Councils across the South East of England are being urged to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’, after a ground-breaking meeting in Horsham on Saturday 2nd February.  Held to mark World S.O.S. Climate Emergency Day, the meeting brought together for the first time environmental groups from 11 towns from Surrey, and East and West Sussex. Over 126 people aged from 10 to 80 were present. The venue had to be changed three times to accommodate the surge of interest, and took place finally in Horsham’s Unitarian Church.

The two-hour meeting was organised by Carrie Cort the founder of Sussex Green Living and Nicola Peel an environmental speaker and solutionist. It enabled the groups to learn what climate action is taking place across the region, share ideas and discuss how they could collaborate to increase climate action. Speakers included Nicola who gave a keynote speech on the need for urgent action, three 10 year old Horsham children who gave excellent speeches on behalf of children and young people. Followed by brief presentations by representatives from Sussex Green Living, Transition groups, Steyning 10:10, Worthing Climate Action Network, volunteers from many Repair Cafes, newly formed Extinction Rebellion and Climate Emergency Groups. Also in attendance were five Climate Reality Leaders, people trained by Al Gore the former US Vice President and leading climate change scientists.

Geoff Barnard from Steyning 10:10, one of the speakers, said “All around the UK, towns and councils are waking up to the need to accelerate climate action, and are acknowledging this publicly by declaring a climate emergency. We want our local councils in the South East to follow suit”. Towns and cities that have declared a climate emergency include London, Frome, Machynlleth, Brighton and Hove, Forest of Dean, Scarborough, Oxford, Trafford, NottinghamTotnes, Stroud, Lancaster, Cornwall, Leicester, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Manchester and Sheffield, and more are joining the list every week. 

Carrie Cort said “Scientist around the world are ringing alarm bells and it is falling on deaf ears.  We are told we are the last generation which can do something about it. We have 11 years to reduce carbon emissions;  if we don’t the World will experience runaway and irreversible climate change”. She closed by saying “My son will be only 22 in 11 years.  So I will fight for climate justice, for him and future generations around the world”.

The unanimous decision of the group was to unite and work together to demand our own towns and county council declare climate emergency and accelerate their climate action. To enable a co-ordinated approach and greater collaboration the South East Climate Alliance was formed. Initially working with environmental groups and residents in Surrey, East and West Sussex the aim is to invite groups from Kent and Hampshire to join forces in future.

Nicola closed by saying “We have now united over 126 climate communicators and campaigners, we are not only going to ride this tide of change but we have a tsunami on our hands”.

Press release, issued on 13 February 2019

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