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Climate Crisis in Marple
Wet and windy weather did not deter 274 people attending an event to explore the causes and effect of climate change on the environment. Local ecological group, MESS (Marple, Mellor, Marple Bridge Energy Saving Strategy) were out in force to make it a day to remember.
MESS member, Gordon Mckay opened the proceedings telling the audience that MESS have been helping to raise awareness of the impact on our environment of climate change for 10 years. This has now become a “Hot Topic” as we are all encouraged to reduce our carbon emissions. Gordon went on to say, “We hope today inspires each one of us to do something positive to save our planet, we should all listen to the science and be educated today”.
Four young people then took the platform speaking passionately about their concerns on nature and wildlife if we don’t all change the way we live. “Nature is a beautiful and glorious thing and it is our duty to take care of the world”.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Chris Jones from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Manchester, spoke eloquently about the problems facing mankind, emphasising that this is a human driven problem. He said, “We live in a warming world and global warming is likely to increase to 1.5 degrees C between 2030 and 2052.
The consequences include – sea level rise, heatwaves, rainfall intensity, drought and rain deficit, loss of biodiversity and eco systems, loss of coral reef and fisheries including food chains, ocean acidification and increased human health and economic inputs”.
Dr Jones went on to say, “We need a massive change globally”.
With regard to Stockport Climate Change Target: “There needs to be a reduction in carbon emissions and we need to start now by co-ordinating action between councillors, businesses, government and groups at the grass roots level. It is only by coming together and changing policy that carbon emissions will reduce”.
During the second half of the afternoon we were treated to a series of short talks by various speakers – home improvements, including draught proofing our homes, insulating roof, windows and walls to preserve heat. The ‘Food and Diet’ presentation challenged each person, “To eat a bit less but pay a bit more”. “Shop locally with locally sourced seasonal food”.
‘Stockport Hydro’ spoke about the creation of local green energy and the educational role it plays in sharing expertise. A talk by ‘Friends of the Earth’ made a plea for us all to consume less food, energy and transport and to reverse the habits of a lifetime. “Recycle, repair and reuse”.
The ‘Walk and Ride Group’ explained how transport is a difficult topic to tackle but if we use a bike we will have “double benefits”, reduce carbon emissions and keep fitter.
A vote of thanks was given by the Chair of MESS, Maureen Matthews, who challenged everyone to make a pledge before they left, stating that small personal changes in lifestyle can have a big global inpact. All the written pledges were placed on a board and included items such as ‘eat less meat’ ‘walk more’ ‘use the car less’ etc…. Maureen also explained that this half day event is a precursor to a two day event next year.
Members of the public then left the hall to look around the varied and interesting stalls i.e. Red Cross Recycling, Marple Walk and Ride, SVC Lighting, Kindling Trust, Repair Cafe, Sustainable Food Diet and many more.
One of the highlights of the day was admiring the art work produced by six local schools.
Tracey McGuinness-Kelly from ‘Stop Studio’ at the Goyt Mill, Marple had the pleasure of judging the exhibits. Tracey said, “The art works to depict climate crisis were outstanding with further potential for future projects to bring this subject to everyone’s attention”.
As people left this challenging, thought provoking event there was gratitude that this difficult subject had been discussed with comments like, “Excellent event, it gives a buzz to find out about global change and what we can do to help”, “A brilliant day with lots of variety and interesting things to learn about”.
The clear message, as everyone went home was –
‘We hold the solutions to global warming in our own hands’.
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MESS “Climate Crisis in Marple” Event September 2019
MESS (Marple, Mellor & Marple Bridge Energy Saving Strategy) aims to promote and demonstrate sustainable lifestyles in the local community. MESS members are enthusiastic local people who are trying to offer ideas, knowledge, solutions and experience to the difficulties that we all face in these challenging times.
In September 2018 at a MESS meeting the idea to share an environmental festival in Marple was discussed. The function of the festival is to highlight and explain the very real threat of climate change to communities, including Marple, and ecosystems around the world and to offer ideas for people to mitigate the worst of its effects. It transpired that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority was also busy facing this threat and planning a “Green Summit” in March 2019 and a bigger event in 2020.
MESS is forming a coalition of local groups and organzations, both those involved with the environment and many of the other groups and businesses that we hope will realize the urgency of the need for action.
MESS is to hold a “Climate Crisis in Marple” event in September 2019 as a prelude to a larger event planned for 2020 seeking the support of GMCA.. We are also seeking the help and support of all the local groups to highlight the urgency of the need to tackle all the aspects of Climate Change. We hope our event will have the same drastic effect on participants that we all experienced through Blue Planet 2.
There will be at least two speaker slots and we have already invited a speaker from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research. The afternoon will include Stalls, displays, discussion groups and an Art Competition. Five of the areas for particular concern are: Resource Depletion; Diet; Wasting Less Energy; Transport; Power Generation.
Some young people from the college are part of the planning team.
One of the aims of the event is for people to realise that the changes needed to our lifestyles and local and national environmental polices need to come from the people as well as politicians or government and we need to act NOW.
1.5 DEGREES C
Why it matters and how you can help.
In October 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report, approved by the representatives of 195 countries, which warned that global warming must be restricted to a maximum of 1.5 degrees C and that any rise beyond that would significantly worsen the risks of severe drought, floods, extreme weather events and increasing poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
Only 3 years ago, at the time of the Paris agreement, it was believed that if the global temperature rise could be kept below 2.0 degrees C, the impact would be manageable, but further analysis of existing and new data, has shown that this is no longer the case.
