CARFREE LIVING

Logo info CCCRdg

A Monthly Car-Free Work-Day Planet a force forward for #climateaction

Will the president of the European Union ban private cars in the urban environment?
Many people and community groups in transition are positive to this and want to ban private cars in city centres, so the streets will be safer and there will be less damaging pollution.

If all the private cars disappear, there are big plans for how all the space currently taken up by cars can be used for something better with the aim of making much needed urban behavioural change happen.

Mission
How do we allocate and transform public street space in cities and towns into public spaces?
2016 is the time for a more radical approach to end fossil fuels. Our aim is to ban private cars from town/city centres and reallocate road space to active travel such as walking and cycling to reduce congestion and address the damaging health impacts of air pollution, inactivity and obesity. Also, if all private cars were banned 12 days a year would be equal to 12 out of 365 days decrease in world private vehicle gas, petrol and diesel consumption ~ 3%!

The new car free movement
Many of us grew up cycling in the countryside when there were very few cars on the road and have never owned a car. We saw cars as the future, more people = more cars (less air quality), in a limited space, how is this going to work?

Each new road erases the natural world and we believe we have a duty to respect our natural environment. We have not always been sensitive to the damage car culture has on society and our environment. We do not accept that people are killed from air pollution; road casualties, inactivity and obesity are the price we have to pay or collateral damage.

There is a need to establish a platform of decision makers who acknowledge we have all the tools to achieve, implement and conduct. We have support from businesses, even corporations can cope with one CFD per month.

If we can agree to one year of monthly car-free event then we can also tackle the need for radical behaviour change.

Public health reasons to ban private cars in city centres
Great work has been done with Ken Livingstone’s congestion charge initiative in London but over time it clearly has not worked. 2016 is the time for a more radical approach.

Road charging has some benefits but if you raise the charge to the eye watering amounts required to clear traffic, you will end up with just the wealthy able to drive cars in cities. This is already statistically the case and we believe not good for social cohesion. The next stage is to ban private cars in city centres and free up public street space for walking and cycling, the great equalisers.

Ban of cars in all of city centres or just parts of the city?
E.g. London – The 2011 census marked a tipping point in car ownership in Central London. The majority of households for instance in Westminster (63%) The City (69%) Islington (65%) do not own a car.

Car owning households in Central London were now the minority. Finally there was a political opportunity to make the case for a car free London in zones 1 & 2. The picture is different in the outer boroughs where public transport is not as concentrated and journey distance to the centre is longer. Here car ownership is still in the majority.

The project Monthly Car-Free Work-Day Planet does not advocate the banning of public transport and commercial vehicles as they are essential to running the new economy and maintaining the city services. However we do want these modes rationalised, reduced in number and upgraded to the cleanest models available. Costs and availability of licenses would be based on lowest pollution and environmental footprint and whether the license was deemed to be necessary. All vehicles would have to be diesel free and with low emissions. All paved tarmac and stone surfaces would be examined with a view to increasing the green areas and thus air conditioning/micro climate control.

Owning a private car however is not a necessity and private electric cars and scooters don’t address the underlying problems of congestion, road casualties, inactivity and obesity. Clean tech cars may pollute less (silent oil spills!) in the direct environment but the electric grid is only 19% renewables and still polluting elsewhere whether coal and gas emissions or nuclear waste.

E waste from Electric vehicle batteries en masse would present a new challenge for toxic waste and the batteries are very expensive to recycle.

A successful car-free day project is going to study fossil fuels alternatives to the cars that already have private owners
Unfortunately diesel will have to be crushed, a very bad mistake and all who bought into or promoted the switch to diesel will have learnt a difficult lesson, unless diesel cars can be recycled into bikes?

Cleaner models will have some resale value. Perhaps possible to incentivise people to ditch their diesel immediately and join an electric car club or receive a bike.

It is also important to make active travel and public transport as accessible and inclusive as possible for people with disabilities and older people. Active travel benefits a wide range of people; customised cycling bikes promoted by, for instance, Wheels for Wellbeing give a variety of options for many people with disabilities, including hand cycling and assisted.

Being socially inclusive creates a society that is more cohesive.

FIGURES AND KEY FACTS The public space usage of all the empty roads and empty parking space is our common realm and will benefit the general public
Making space on the roads for a quality, safe, inclusive cycling experience is paramount. Whether that is protected lanes, filtered permeable or active travel corridors (whole roads for bikes) is down to what works best in each location.

