PRESS RELEASE: Glastonbury Declares Climate Emergency.
by Dr Richard Tabor.
Published in the Central Somerset Gazette on Thursday, 28th February 2019.
In a rare moment of consensus ten of eleven Glastonbury Town Council members attending a meeting depleted by illness on Tuesday 12th February voted to pass a motion declaring a Climate Emergency put forward by two former mayors. Only Conservative representative and County Councillor Terry Napper abstained as other members from all parties voted in favour.
Green Party councillor Jon Cousins spoke to the motion which was supported by his colleague, Emma George. Citing the dire consequences of a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming’s 2018 special report on Climate Change the council’s ambitious Climate Emergency committed Glastonbury to:
“1) Continue to show foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of Climate Change, having adopted an Environmental Charter, opposed fracking in the Mendips and throughout the UK, installed solar panels on the Town Hall roof, and banned single use plastics;
2) pledge to make the operation of Glastonbury Town Council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.”
After reading out the motion Councillor Cousins spoke of the “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”, reminding his colleagues that Climate Change is a serious issue effecting everyone. He noted that Town Councillors as representatives of the community needed to take action because seemingly insignificant every-day actions, such as discarding a plastic bag, can have far reaching consequences as demonstrated by the vast amount of plastic waste floating in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
He went on to say that the decisions we make now as individuals, as communities and as a nation will be judged by our children and grandchildren who will have to deal with the consequences. In calling for the motion to be adopted he concluded that the council had a duty to future generations to be on the ‘right side of history’. He received eloquent support from Councillor Emma George who explained that other Councils across the UK had already passed similar motions and had pledged to make their towns carbon neutral by 2030. Only Councillor Napper was unwilling to support the motion as he felt that the word ‘pledge’ was too strong. The passing of the vote was received with huge cheer from an uncharacteristically full public gallery.