By a clear majority, Eden District Council passed a motion declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency on Thursday 11th July 2019.
Statement from John Bodger, chair of Penrith Action for Community Transition (PACT):
We’re absolutely thrilled that this motion has been passed at Eden District Council. It’s a tremendous result and we recognise it was a challenging decision for our councillors. Fulfilling the pledges they’ve made in the motion will take commitment, wisdom and courage, but it’s absolutely critical that this is seen as a community motion, and not just left to the council. We, as a community, have encouraged our councillors to pass this motion through a public petition with signatures from hundreds of people from across the district. I think it’s incumbent on all of us to support the council now in moving forward with the commitments they’ve made in the motion. It is a big ask, for the council and all of us, but there are plenty of people in the community in Eden who are willing to engage with the council and share expertise and support, as and when they are ready to ask for that help.
Penrith Action for Community Transition (PACT) has already begun bringing people together to consider some of the policy areas linked to carbon emissions where Eden has either direct control or influence. We will continue to progress with that in the hope that it will give the council a starting point in moving towards Eden being zero carbon by 2030. If there are people in the community with expertise that they think could be relevant, please get in contact with PACT just to let us know you’re there and what you might be able to offer.
PACT and others are calling on Eden District Council to declare a Climate Emergency with the aim of making Eden District carbon neutral by 2030.
A petition has collected enough signatures and will be presented to the full council on July 11th 2019.
A Climate and Ecological Emergency motion will be discussed and hopefully approved at the full EDC council meeting on 11th July. Join us to show support at 6:15pm.
Please email your district councillor to show support for the motion. Find your councillor here. Note that some wards have more than one councillor. You can find your ward on this map by entering your postcode. Make sure the side panel is open then expand Council and Democracy then tick the Ward box; the ward names are shown in purple on the map.
Or you can use www.writetothem.com which usually gets the councillor(s) right.
Here's what the petition is calling on the council to do:
- Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’
- Aim to make Eden District carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions
- Call on Westminster to provide the powers, resources and help with funding to successfully meet the 2030 target
- Work with other councils and organisations (both within the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit global warming to less than 1.5°C
- Work with partners in Parish, Town and Cumbria County Councils to help deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies, plans and shared resources
- Produce a fully costed action plan to meet the carbon neutral target to be presented to Full Council in 2019
Further information is attached below. We hope that councillors from many political parties will support and submit this resolution once the new council is formed after elections on 2nd May 2019.
The motion provides a means for the council to take the petition forward with action on both the Climate Emergency and the Ecological Emergency:
This motion calls on Eden District Council:
- To declare a Climate Emergency and an Ecological Emergency.
- To aim to make Eden District carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.
- Critically to evaluate the ecological impacts of all Eden District Council’s decisions and actions; to refuse initiatives that will result in the degradation of the natural environment and biodiversity; and actively to promote the safeguarding and improvement of the natural environment.
- To prepare, by the end of 2019, a strategic plan to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030, across all activities for which the Council is responsible, working with independent expert advisory groups to ensure the council adopts best practice.
- To call on the UK Government to provide the powers, resources and funding to meet a 2030 zero carbon target across Eden District.
- To work together with other councils, public and private sector organisations (within Eden, Cumbria, the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to achieve zero emissions in Eden District by 2030.
- To work with Eden’s residents, from schoolchildren to elders, to formulate, deliver, and monitor plans and actions which will tackle the climate and ecological emergencies.
What is the Climate Emergency?
Since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report of October 2018, Town, District, County and Metropolitan Councils of all political persuasions across the UK have passed motions committing them to addressing the climate crisis. Across the world local government bodies are doing the same. The following motion invites Eden District Council to join the many other Councils that are determined to make their contribution to tackling the climate crisis.
The scientific evidence of the threat we all face is undeniable. In relation to the IPCC report, Mary Robinson former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy on Climate has said: “We have to understand that we face an existential threat that is going to undermine the future prospects for our children and grandchildren”.
Unless we act on climate, we collectively face the greatest threat to our local and global environment.
What is the Ecological Emergency?
As well as producing carbon dioxide and other gases that are causing rapid climate change, human activities are affecting the environment to cause an Ecological Emergency including loss of biodiversity.
In May 2019, UN scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) said that "Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history - and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely"ᵃ. Discarded plastic and other pollution along with over-use of herbicides and pesticides are damaging us and the environment and reducing biodiversity across land and sea. The 2016 UK State of Nature suggests that the UK is among the most nature-depleted countries in the world, and the 2017 State of UK Birds reports, for example, farmland bird numbers reducing by more than half since 1970.
George's message for all schools in Eden District
Nine-year old Eden student George has recorded a message to ask all local schools to contact their councillor to support the Climate Emergency declaration. See above for links on how to find which ward you are in and who your councillor(s) are. George says:
I’m 9 years old and live in Cumbria. Last week I attended a Climate Emergency conference and came away with some real ways to help reverse climate change. I have made a short video asking for school children across Eden to write to their councillor asking them to declare a climate emergency.
The letter he asks schools to write is here as a DOCX with this text:
We, the undersigned pupils of _____________________________ school ask that you, our Eden District councillor, support the motion to declare a climate emergency with the aim of making Eden District carbon neutral by 2030. This will be discussed at the Eden District Council meeting on Thursday, the 11th of July 2019. We would also like to hear the measures you intend to put in place to achieve this.