It also occurred to us that freeing up vast amounts of space used for parking private cars (6.8 million parking spaces in London use up 78.5 km sq, based on minimum parking space) could unlock car parks as brownfield sites for key worker housing, at reasonable rents, linked to their jobs in the vicinity (linked to commuting). A good idea would also be to plant more trees on previously car lined streets.

KEY DRIVERS FOR ACTION Time frame for getting rid of private cars off the roads in city centres

Hopefully we could move fast to ban private diesel in Central London, one years notice; 9500 deaths per year requires a proportionate response.

  • 2 years to ban private diesel in the outer boroughs and commercial diesel in Central London
  • 3 years to ban commercial diesel in the outer boroughs and all private cars from Central London

How to implement a one year trial for a regular Car-free Day on a Workday worldwide? Logistically this is radical change. The city would not be able to build cycling protected lanes on main roads fast enough, but road closures of rat runs as alternative car free cycle routes could be implemented within the time frame and space saved would allow local agriculture to grow urban farming.

How to get around in your city, London
If you are not a car owner you mostly walk in London, with the odd bus and tube for longer journeys. Occasionally you may cycle using a Boris bike or on a friend’s tandem, but as part of the majority that feels very uncomfortable cycling in London with congested streets, mixing with large HGVs and buses and very poor cycling infrastructure.

People would love to cycle more, yet Londoners  live in very small flats so are on the lookout for somewhere practical to park and ride, maybe a folding bike or with a basket, or even a cargo bike combined with safe parking!

Trains are the way forward for longer internal journeys in the UK and we would like to see more investment, more incentives and ultimately prefer railways to be nationalised for the good of the nation rather than for profit. Londoners travel by train mostly out of London. Bike provision on trains is an issue and one that needs addressing.

Inhabitants of London occasionally catch a lift or use taxis where there is little or no public transport provision. There is general sympathy with the ideal that public transport should be a basic human right, but it is difficult in very rural areas. Sharing taxis might provide a more flexible option than buses. The idea of connecting urban areas with dedicated cycle lanes like the proposed HS2 for bikes is very likable.

What should happen to cars outside London?
Outside London we believe the banning of private cars in city centres and banning diesel are important for the health of the urban environment. Prioritising demotorisation and active travel is the way forward for the 21st century.

Nearly half of commuters in the UK live less than 5 miles from their work, an easy distance to cycle. These journeys must be made safe and inclusive to encourage as many people as possible to choose cycling as the healthy option. In the London outer boroughs, 66% of journeys under a mile are made by car.

We are doing something very wrong if it is easier/ more comfortable/cheaper for someone to take the car rather than cycle or walk under one mile.

Cars should never work out cheaper than public transport so taxing car use through fuel or road usage or road tax are all options and ploughing that back into public transport and active travel infrastructure. Residents parking permits need to be at least £1,000 per year (Southampton Central charges) to represent their cost to the public highway.

On long term private cars could potentially be banned everywhere in the UK
Currently most people are living in urban environments, but for those who live in rural areas it is far more difficult to ban private cars. Sharing taxis may provide a more flexible option than bus routes.

There may be long term solutions that can’t be conceived of yet, but if we do maintain some presence of private cars it needs to be done with respect for other road users and we believe presumed liability enshrined in UK law would be the most efficient way of ensuring that.

PLATFORMS AND PROJECTS A Monthly Car-Free Work-Day Planet is part of a wider global movement to go car free in city centres, this will this impact on climate change, direct and indirect
Fantastic global networks of Climate Action, Urban Thinkers, City Planners, Global bikers, Changemakers, Youth forums, Transport Think Thanks etc. 50+ Nations are developing car-free districts in urban areas.
Yes there is a worldwide movement to go car free in Cities that includes politicians and grass roots campaigners, From Al Gore to Richard Branson and even perhaps more unexpectedly Jeremy Clarkson who said ‘Get rid of your car, you don’t need it’ in a recent Sunday Times article. We have the connections to bridge the project and collect 2 million signatures together with organisational support.

This global city trends needs to be addressed with planetary coordination and best way force forward is to bridge incentive for behaviour change. We propose implementing a one year trial for a regular Car-free Day on a Workday worldwide;

Highlighting the third Wednesday of every month through the year as Planet´s Monthly Car-Free Work-Days, 20/5, 17/6, 15/7 etc.

