I write this on the eve of my first meeting of the Holme Valley Parish Council Climate Emergency Steering Group [HVPCCESG], a meeting I shall be attending as the newly elected Councillor for the Netherthong Ward of the Holme Valley Parish Council (HVPC).
To provide some context as to how I find myself in this position of utmost responsibility, we need to pay attention to the recent protestations and announcements of many councils, schools, schoolchildren and political movements across not just the UK, but the wider western world. In March 2019 the HVPC voted 13 to 0 (two abstentions) to declare a CLIMATE EMERGENCY.
Climate, noun, the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period.
Emergency, noun, Serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. [Source – Oxford English Dictionary]
Readers of the Guardian, the Independent, the Times and the Telegraph; viewers of the BBC, ITV Channel 4 and Sky cannot fail to have heard the news – we have a Climate Emergency and our elected representatives are not taking the issue seriously or acting with sufficient urgency to tackle the problem. Such is the fear captivating many caring youngsters that they have organised, with the assistance of many educationalists, ‘Climate Strikes’ and withdrawn their labour on a number of Fridays this year. In so doing they have denied themselves the valuable classroom time that could have furnished them with some basic building blocks of a fuller understanding of climate change – chemistry, physics, maths, biology or even geology.
Yes, there are many people who do take the Climate Emergency seriously. In the recent EU elections, the Green Party received a significant vote share polling 12% of the 38% turnout just one percentage point behind Labour on 13%. It is thanks to the bravery of climate scientists and activists such as Greta Thunberg and those in Parliament along with a concerned branch of the journalistic profession who have promoted her message, that the voters have responded in numbers for the Green Party in the UK.
Despite Greta Thunberg’s pulling on the natural emotional strings of this lifelong environmentalist along with other climate sages’ warnings of impending climate catastrophe, I cast my vote for the Brexit Party who won the EU elections with a huge 32% vote share. I saw the overriding issue of preserving our democracy and Common Law as vastly more important than the declared Climate Emergency however important that may indeed be. Without control of our money our borders and our laws we certainly won’t be able to steer our country toward a cleaner, sustainable and environmentally responsible future, nor shine as a beacon to other countries as a United Kingdom becoming an exemplar of an environmentally responsible society.
I will endeavour to do my best and do my bit, however small, to help share the reality and the magnitude of the climate emergency that we face, not just in the Holme Valley, but the wider world with my contributions to the HVPCCESG. We may only be a small English Parish in Yorkshire, home of the Luddites, birthplace of the textile revolution, but there is a concerned minority watching how we all respond and we in the Holme Valley should be at the forefront, leading by example in the uncovering and the sharing of what may provide for a sustainable and environmentally responsible future for our children.
Education as always is the key to steering efforts in a positive direction such that practical and wise policy development and resource allocation is developed while environmentally damaging and unsustainable development and resource allocation can be avoided.
When one has received a higher level education in natural and applied sciences, it is a responsibility to share one’s accrued learning with one’s neighbours and as the newly elected Direct Democracy Party councillor for Netherthong on the HVPC, that is a responsibility I intend to fulfill.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file