Q5: WHO DO YOU FEEL IS DOING THE BEST CLIMATE ACTION WORK?
Young people are arguably having the some of the greatest impact on awareness raising through their actions, for example through the recent climate change strikes. By bringing issues to the attention of older generations and in particular decision makers, they are having a direct impact on lowering carbon footprints of communities and responding to the Climate Emergency.
Beth Irving, from the UK Student Climate Network, which helped organise a recent strike, said it was crucial political leaders were held to account over their plans to tackle the emergency.
She said; “The upcoming election will determine how the UK addresses climate change, with significant effects for the planet and its people. We have just a small window of time for action and the next few years are crucial.”
Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who inspired the movement when she staged a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament last year, said despite millions taking to the streets those in power had taken no meaningful action. “World leaders say they hear us and that they understand the urgency,” she said. “But in one year of climate strikes, nothing has changed, nothing… For every step made forward, we went five steps back. The scientists say we have never been less likely to stay below 1.5 degrees [above pre-industrial levels].”
Awareness raising is crucial as a collective change of attitude can have immediate impact and see a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions and it also leads decision makers to change approach.
Urgent action must also take place on a practical level and this will be represented by the next phases of our project.
In 2019 Wirral Council declared a Climate Emergency. However, only four months ago, Wirral Council were vilified on social media and in the National press for their August spraying of 30,000 square metres of saltmarsh with Glyphosate, further suppressing dune succession, despite recorded sand accretion of 300mm per decade.
Recognising the outcry, the authority halted any further spraying or raking while taking expert advice to consider options moving forwards.
This willingness to reconsider beach management activities offers the perfect opportunity to allow and monitor coastal change over the coming years, and for the Local Authority, as well as local, scientific and academic communities to learn from it; this can be a project of regional and national significance, with children and young people set to benefit in particular.
We will work with Cheshire Wildlife Trust, who have been acting as a voice for wildlife in the region for more than 50 years. Working across Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, Stockport, Warrington, Tameside, Trafford and Wirral, they manage more than 40 nature reserves with habitats ranging from grasslands and wet meadows to reedbeds, coastal dunes and woodland.
These conservation projects all make a significant contribution to combating climate change.