HELP sign the petition here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Changemakers_MONTHLY_CARFREE_WORKDAY_NATIONWIDE

Carsgrey_blue-logo2

Transport and in particular private cars are one of the fastest growing contributors to CO2 emissions. Some predict that 1 billion cars today will rise to 2 billion by 2020. It is crucial and pressing that we curb this rise in car use as well as addressing other contributing factors. Cycling and walking are vital to transforming not just our cities but also our planet.

/Climate Change Centre reading (CCCRdg) supports R V Readhead, Goldsmiths College, U. of London 1996-98 Wants To Be Mayor of London And Ban Private Cars

ICEBIKE.ORG thanks

More information

7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free – http://www.fastcoexist.com/3040634/7-cities-that-are-starting-to-go-car-free

Paris Will Dramatically Reduce Car Traffic To Fight Air Pollution Emergency –   http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/22/3637317/paris-smog-car-ban/

TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD: THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/7891TRANSFORMING%20OUR%20WORLD.pdf

A Common Approach for developing SDG integrated indicators –  http://www.unep.org/post2015/Portals/50240/Common%20approach%20for%20developing%20SDG%20Integrated%20indicators.pdf

Study on car-free day
http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/globalassets/documents/raise/publications/2015/regdev/2215.pdf

 

Sharing and mixed use of a human caused economy – where we share as much as possible, from our whole infrastructure to jobs, this happens in the Anthropocene room between public space and cyberspace.

Togethernessship – All about inspiration and agreement, being truly inclusive and Safeguarding the future. The complex nature of our environment makes it hard to focus on preventing GreenHouse Gases, which are directly related to global warming. The downside of the problem is that everything is interlinked and needs to be backtracked http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backcasting, but we have the time scale which is rapidly shrinking, so an agreement at #COP21 in Paris, in December is probably a must.

 

Reading, United Kingdom, August 24, 2015:

TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD: THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

All, this might catch some interest, 31 July 2015 a magic deal on a magic date! #Climate21 +++

#FutureofPlaces #COP21 #Habitat3 #NewUrbanAgenda #PublicSpace #WUC #TheFutureWeWant #TheCityWeNeed #UrbanSDG #UrbanAction #UrbanThinkers #Youngplacemakers #ClimateAction

TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD: THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Planet We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations;
Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts* 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning 13.a Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible 13.b Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities * Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.

Vision 7. In these Goals and targets, we are setting out a supremely ambitious and transformational vision. We envisage a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all life can thrive. We envisage a world free of fear and violence. A world with universal literacy. A world with equitable and universal access to quality education at all levels, to health care and social protection, where physical, mental and social well-being are assured. A world where human rights relating to safe drinking water and sanitation are promoted and realised, with improved hygiene; and where food is sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious. A world where human habitats are safe, resilient and sustainable and where there is universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.

Read the final version of the Post-2015 Development Agenda here; https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/7891TRANSFORMING%20OUR%20WORLD.pdf

#InterGov2015 #post2015 #SDGs #unitednations

CCCRdg´s Issue Papers comments on Habitat III Issue Papers

The Habitat III Issue Papers are summary documents that address one or more research areas, highlight general findings, and identify research needs on topics related to housing and sustainable urban development.

The Issue Papers provides in depth review and analysis of specific issues relevant to the discussions of the Conference.

The Issue Papers are the departing point for the work of the Policy Units.

placemaking3The Issue Papers are prepared by the UN agencies and programmes (UN Task Team on Habitat III), as well as several experts and organizations related to the different topics.

The methodology of elaboration of the Issue Papers is in line with the elaboration of the compendium of issues briefs prepared by the United Nations inter-agency Technical Support Team for the United Nations General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.

The Issue Papers provide with a background on each area analyzed, key challenges and recommendations on next steps.

Please find below Climate Change Centre Reading´s (CCCRdg) Issue Papers comments on Habitat III Issue Papers pre PrepCom3 regarding – Issue papers;
1 – Inclusive cities (a.o. Pro Poor, Gender, Youth, Ageing)
6 – Urban Governance
8 – Urban and Spatial Planning and Design
11 – Public Space
17 – Cities and climate change and disaster risk management
21 – Transport and Mobility

1. Campaigning for secure urban public space and ambient air quality
YOUTH DISTRICT LEARNING (YDL) – WORLDS GREATEST PLACEMAKING PROJECT******
CCCRdg-Issue-Paper_Habitat-III-1-6-11-17-PrepCom3-Secure-Urban-Public-Space.pdf

2. Campaigning for public space and ambient air quality (Urban Action)
TRANSPORT AND CLIMATE CHANGE******
CCCRdg-Issues-Paper_Habitat-III-8-11-17-21-PrepCom3-Transport-and-climate-change.pdf

