I am writing this on the day of the national Climate Strike (20 September) which is a reminder that Dorset Council and many Town Councils have declared a Climate Crisis. We wait with bated breath to see what action they will add to these brave words.
The next Dorset Council meeting is in Dorchester on 17 October, by which time their climate committee will have had their first meeting. We need to keep a careful eye on what action they are proposing and ensure that they are treating this as a real crisis, requiring emergency action. Gillingham Town Council, too, have declared a Climate Crisis and have set up a climate committee in the capable hands of Councillor Fiona Cullen.
Private individuals and community organisations are already seizing the initiative. In the Gillingham area, for instance, as reported in the last print run of this paper, the science teacher at Port Regis School has initiated a project to make the school carbon neutral by 2025, and he is keen to liaise with other schools in the area to help them achieve similar results.
RiversMeet Leisure Centre is installing new lights, showers, air-source heating and variable speed water pumps for the pool. This will dramatically reduce the Centre’s carbon footprint through a 50% saving on electricity, a 30% saving on water and a 40% saving on the pool plant.
These two local projects are setting an example that all schools, community groups and businesses should follow. ‘Greener Gillingham’, a community-based environmentalaction group, has begun meeting at RiversMeet on the second Wednesday of each month. It is surely worthy of wide support.
The youth climate movement is a wake-up call. It is the responsibility of us all to come up with ideas for action to respond to this crisis.
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