The Report is also quite clear that the challenge of avoiding catastrophic climate breakdown will require “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” Whilst it also states that governments must take the lead in effecting these changes, many environmental experts believe that it will take the collective action of ordinary citizens, to persuade governments to respond with the speed and commitment that will be required.
As a measure of the speed and scale of actions that are required, the report proposes that global carbon emissions must be reduced by 45% in the next 12 years and should be reduced to zero by 2050. This will require immediate and significant lifestyle changes, particularly in highly developed nations like the UK, so let`s look at some actions we can all take that will make a real difference.
1. Eat less meat.
Agriculture produces over 30% of global CO2 emissions and 60% of that is due to beef and dairy production. Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on the planet.
2. Switch to renewable energy.
Installing your own solar panels or simply changing to an energy supplier who only uses renewable energy will accelerate the transition from fossil fuel use. The IPCC have stated that 80% of all known oil, coal and gas reserves, must remain in the ground, if global warming is to be kept to no more than 1.5 degrees.
3. Energy saving.
Fitting cavity wall or solid wall insulation and loft insulation, draft proofing doors and windows or installing new double or triple glazed windows, will all help to save energy and reduce your CO2 emissions. Similarly, swapping an old boiler for a ground or air source heat pump, switching to LED lighting and using energy efficient home appliances will all help to reduce your carbon footprint and your energy bills.
4. Transport and Travel
We all need to reduce the extent to which we use forms of transport powered by fossil fuels, particularly the private car. Walk or cycle where possible, or use public transport. Where a car is essential, consider changing to an electric or hybrid model and as a general rule, shop locally, use local pubs and restaurants and seek out local venues for sport and entertainment. Holidays in the UK or travel around Europe by train are both planet friendly options, but learn to view air travel as the very last resort.
5. Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
We should buy fewer things and consume less across every aspect of our lives. We should reuse and recycle clothes and household goods, learn to mend things and learn to be sceptical about the next life enhancing gismo that a retailer foists on us. In whatever we do purchase, we should always consider, where was it made, how was it made and what its carbon footprint look like? Ideally, by now, the sort of information and advice given above should have been provided in far greater detail by a government body, but as the scientists and environmental experts fear and, as their experience over the last 30 years has proved, governments have struggled to communicate clearly on the issue of Climate Change, unless directly prompted by public concern.
“Climate Crisis in Marple” – MESS Event brings leading Climate Scientist to Marple
Local Environmental Group MESS (Marple, Mellor and Marple Bridge Energy Saving Strategy) are holding an event at Marple Sixth Form College on Sunday 29th September to highlight the climate crisis facing our Community.
Dr Chris Jones, a leading climate research scientist at the world renowned Tyndall Centre, based at Manchester University, will explain in stark terms, the science behind the climate emergency we now face and a series of workshop sessions will then explain, how our individual actions can reduce the impact of climate change.
MESS say that their decision to hold this event, was taken as a direct response to the growing concern being expressed by the World`s scientific community, that governments are doing far too little to address the urgent actions that the climate crisis requires. Interestingly, similar views have recently been expressed by David Attenborough and the Government`s own Climate Change Committee!
The consensus now, amongst scientists, environmental activists and some enlightened politicians, is that grass roots action is the probably best way to secure the required scale of response from Governments.
MESS point out that whilst Stockport Council`s declaration of a Climate Emergency and Greater Manchester`s decision to become a Carbon Neutral Region by 2038, are both hopeful signs, the real urgency lies in explaining to people how changes they can make in their own lives, will help to tackle climate change. Discussion of these issues will form a key part of the event.
Maureen Matthews, Chair of MESS said “ Whilst hearing the scientific view of the situation, can be a sobering experience, our aim is for people to leave the event with a positive view of the many ways in which simple lifestyle changes, can help reduce our carbon emissions and safeguard the future of our planet.”
Many local organisations who share concerns about climate change, have pledged their support for the event and, alongside the workshops, there will be stalls highlighting some of their activities.
MESS are also organising a Climate themed art completion for local school children. The results of this will be announced at the Event, which takes place from 2.30 pm – 5.30 pm on Sunday 29th September, at Marple Sixth Form College, Buxton Lane, Marple, SK6 7QV
Much is spoken these days about how the world stores carbon. ‘So what does carbon storage mean and involve? Nature has managed a great system of providing carbon storage for millions of years. Trees and other plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and lock it into their tissues. When they die the carbon locked up in their tissues eventually becomes locked into the soil. Some of this carbon is absorbed by bacteria in the soil and through the process of respiration is returned to the atmosphere. Man’s activities over the last 150 years have managed to remove carbon stores such as coal and oil and gas from the ground and release increasing amounts of this carbon in the form of the gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere thereby leading to climate change. One method of reducing carbon dioxide levels and thereby reduce the effects of climate change is to remove it from the atmosphere and store it.
There are 3 main approaches to carbon dioxide removal and storage: biological, chemical and physical. Biological removal simply involves the use of biofuels, fuels synthesised from plants and reforestation. Reforestation and/or the avoidance of deforestation are win win solutions. A potential chemical solution would be to fertilise the oceans with certain micronutrients to encourage marine algae and phytoplankton to photosynthesise more thereby absorbing more CO² from the atmosphere. A physical method would be to directly absorb CO² from the air by technological means. However considering that CO² forms only 0.05% of the atmosphere, this is much harder than it sounds and is very energy demanding and therefore expensive. Ultimately The CO² collected could be stored underground as a gas in disused oil wells. Another physical means would be to remove CO² at the point of release. This would be more manageable in large industrial complexes but would require government action to make it an essential part of industrial production.
Whichever method of carbon removal and storage is employed it is surely an important consideration in dealing with the ever
increasing problem of climate change.’