 

#FutureofPlaces #COP21 #Habitat3 #NewUrbanAgenda #PublicSpace #WUC #TheFutureWeWant #TheCityWeNeed #UrbanSDG #UrbanAction #UrbanThinkers #Youngplacemakers #ClimateAction

UN HABITAT3 – SDG 11. 7 PUBLIC SPACE GOALS AND CHALLENGES

Key Messages from the Future of Places:

1.     People-centered approach to planning

As an arena for public use and social interaction, public spaces are most often developed, managed and maintained by municipal government. If the municipal government adopts a people-centered approach to urban planning, they will more effectively achieve sustainable development. Emphasis needs to be placed on a shared responsibility between community and private entities with regard to the localized planning and maintenance of public space.

2.     Inclusive public space for all, particularly vulnerable groups

Attention needs to be given to vulnerable members of the population, including the elderly, the disabled, youth, and low income groups, to ensure their social and political inclusion in the allocation and design of public spaces. Public space has a responsibility to be flexible and open enough to serve a variety of users and uses, ranging from informal to formal settlements. Well-designed public spaces not only contribute to improve the visual and spatial character of a city, but also stimulate and enhance intergenerational, social and economic activities.

3.     Public space that respects human scale and behavior

All public space needs to be of a human scale and respond to a variety of functions and patterns of use based on an understanding of human behavior, health, needs, sensibilities and aspirations. Spaces are defined by their shape and the quality of their edges. Simple temporary and tactical interventions can test and promote more permanent changes.

4.     A citywide network of connected streets and public spaces

A holistic, evidence-based approach to the city is necessary with attention focused not only on the space itself, but its form, function and connectivity.  Streets should serve as multimodal networks of social and economic exchange, forming the urban framework of interconnected public space. Walkability, social interaction, multimodal mobility and accessibility should be supported by a fine-grained block and street network lined with buildings providing amenities and services with a mix of uses and sizes.

5.     Economic productivity of public space

Investing in public space can have powerful social, economic, cultural and health benefits. If people are committed to their future in a specific place, they invest more time and capital in that place, which has a positive impact on the local economy and creates a virtuous cycle of economic growth. Public space stimulates the small scale, local and informal economy, as well as generates tax revenue.

6.     Access to public space – public and private spheres

In many places there has been a reduction of urban public space, a lack of clear boundaries between the public and private spheres and diminished freedom of expression and movement. The market alone cannot always provide a variety of public and private open spaces. A more nuanced range that provides a variety of open places, including semi-public and semi-private space is needed.

7.     Sustainable public spaces that are healthy, safe, resilient, energy-conserving and resource efficient

Public space and the buildings that surround and define it need to be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. Social sustainability requires security, equity and justice; economic sustainability benefits from affordable capital and operating budgets; environmental sustainability addresses ecological and health issues. These include clean air, water and soil, green micro-climates and the mitigation and adaptation to the Urban Heat Island Effect and Climate Change. Effective use should be made of green technologies and systems. Architecture and urban design that is adaptable and appreciated is cared for and sustained for a longer time.

8.     Culture and context of public space

Public space is made unique through cultural and contextual elements that complement and enrich its identity. Spaces should be flexible and respond to the geography, climate, culture and heritage specific to its locality. Public arts can be an effective method for celebrating community identity and belonging in open spaces.

 

Action and Implementation:

There is a need for action and implementation mechanisms that support and protect public space and its users.

Advocacy and Mobilization
Raise awareness and create movements to mobilize stakeholders in the pursuit to build community. Promotion of discussions, forums, workshops, pop-up projects and public space prizes will further mobilize and increase awareness of and sense of belonging.

Measurement and Monitoring
Establish policy and frameworks at the national level for cities to allocate an appropriate percentage of the land to public space. An inventory of public space assets in a city will reveal the availability of public space typologies, allowing city-builders to address shortfalls and encourage a balance of public spaces throughout a city.

Public Space Financing Solutions
Examination of creative financing solutions such as public land acquisition, conversion of private space to public space or land value capture will be effective in producing greater amounts of economically sustainable public space.

Policies and Legislation for Public Space
Establish policies, legislation, and regulatory mechanisms for the provision, design, management and use of public spaces. Long-term structures, management mechanisms and partnerships at the national, regional and local level can align governments and other stakeholder’s interests. Open feedback and accountability mechanisms can ensure two-way discussions among stakeholders.

