town councils join them, there will emerge a network of local communities who will be able to work together to make decisions informed by the need to fight the Climate Emergency in their local areas –through conserving energy and their environment, through investing in local energy projects, and through telling the truth. They will be able to coordinate with Cornwall Council, who in turn will be able to seek support from government.
But only a Parish or Town Council will have the local knowledge to work with local people in making positive changes in their own local area.
This is why Bude-Stratton Town Council should play its part and declare a Climate Emergency.
Councillors will be committing themselves to think and act now because our children may not be able to act in the future. Declaring a Climate Emergency is a step in a series of steps in the right direction. It is the right thing to do, and we in Bude Branch Labour Party support all councillors and groups who are working towards this necessary first local step.
But we need people who live and work in Bude to inform councillors that they want them to declare a Climate Emergency. ‘Climate Action Bude’ has a petition you can sign (available in the Refill Shop). There is an opportunity to write letters or emails to councillors, so they understand that you feel urgent action needs to be taken.
In this way, we can all support Bude-Stratton Town Councillors so that they can confidently declare a Climate Emergency, play their part, and begin to take the steps that will secure our community’s future.