On Saturday 6th November over 60 people of all ages got on their bikes of all shapes and sizes to raise awareness of COP 26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, taking place in Glasgow between 31 October to 12 November.
Would you believe that this is the 26th COP Conference, and world leaders and all the other delegates are still talking about taking action rather than taking it?
By now there cannot be a person on the planet who is not aware that we are facing a huge challenge – CLIMATE CHANGE. Scientists have been telling us the facts and showing us the evidence for decades.The time for scientists providing the facts and evidence, and world leaders and others talking about how to respond to them is over. It is delivery time. It is time for the solutions that engineers across a wide range of disciplines have been working on for many years to be properly 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 avoid environmental catastrophe.
The UK Parliament declared a Climate Emergency on 1st May 2019. Dorset Council has declared a Climate Emergency. Bridport Town Council has declared a Climate Emergency. With all due respect to all those organisations and the plethora of other organisations around the country that have declared a Climate Emergency – any fool can do that. It is delivering on it that is the difficult bit. I know it will be challenging and there will be costs but the long term gains and benefits will far out weigh the short term costs.
Our national government, Dorset Council and our own Bridport Town Council and the adjacent Parish Councils must step up to the mark and take a lead in supporting the implementation of the legislative framework that will enable, encourage and increase the speed of the delivery of a green future for all.
Worrying about whether a decision made will impact on the potential for re-election and maintaining control of various little fiefdoms is not the answer.
Working together, and having the courage to make the difficult choices with the long term future of our town, county, country and ultimately our planet as the number one priority is in reality the only answer.
As those 60 plus people cycled through our beautiful town they were delivering two clear messages;
- Firstly – To all those delegates at the COP26 Climate Conference the message is simple. We are watching you and calling on you to act decisively now. To quote Greta ‘No more blah blah blah’.
- Secondly – To the residents of Bridport we say think about how you are going to come into town. Before you set out on your journey ask yourself should I walk, should I cycle or should I use my car? By walking you are exercising and taking time to take in the world around you; by cycling you are using the most efficient and least polluting mode of transport on the planet; by using your car you are doing the complete opposite.
After assembling at the Football Club carpark the cyclists rode up South Street, turned left into Gundry Road and wove their way towards West Street.
The stream of cyclists then rode along West Street, stopped at the lights, then along East Street past the Town Hall and turned right just before the roundabout to take the cycleway through Askers Meadow towards Morrisons and back to South Street.
Along South Street for a second time to assemble for a few minutes on Bucky Doo Square and execute a brief chant of ‘No More blah blah blah’.
From Bucky Doo Square it was a short ride to the Community Orchard where the riders were provided with refreshments. To round off the event I made a short speech reminding those present about the importance of what they had just done and thanked them for taking part. A selection of images of the event can be viewed at the end of this blog.
The response from people out on the streets of Bridport and the market traders was really positive with many shouts of encouragement and spontaneous rounds of applause.
These days with the advent of electric cycles even more people could and should be using cycling as their number one choice for short journeys. Even when on a shopping trip the addition of panniers to your bike means you do not always need to use your car.
By cycling you are reducing the impact you are having on the environment generally and helping to reduce the level of atmospheric pollution on Bridport’s streets.
On a recent Saturday when I cycled into town centre I struggled to find a rack to park my bike, they were full and two-thirds of the cycles were electric. At first I was slightly annoyed but soon realised what a positive thing this was. The cycling revolution has clearly started and will go on gaining momentum. But if that momentum is to increase more rapidly we need to make it even easier to make cycling your first choice over your car when coming into Bridport, to go shopping, to travel to and from work, and to get to school and back again.
It takes me around 5 minutes to cycle to the Town Hall from my home in Crock Lane and at least 10 minutes by car. The circle on the map below shows that the majority of people living in the built up area we think of as Bridport live within 2 km of the Town Hall, a distance that is easily cycle-able by someone of average fitness in around 10 minutes.
- What will prompt you to think bike first rather than getting into your car for short local journeys?
- What is stopping you from getting on your bike for short journeys around Bridport?
- What changes are needed in order to make you consider hopping onto your bike for short local journeys?
It would be really interesting to hear your thoughts and ideas. You can email me at [email protected]
The following images give a flavour of the event.