Empowerment of Marginalized Groups
Set in place processes for the inclusion of all ages, the vulnerable, and the disadvantaged. Establish a legal framework to ensure the inclusion of disadvantaged groups in public space discussion and processes. Special emphasis should be placed on job creation, livelihoods and quality of life for low-income groups.

Tools and Knowledge Management
Establish open-source knowledge management platforms with training workshops, capacity building, tools, best practices, model legislation, statistics, and methodologies for creating and managing public space. Empirical evidence-based research on the practice and theory of public space needs to be made widely available.

FoP Agenda Cover

Future of Places, Stockholm

1 July 2015

Rdg 2018 #TheCityWeNeed

Climate Change Centre Reading – CCCRdg strongly advise Reading Council to enroll the green process to become a sustainable place, get on-board the European Green Capital Award! More than 1000 grassroots organisations in Rdg would back the council in forming first non-dividend post-carbon economy net-borough. Every missed opportunity adding up to #climatechange. It is #TimetoAct.

Where’s Reading Heading #wrh Rdg CAN!

– Have a well-established record of achieving high environmental objectives.

– Commit to ambitious goals for future environmental improvement and sustainable development.

– Inspire other cities through new ideas, best practices and experiences.

LOGO CE_Vertical_EN_quadri

The Commission has launched the search for the 2018 European Green Capital. The award is given to a European city that has demonstrated a well-established record of achieving high environmental standards and is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for future sustainable development. Cities across Europe with more than 100,000 inhabitants are eligible to apply for the title. ‪#‎EUGreenWeek‬ Find out more here:http://ec.europa.eu/…/eur…/launch-of-the-2018-egc/index.html

Solving climate change is possible- but only if we believe it is | Notes from the Anthropocene

Over Christmas I had a interesting conversation that got me thinking. I was chatting with someone about climate change, and we agreed on a lot. They accepted the science, and understood that it spelt disaster for future generations. But we differed on one crucial point: whether we could actually do anything about it.

Climate catastrophe is inevitable, they said, because governments would not take meaningful action to cut carbon emissions. They ‘couldn’t see the point’ of the global climate marches in September, because politicians ‘wouldn’t listen’. It was ‘too late’ for us to do anything about it, because we’d just be ‘moving deckchairs on the Titanic.’

In my view, this is the most dangerous type of climate scepticism there is. The flat-earthers who question the science are becoming increasing irrelevant, and the ‘no-alternative to fossil fuel’ crowd are seeing their arguments weaken with every new solar panel or wind turbine installed. But what do you say to someone who acknowledges the problem but simply doesn’t believe in the solution?

I can think of three reasons why someone might believe that climate change is inevitable. Firstly, they might think we’ve already burned enough fossil fuels to lock in climate catastrophe. Secondly, they might believe the technical solutions are beyond us. And thirdly, they may believe that while we have the technical capacity to avoid climate change, we lack the political agency to force the issue onto the agenda. All three are wrong.

Let’s start with the idea that we’ve already emitted too much carbon. To force 2C of global warming, the internationally agreed (and heavily contested) limit for ’safe’ global temperature rise, we’d need to release approximately a trillion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. But if you look at how much carbon we’ve actually emitted, you find we’ve released 60% of this amount. At current emissions rates, assuming we don’t cross unpredictable tipping points beforehand, we won’t technically be ‘too late’ to avoid dangerous climate change until September 2039, when we’ll release the trillionth tonne of carbon. And if we cut emissions by about 2.6% a year, starting today, we’d never reach that limit at all.

What about the argument that while we can cut emissions in theory, we don’t have any viable alternatives? Well, the latest report from the IPCC looks at precisely this question, and concludes that a transformation to clean energy is not only possible, but can be achieved without any dip in living standards. This is important, because one of the barriers to people supporting climate action is the mistaken belief, propagated by climate deniers, that a sustainable world will mean giving up modern life.

The IPCC shows this to be the nonsense it is. The report found we could completely abandon fossil fuels by transitioning to a cleaner mix of solar, wind, hydropower, nuclear, and biofuels while improving energy efficiency. So a sustainable energy revolution is entirely possible, and what’s more, it wouldn’t even cost that much: the report found the necessary investment would trim just 0.06% off annual economic growth rates.

But this rosy scenario comes with comes with a big caveat. None of this will happen without a significant shift in political momentum, which brings us to the third cause for climate pessimism – the idea that, even if we accept we have both the time and the tools to transform the global energy system, our politicians will never make the commitments required.

