Saturday 18th September sees the start of Bridport’s Big Green Week. To launch the week there will be a gathering on Millenium Green from 10.30 – 2.30, with stalls, music, speeches and at 12 noon I will be reading out the Bridport Proclamation.
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is scheduled to take place in Glasgow between 31 October to 12 November 2021. It will be the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference hence the number in the name.
Yes, there have been 26 of them and we are still talking about taking action rather than actually taking it.
As a student of Geography in the early 1970s, some 50 years ago, I studied a unit on the potential impact of man’s activities on the climate. The evidence was there all those years ago and what have we done about it? Throughout the past 50 years there has hardly been a week when new scientific evidence of the impact we are having on our planet’s climate is not in the news.
In recent years, I have seen for myself some of that evidence – shrinking glaciers in the Andes and New Zealand, drought in Mongolia and Madagascar, flooded favelas in Venezuela, and the smoke from vast devastating bush fires turning daylight into a twilight smog in Sydney Australia.
You don’t need to be a scientist to know that climate change is happening. Here at home, the impact of climate change manifests itself year on year on my allotment and I am having to adapt my life long growing practices to cope with it.
Our planet is facing a huge challenge. The time for scientists telling us the facts and politicians talking about how to respond to those facts is over. It is delivery time. It is time for the solutions, that engineers across a huge range of disciplines have been working on for many years, to be invested in and delivered. Much of the technology to deliver a low carbon future already exists and the speed with which it is delivered needs to accelerate rapidly across the globe if we are to prevent an environmental catastrophe.
The UK Parliament declared a Climate Emergency on May 1st 2019. Dorset Council has declared a Climate Emergency. Bridport Town Council has declared a Climate Emergency. But, with all due respect to all those organisations and people who have declared a Climate Emergency – any fool can do that, it is delivering on it that is the difficult bit.
Our national government has to step up to the mark and take a lead in putting in place the legislative framework that will both enable and encourage delivery of a green future for all. If our national government continues to drag its heels, Dorset Council and Bridport Council are powerless. There are numerous things we as a Town Council would like to do and support but current legislation in areas such as planning are preventing us from doing so. Bridport Town Council has earmarked £100,000 towards the delivery of its Climate Emergency Declaration. It sounds a lot but in reality it is a drop in the ocean.
The time for vanity projects such as the removal of pylons and burial of cables in the AONB around Winterborne Abbas is over. If we are to move towards a greener future we should be investing the millions spent on such schemes in installing local green power generation facilities such as solar farms and wind turbines to supply a local energy grid.
Do you realise it would only take 6 large wind turbines to supply a town the size of Bridport?
But it is not only the lack of drive form central government that is impeding such initiatives. There is the always present NIMBY factor to deal with. Well, I am afraid Mr and Mrs Nimby if we are going to achieve the target set out in The Paris Agreement which is a legally binding international treaty on climate change, you are going to have to play your part alongside everyone else.
The Paris Agreement was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal was to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
Since then the progress made towards achieving this has been painfully slow at best and non existent at worst. The countries of the developed world including the UK continue to prevaricate whilst around the globe less privileged nations disappear under rising seas, starve and burn under drought conditions, and see their homes washed away in flash floods.
Back to COP 26. Bridport Town Council Councillors have unanimously agreed the following Proclamation as a statement of what we want the COP 26 conference to achieve.
The Bridport Proclamation
COP 26 must be a success. Decarbonising the world must start now with emphatic steps. This realisation is what unifies us here today. We want our town, our county, and our country to hear: the road to zero must be embraced and acted upon by everyone.
We wish to proclaim that for one or two generations to usurp all the wealth of the planet, leaving future generations in serious crisis is unconscionable. And today we wish to show our concern and love for those who come after us, including the living creatures who can’t speak for themselves.
We need to express our support for those who have contributed little to the accumulation of CO2 while the UK holds, historically, one of the largest fossil fuel footprints on the planet. We need to engage with countries and communities caught in the stranglehold of older, dirtier industries and together plan a route (through finance from the West) for a sustainable future. We can only do this while respecting the rights of people at home and abroad and by listening to them.
We can’t attain carbon zero for some and not for others.
Glasgow, shine like a beacon, in this difficult world, and light the way to a saner, sustainable future.
Bridport’s Great Big Green Week – Events Schedule.
Saturday, September 18th
Opening Gathering West Dorset FoE. Sept 18 Bridport Millennium Green. Start at 10:30, speeches and proclamation by the mayor 11:30-12 noon. Stalls, music, and picnic (plus coffee and homemade soup). contact Scott on [email protected] to join in. Details are here.
Youth Forum: We invite all young people who want to share their views about COP26 to go to our own mini youth forum, which will be from 12.30 today (announced from the stage). It will be held in the Community Shed, which is on the eastern edge of Millennium Green, beyond the gardens. Raja Jarrah to moderate.
Sunday, September 19th
THIS EVENT HAS HAD TO BE CANCELLED> The plan is to hold it at a later date: Lyme Bay’s Road to Recovery, West Bay Discovery Centre. Coastal Eco Systems are under increasing threat from overfishing, pollution and Climate change. The Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area demonstrates some success stories where local communities are being empowered to manage and protect their coastal environment. Dr Adam Rees will give a talk coupled with a video presentation at West Bay Discovery Centre followed by a short walk along the quayside. Free tickets booked in advance www.plover-rovers.com/events-1
Monday, September 20th
Climate & Refugees: 6:30 pm, Bridport Shed. In a Strange Land performed by the Bridport Shakespeare Company, with excerpts from the Tempest plus added singing. The theme focuses on the plight of refugees. While climate, war & inequality have always produced refugees, recent weather related extremes have caused 21.5 million displacements annually. Details of the performance: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1003261616414021/ courtyard performance: bring your own chairs.
