A fully booked Climate Change Forum took place in Lowestoft earlier this week to explore the challenges faced by climate change and the opportunities of working together to identify solutions.
The Forum, titled ‘A 20:20 Vision on Climate Change’ explored ideas for positive actions in the face of a changing climate and how communities, individuals and others and can do their bit to take action towards better, more sustainable ways of living while adapting to the impacts of climate change.
The Forum was organised by the East Suffolk Greenprint Forum and East Suffolk Environmental Task Group as part of the Council’s commitment to inform and engage with the public.
It included talks by Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, who addressed the need for the Council and local communities and individuals to work together to fight climate change and Peter Aldous, MP, who told attended that climate change is the most important issue facing the UK and the rest of the world, and that the UK should be seen as a global leader in taking action.
Talks were also given by Karen Thomas, Head of Coastal Partnership East, who said that adaptive solutions are already being introduced through partnership working on climate change and changing sea levels, and Tom Bryant, Founder of TFB Consulting, who said that sustainability is increasingly becoming good business sense as clients and customers seek out sustainability in the businesses they interact with. Ian Rowlands, Director at Incredible Oceans, ended the talk sessions and explained how we must all be mindful that communications on climate change can be perceived differently by different people, depending on their own perceptions and motivations.
Local organisations and initiatives were being promoted at the Forum, with stalls from Greenprint Forum, Plastic Action Champions, Suffolk Waste Partnership, Suffolk Coast & Heaths AOBN, Climate Associates Ltd, Lowestoft Climate Action Group, Greener Fram and Fram Climate Change Action Now, Transition Woodbridge, Friends of the Earth, Coastal Partnership East and Groundwork East.
Cllr James Mallinder said:
“Taking action on climate change is a priority for East Suffolk Council.
However, we cannot solve this issue on our own but we want to be a part of the solution and help create the right environment for work to be carried out, by working with our partners and encouraging people in our communities to do their bit to help fight climate change.
I strongly believe that small changes can make a big difference. Ultimately it is down to choice and we must all think about our actions. No one person or institution has the answers but collectively we can make a huge difference.
The Forum was a great opportunity to discuss how we can best work together to tackle the changing climate, and we are committed to continuing working with local community groups, residents and businesses to identify priorities and initiatives that can help us achieve our goal of becoming a carbon neutral council by 2030.
I am particularly interested in getting young people involved and give them a voice in what we are doing, as ultimately, they will be inheriting the legacy that we are trying to achieve.”
Jane Healey, Chair of East Suffolk Greenprint Forum said:
“An amazing evening where local individuals, businesses and community groups were able to get together in one room to discuss and explore some of the issues surrounding the climate emergency.
It provided people with an ability to share their experiences and the sheer breadth of issues discussed emphasized the huge task we all have in working together to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.”
The East Suffolk Environment Task Group was set up following East Suffolk Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency last year, to determine how the Council can reduce its own carbon footprint and work with partners and local communities in the fight against climate change. This includes identifying future priorities for action on climate change, building on the progress that has already been achieved.
The Task Group is developing into a proactive cross party initiative and will focus on topics at each of its meetings where policies of the Council are analysed to make sure they continue to be fit for the purpose and new policies will be suggested for further investigation.
Reports have already been received by Groundwork Suffolk and Suffolk Change Partnership which recognises the steps the Council has already taken, including moving to its new energy efficient buildings in Lowestoft and Melton, and installing solar PV at the recently refurbished Deben Leisure Centre and Leiston Leisure Centre, and identifies areas that the Council will need to focus on to achieve its ambitious targets.