After all, for governments working on five-year election cycles, tackling threat of climate change is a nightmare – the issue is remote in time and space, impersonal, requires unprecedented international cooperation, costs money, and delivers no immediate benefits to the electorate. When you add in the immense pressure exerted by the fossil fuel lobby to maintain the status quo, you begin to see how the single most pressing issue facing humankind has remained at the bottom of the political to-do list.

But it doesn’t have to stay there, because in the world’s growing number of democracies, politicians are bound by public opinion: they can only ignore us if we fail to build the critical mass required to turn tomorrow’s climate crisis into today’s political hot potato. If we accept that man-made climate change is the threat the science tells us it is, and that politicians aren’t doing enough to counter it, it follows that must ask ourselves a simple question: have we taken political action to bring us closer to a solution?

If everyone who believes that the British government isn’t doing enough on climate change (78% according to this poll) were able to answer yes to this question, the issue would be at the top of the political agenda. So we face a choice: we can stay locked in the learned helplessness of political disengagement, afraid that our voices won’t be heard, that our fears for the future do not count, and be proven right by our own apathy. Or we can get out there and start doing something.

Abraham Lincoln, a man with a better grasp of politics than most, once observed: “With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.” In other words, we’ll get the politics, and the future, we deserve. A better world only becomes possible when we believe it is.

Source: Solving climate change is possible- but only if we believe it is | Notes from the Anthropocene

Where’s Reading Heading?

In August 2014, Reading Museum secured a second round of funding from the Happy Museum Project.

Our new project, ‘Where’s Reading Heading?’ looks at the past, present and future development of Reading. It seeks to provoke debate about how Reading will sustain a growing population and build a successful low carbon economy whilst ‘Narrowing the Gaps’ between different sectors in our communities.

Current work being led by the University of Reading, Reading UK CIC and Barton Wilmore, through the Reading 2050 initiative, envisages a smart and sustainable future for Reading. This will involve communities coming together to influence how the town will evolve in the decades ahead.

To promote debate the Museum asked Russell Alsop of local production company Ginger & Pickles to make a short documentary film, drawing together the views and knowledge of a widespread group of Reading people. This has included school pupils, academics, local politicians, business people, ecologists, architects, and residents from our local neighbourhoods.

As part of the project, radio style interviews were conducted. Within them are many views and learnings from experts and active citizens which enabled the film-maker to shape the documentary. You can listen to these on the museum’s SoundCloud (follow the link at the bottom of the page).

We hope our ‘Where’s Reading Heading’ film may encourage you to get involved.

The organisations that took part in the film-making process include:

  • Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC)
  • Berkshire Local Nature Partnership (LNP)
  • Greater Reading Environmental Network (GREN)
  • Nature Nurture
  • Reading Climate Change Centre
  • Reading Sustainability Centre
  • Reading Voluntary Action (RVA)
  • The Walker Institute, Reading University

Each of these local organisations provides opportunities for Reading residents to become active in initiatives influencing Reading’s future environment. Click on the links below to go to their websites and find out more – the LNP and GREN sites also include directories of other local groups.

Source: Reading Museum • Where’s Reading Heading?

Climate Change: What Motivates Me to Take Action? | People’s Climate March

I’m an optimist from a long line of problem solvers, I was brought up with the mindset that there is no problem too big to fix so even if at first something seems overwhelming you might as well have a go at solving it. This is the case with climate change, the majority of people I know are aware of climate change but it seems like a distant problem and they feel like they can’t contribute enough to solving it so don’t do anything. So what motivates me?

The things which motivate me can be placed under two categories:  fear and hope.

FEAR

The fear category represents all the things that I as an individual don’t want to be destroyed by a failure of our species to act on this and other environmental issues. As an Ecologist I’m passionate about protecting the other species on this earth but also very aware of how much we depend on biodiversity to provide us with food, energy, materials for goods and services, space to feel free, buffer us from extreme weather events and turn our waste products back into clean water and nutrients which fertilise our soils. Biodiversity is key to providing these services as this helps maintain ecosystems which can react to changing conditions. However due to a combination of habitat loss and climate change impacts the forecasts for the health of the world’s ecosystems under the business as usual scenario aren’t great. If we don’t swiftly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions it is highly likely that 2/3 of vertebrate species alive today will be extinct be the end of this century. This translates into reduced crop yields, altered rainfall patterns, dead fisheries and broken ecosystems Many of the keystone species which help maintain the conditions for our civilisation to thrive will be gone and we’ll gain the title of the first ever species to have evolved on this earth to have knowingly caused a mass extinction and not done anything about it.