Community Shed: 10-12 All welcome. Scroll foundry – signalling the voices of Bridport’s young people and drawing from the Youth Forum on the 18th, the Shed will be inviting people to join our Monday session. Using available materials we will create a scroll outlining the distilled points made at the forum. The scroll will then be sent (in some form) to the UK delegates attending the COP26 UN youth Pre-summit. http://www.bridportcommunityshed.org.uk/
Tuesday, September 21st
Practical Local Climate Change Responses: briefing and discussion evening 7pm start at Bridport’s United Reform Church, East Street. A discussion of what steps we need to take to mitigate the impact of climate change: focussing on Bridport Town Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, food, home energy and mutual support. For further details and bookings, see:https://www.bridportfoodmatters.net/practical-local-climate-change-responses-discussion-evening/.
Any Day you choose
Do it yourself event: in your own home, at your own time. Robert Golden’s film”this Good Earth” https://this-good-earth.com/license/ Single and family viewing ticket. £3.95. Divided into 3-30 minute sections, it focuses on soil, land and food. Much of it filmed around Bridport, it is a film everyone should view.
Wednesday, September 22nd
Try out an electric bike. St Mary’s Field at 11am (just over the bridge). Bridport Cycles will bring down some their e-bikes and let you have a ride. Using a level cycle path: helmets provided. http://bridportcycles.co.uk/
Delivering Bridport’s Climate declaration: Bridport Mayor Ian Bark has set delivering the town’s climate emergency declaration as the theme of Civic Day; an annual event when Mayors from all over the county visit Bridport. The mayors will visit the edible food garden at St. Mary’s Primary School, the Community Orchard and Bridport Co-housing, finishing at the West Bay’s Discovery Centre (which is hosting an exhibition about the impact of single use plastic). Not a public event.
Singing in Borough Gardens: 2-3pm with local Taize choir. Meditative songs to celebrate Spirit and songs to honour the Earth. The public is invited to take part or simply to enjoy listening to our harmonies in the nurturing surroundings of this beautiful community garden. contact [email protected] for further information.
A river ramble: a one hour walk along the River Asker with Dorset Wildlife Trust and Dorset AONB. 6pm South Street Carpark. Come along and find out about the health of the river, what animals call it home and how we can make it better.
Clay endangered species. Bridport Youth Club’s regular Wednesday meeting (5pm) will be making clay animals to fire and paint later. contact [email protected]
Thursday, September 23rd
Making the Best of What’s Left: from 11:30. Join Bridport Food Matters in St. Swithins car park, as local chef Giles Smith creates delicious recipes with the leftovers. Free tasting.
Green Ethics: Actions and Dilemmas
7.30pm (doors open at 7pm) Bridport Town Hall. A community philosophy discussion introduced by Kelvin Clayton and chaired by Horatio Morpurgo. All welcome – Entry free (voluntary donations welcomed).
More info: bricabrac.yolasite.com or telephone Neil or Louise on 01308 421720.
Sustainable Living Workshop: 7:30-9.00 upstairs Unitarian Chapel. Want to reduce your carbon footprint but don’t know where to begin? GoGoEco with special guests offer expert advice on how to reduce emissions in your home and lifestyle. You will feel more empowered about the climate crisis and better prepared for the challenges ahead. £6 advance tickets or entry on the door. Proceeds towards The Word Forest reforestation charity.
Friday, September 24th
Inside Out Dorset: Friday 24 – Sunday 26 September, at Symondsbury Estate. Extensive artwork trails will reveal performance and installation artworks from Dorset artists Lue Jerram, Lorna Rees and the Shouting Mute. Themes include climate change, rock, our land and nature. More detail: https://symondsburyestate.co.uk/events/inside-out-dorset/
Voices of Hope: 11am to 12pm. Borough Gardens. Join local community singing group Voices of Hope to learn short easy songs about the earth and the natural world. For all ages, no singing experience necessary. If you don’t feel like singing please feel free come and listen. Contact: [email protected]
Parent & Child tree walk, treasure hunt and quiz. 5PM upper Millennium Green. Including talk about trees and climate (Bridport Tree Planting). Aimed at children under 12. Free refreshments – cold drinks and cake – provided at the close. contact [email protected]
Saturday, September 25th
Greener Homes. Transition Town Bridport and Dorset CAN. Sept 25-26 & Oct 2-3. Visit examples of eco homes, village halls, and churches. For Further Information: http://dorset.greenopenhomes.net/
Please contact [email protected] or telephone 07715171948 if you have any questions.
Charter Fair, Buckydoo Square: 9:30-2. Several of the groups involved in the GBGW will be holding stalls in the Square and inside the Arts Centre.
Sunday, September 26th
Tree Planting Preview: A guided tour at 3pm around The Hyde in Walditch to look around their wonderful walled garden and vegetable gardens and then to view where Bridport Tree planting is going to assist in planting specimen parkland trees plus a shelter belt of trees. (refreshments included). Contact: Joe at [email protected]