Members of the public in and around Dartmoor, as well as across the country as a whole, stood up to be heard on Thursday, 25th June, to demand that the climate emergency that has been declared is not forgotten.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recently released their report to the government assessing the progress made so far in reducing emissions. Yet, despite the report making it very clear that the Government needs to act urgently, the Prime Minister, a few days later, announced that billions is to be spent on building, building, building.
Many South West members of the public signed petitions, emailed their local MPs and came together to deliver letters to the offices of said MPs, demanding that action be taken and responsibilities upheld. Extinction Rebellion were out in force across the country with local members from Tavistock, Moretonhampstead and Mid Devon joining others on marches, processions and demonstrations to demand that the government Tell The Truth.
Lord Deben, the chairman of the CCC stated that global warming would be a ‘pandemic which is significantly more long-lasting and damaging than COVID-19’. Despite the Government committing to the country being net-zero by 2050, the report highlights that actions taken thus far fall very short of reaching that target.
Many believe that we have been given a unique opportunity to build upon the environmental changes that have come about as a direct result of COVID-19, such as many people working from home and cycling and walking more, which has all led to a rapid reduction in CO2 emissions. The CCC are supportive of the idea that more people could now work from home permanently and have advised that rather than spending money on building more roads, the money could be spent on additional cycle paths and safe pavements so that people would be able use these methods to get to work.
The report gives very clear solutions for the government to act upon immediately, which could start a cleaner, greener build back of the economy that the Prime Minister is currently championing.
In his speech, Mr Johnson said: “…but we will also build back a greener and more beautiful Britain. We will protect the landscape with flood defences, and plant 30,000 hectares of trees every year, creating a new patchwork of woodlands to enchant and re-energise the soul.”
This comment has brought rising emotions from many in the environmental movement, with anger at the way the climate emergency has been brushed over. One comment on Facebook read: “To enchant and re-energise the soul? How about planting trees to save the world from ultimate destruction?”