Of relevance to Britain is how the Amazon fuels the weather systems which provide our rainfall, currently the Amazon acts like a giant humidifier. Trees pump water vapour into the atmosphere via a process called transpiration. Much of this is recycled within the Amazon itself falling as rain or mist soon after being transpired by the trees but a hefty proportion of it is swept in our direction by the air currents associated with the gulf stream to provide much of our rainfall. IPCC models predict that if warming proceeds much beyond 3°C the Amazon rainforest will go dry and disappear in a very big puff of smoke, with it an important source of rainfall that is vital for agriculture throughout Europe.

I’m currently in my mid twenties and I’m very conscious that if unabated the impacts of climate change will be in full swing by the time I retire. I want to pass on a healthy world to future generations and I don’t fancy explaining to my niece and nephew why we failed to act. I recognise that this is no mean feat. To avoid dangerous climate change we need to leave 70-80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground and promote regeneration of the world’s forests to help sequester the carbon that is already in the atmosphere.

HOPE

Hope represents my vision for a more sustainable, zero carbon world. For the UK this means aiming to go zero carbon by 2035. Based on the 3000 people who showed up to the Edinburgh People’s climate march last September along with the millions who hit the streets globally this is a vision I know I share with many others. A zero carbon society means cities free of smog and traffic noise, a healthier more active population, well insulated warm homes, thriving communities empowered by the chance to take ownership of their own food and energy production reducing our dependence upon other nations for our energy needs and healthy ecosystems allowing wildlife to thrive while providing space for us to play and relax.

There are also glimmers of this society emerging: recently the Economist reported that 2014 was the first non-recession year in which global carbon dioxide emissions flat lined due to a move away from coal, the divest from fossil fuels movement is gaining momentum as large institutions such as the Rockerfeller group and Glasgow University move their money out of fossil fuels, countries and cities all over the globe are spawning a renewable energy revolution with Scotland on track to meet its target of 100% renewable electricity generation by 2020 and people are organising to drive change from the bottom up.

That said the risk still remains that governments and corporations with vested interests in an economy addicted to fossil fuels will stifle change. For example in the UK the recent discovery of vast quantities of oil in South East England represents a major decision we have to make about the kind of future we want to create, for many it represents a line in the sand that we simply should not cross as exploitation of this resource would lock us into oil dependency for more years than we can afford. Globally big oil companies like Shell are pushing further and further into hostile regions such as the arctic to access previously marginal oil reserves. An oil slick in this region would devastate the arctic ecosystem and seriously impact fish stocks relied upon by millions of people.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

I don’t have all the answers but together we do, this is no longer an issue of technology. We’re an intelligent species and already have the tools and technology to create the zero carbon society that so many people want it is simply an issue of will. The most powerful thing anyone can do is organise, link up with others in your community working on climate related issues whether it’s growing food locally, campaigning to pressure governments and companies to change their practices, creating renewable energy schemes, reducing waste or working to build sustainable homes. It is likely that someone in your community is already active in doing something and would love a helping hand.

Although 2015 is a big year as far as global climate negotiations are concerned and we should pressure the UNFCCC to deliver when it comes to the talks in Paris this December the track record over the previous 20 years makes it clear that we can no longer pin our hopes on the efforts of world leaders to take action for us. We need to take ownership of this issue and work together to make our own villages, towns and cities sustainable. In Edinburgh a new coalition has emerged in recent months under the banner of the people’s climate movement. We aim to provide a platform to unite and motivate all local groups, businesses and organisations acting on climate change to drive Edinburgh and surrounding communities zero carbon by 2035 and we are making progress.

SO WHERE CAN I START?

If you can make it to Edinburgh on Saturday May 23rd there will be a People’s Climate Assembly designed to inform inspire and equip attendees with the tools and knowledge to organise and act on the climate change issues that they are passionate about. For more information please contact peoplesclimateedinburgh@gmail.com.

If you can’t attend then a simple internet search will likely yield results, contact your local Friends of the Earth , Transition towns or Greenpeace group. They’ll likely have contacts and links to local projects you can get involved in from direct action to community energy projects you can invest in.

