COP26 is a perfect opportunity for all of us to stop and to think about what sort of future we want for ourselves and our children.
If we continue as we are, much destruction will take place of our natural habitats, not only in the UK but around the world. This will cause major shifts in weather patterns, something we have already started to experience. From the 1970s with the introduction of credit, we moved largely into a consumption economy, combined with big global companies who lose their connection with their processes of production.
The environment has just become a resource. This resource is increasingly being exploited. If a chicken costs less than a pint of beer or you can buy a pineapple for less than a pound, something is not appreciated and valued. This combined with most of our durable goods being made in the Far East, little information is available on how they are produced, or their carbon footprint. Just because the carbon footprint is offshore, it does not make the UK successful in our reductions.
Here at East Suffolk, we continue with a strong environment vision to use all our powers to introduce a new type of local governance where we remove politics, and we all work together to focus on making the right environmental decisions for our communities. As a principle of our Strategic Plan this commitment has been emphasised by our declaring of a climate emergency in 2019. Not just words but this has followed by substantial action in changing how the council functions. We must continue to reduce our carbon footprint, but we must protect nature which equally has an important role to remove the carbon. We must consume less, reuse, repurpose and recycle where we can and reduce our waste.
And, of course, for future proofing we need tree planting, but equally, if not more important we need to preserve and value the trees that we have in our landscape. We are blessed here in East Suffolk with a diverse landscape from shingle beaches to the deepest forest and everything in between and we continue to balance the demand from visitors, business and our residents, to make sure all work in partnership. Not removing the environment as a pressure, but the environment being an important consideration in policy development and formation.
All of us our expecting big fundamental changes in policy resulting from COP26 and these big changes, combined by the small changes we can make in our lives will halt and repair the damage on our planet. The time is now and delay in action is no longer an option. Between residents, town and parish councils and your district council we can and will make a difference and put the environment at the heart of East Suffolk.
Cllr James Mallinder Cabinet Member for the Environment
Cllr Louise Gooch Labour Party Environment Spokesperson
Cllr Caroline Topping leader of GLI group (Green party, Liberal Democrats and Independent)