I have a confession to make - when I first heard that I would be campaigning on climate issues I was apprehensive, not because I don’t believe it is important, but because it is so important - yet so difficult to communicate in any way that doesn’t end up scaring off the very people we want to inspire to take action.
To really tackle climate change we need to turn the tables, take heart and have hope. That’s what the Climate Coalition’s ‘For the love of...’ campaign does so brilliantly. It encourages us to take positive action on behalf of the things we love in the world around us that we simply couldn’t stand to lose. It’s time to work towards a vision of the world we want for our children, grandchildren, future generations and all the other things we love.
What do we need to do this? Well, support and strong leadership from our elected representatives would be a good place to start. Next week, world leaders (hopefully including David Cameron) will be meeting at a climate change summit in New York. The aim is to get the ball rolling in advance of an important conference in Paris towards the end of 2015 at which, it is hoped, we will finally get the global deal on tackling climate change the world so desperately needs.
This Sunday, to mark the occasion, people across the world will be taking to the streets as part of a Global Day of Action to show leaders how important these talks are to all of us. Plans for the largest climate march ever are underway in New York and there are sister events organised around the world, including London.
The Climate Coalition will be there (find out more here); and so will I, standing alongside people from all generations and all walks of life, with a hope for a future that we no longer need to be afraid of.
One thing is certain - whilst politicians continue to state that lack of public support is the reason for the delay in global action on climate change - to change everything, we need everyone.
It’s featured here before and this time it’s an England-wide call to arms.
Regular readers of our Conservation Director Martin Harper’s blog will know that over the past two years we’ve been fighting to prevent the development of up to 5,000 houses on an ex-military training ground at Lodge Hill, in Medway, Kent because of the site’s extraordinary value to the UK’s nightingale population. Last year it became the first ever protected area in the UK for nightingales, as well as it’s ancient woodland, rare grassland and other wildlife.
The planning application had been objected to by a range of conservation organisations, including us, Kent Wildlife Trust, Buglife, CPRE Protect Kent and even Natural England, the Government’s own environmental advisors, as well as over 400 local residents and organisations.
So we were deeply dismayed when on Thursday evening, despite vigorous local opposition in the room and from other Councillors, Medway Council’s Planning Committee voted unanimously to approve the development on Lodge Hill.
The Lodge Hill development will set a precedent for the whole of England. If this development goes ahead, not only do we lose one of the best homes – and only protected site – in the country for nightingales, but this decision undermines the Government’s own tests to prevent damaging development on every other nationally protected area around the country, meaning that they too could be at risk from harmful activities in the future.
Our protected areas are protected for good reason, and this is not something we can allow to happen. Fortunately, there is still a way to stop it.
Eric Pickles, the Minister with overall responsibility for housing decisions, can 'call in' the application and make the decision himself, following a public inquiry. But he’ll only do so if he’s convinced that this development has a national impact and is nationally controversial.
Please ask Eric Pickles to ‘call in’ this application today
Please show him that this is a big national issue by sharing it with all your friends too. We cannot stand by and let the protection of our best sites become meaningless.
You can find Martin’s latest instalment here and the history of this case as well as links to Martin’s other blogs on our Lodge Hill Casework pages.
Thank you, as always for your help, and do spread the word about this one far and wide – we must convince Mr Pickles to call this in.
Hopefully you will have already heard the great news that the Thames Estuary Airport proposal (a.k.a TEA!) has been thrown out by the Davies Commission review on airport capacity. Huge thanks go to all of you who have helped campaign on this issue over the years. We all hope that this is the last time we will have to take on this battle!
Here is RSPB Conservation Director Martin Harper's blog about yesterday's announcement:
Thames Estuary Airport Out!