As I said at the start, I’m an optimist I am confident that we as a species have the potential to secure our future by preserving rather than trashing this little blue and green dot we call home. I’ve been inspired by the recent buzz around this issue. I’d much rather reach old age and tell stories to my Niece and Nephew about how we worked together to protect our environment for future generations than how we failed to act. If we allow ourselves to succumb to despair then we will fail but if we act and organise then we may just pull it off so let’s give it a go eh?

jethro-gauldJethro Gauld

MSc Ecosystem Services, BSc Ecology and Conservation

Leader of the Edinburgh RSPB Phoenix group for teenagers aged 11-16 interested in wildlife, GIS Technician for Scottish Water and active participant in the Edinburgh People’s Climate movement.

Source: Climate Change: What Motivates Me to Take Action? | People’s Climate March

Car-Free Days UK participation in the National Climate March, London 7th March

Why CCCRdg has launched a campaign for a national
“Monthly Car-Free Work-Day in the UK”.

Reflecting on BBC4´s “Climate Change and Numbers”, Climate Change Centre Reading (CCCRdg) has launched in Reading a campaign for a national “Monthly Car-Free Work-Day in the UK”;

Following the Deep Decarbonisation route set out for a successful climate agreement in Paris at COP21, CCCRdg hope the National Climate March, London on Saturday 7th will stake out actions necessary to divest from dirty energy that not only adds to already high greenhouse levels but also pollutes the air, our common realm, which directly and utterly affects our health. The right thing to do in order to comply with changing to zero carbon fuels is to slow down our “business as usual” (BAS) behaviour.

With a regular Car-Free Work-Day, can UK take a lead on behaviour change divesting away from fossil fuels? That is the question.

The People’s Climate March last September was huge. With around 40,000 people marching in London, 400,000 in New York and many thousands more taking part across the world, together we made history.

2015 needs to be even bigger. The climate talks in Paris this December are crucial if we’re going to protect all that we love. Our movement is growing, and we’re more diverse and determined than ever before.

With a regular Car-Free Work-Day, can UK take a lead on behaviour change divesting away from fossil fuels? That is the question.

CFDUK

Across the UK people are already building change – from divestment of funds which prop up the fossil fuel industry, to front-line communities fighting unsustainable energy extraction and fracking, through to those paving the way for a transition towards a 100% renewable energy future which would bring about an estimated one million new climate jobs in the UK alone. 

Meet the CAR-FREE WORK-DAY BLOC on the 7th March to make the link between climate change and switching to zero carbon fuels. Put the climate on the agenda ahead of the 2015 General Elections and the December 2015 Paris United Nations COP21 climate talks.

ATTEND THE CAR-FREE WORK-DAY BLOC RALLY OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT ON 7TH MARCH https://www.facebook.com/events/632679746859395/

How to fins us: The Car Free Days UK Bloc will be under the Protecting Our World theme (No.6) http://www.timetoact2015.org/#!blocs/c7hs Look out for the Orange flag to find the general area -then we’ll be there with the CAR FREE DAYS UK BANNER

Details

12.30pm, Saturday 7th March

Lincoln’s Inn Fields [map]

Nearest tube: Holborn

Join the facebook group here

Let´s work together to help achieve this, it will be an important step in solving and laying a just and fair developing pathway, switching to zero carbon fuels.

[A regular car-free work-day in Reading and UK could fuel an International monthly Car-Free Work-Day which could be an astonishing example of traffic development and public realm. Reading has great potential to embrace the sustainable pathway and become a British role-model in climate change (the air is our all urban common) to honour a successful climate change agreement taking place in Paris December 2015.]

And together let’s continue to power up and celebrate our movement – locally, nationally and internationally – throughout 2015, and beyond

Call for Stewards #TimetoAct2015

Ki Price
Ki Price

Call for Stewards

You might have heard of this big climate march we’ve been working on called Time To Act on 7 March.

It’s shaping up to be an exciting day, and as numbers are rising we’re all the more grateful for many more helping hands. This march is going to be owned by the people and made by the people, and to that end we we need a team of people that know how to look really, really good in fluorescent yellow. Naturally, you came to mind.

Please come and join me at a Steward Briefing on Wednesday 4 March at the Basil Jelicoe Community Centre (nearest tube Euston) from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

The address is Drummond Crescent, Greater London NW11

It will be an opportunity for us to break into teams with our Lead Stewards and to get an overview of how we’re going to work together on the day, and to answer any questions.

If you haven’t done so already please complete the Steward form so we know you’re up for it. You don’t need to have had masses of stewarding experience before, but you do need to know how to look good in fluorescent yellow. Please ask all your friends.

See you on the 4th, and thanks again!

The Time To Act volunteers team