Paying to talk about Climate Change!

Our local free village newsletter ‘Lenham Focus’ advertised (it wasn’t their meeting, they had been asked to promote it) a climate change meeting. Promoted as a way to get people together, discuss what needed to be done, who should do it in a sort of open form.

What a good idea, having a Climate Change meeting to get going on taking it both seriously and locally, get some relevant local ideas and look at how we can educate and pursuade people, let alone positive local action to reduce our carbon footprint. I picked up the booking form from the library, but there’s something not mentioned in March’s Focus, it seems that if we want to contribute to the debate we have to pay up front!

Now I am used to paying for business seminars – which this rather looks like, after all there is usually a business reason, whether it is to comply with up coming laws or perhaps a smarter way of making money. However getting the community involved in considering Climate Change and its local impacts is surely something else entirely and needs free and open community access. I must express concern that what will come out of this meeting is ideas, potentially based on the vested interests of those who are able and willing to pay to attend, not of the wider community. Of equal concern is that this meeting might well be treated as a ‘focus group’ by KCC, the outcome being promoted as a local view from local people. Which it won’t be!

The whole matter of climate change is far to important to restrict entry to such a meeting. If I took my family, that would be £137.50! Ah, your thinking, this isn’t a family event – I would disagree, surely climate change is and all of us need to be involved! Even leaving the teenagers at home that’s still £55 for me and my wife.

As to my position on climate change? I certainly accept that it is happening now and will be felt progressively more as the years go by. It is not something that will wait to happen to our yet to be born descendents. The recent energy and food price rises are just a foretaste of far worse to come and notwithstanding the recent cold winter (the Atlantic Decadenal is perhaps to blame), the world is heating up! Who remembers daffodils in April? Can you still reliably plan ahead for the next bluebell walk?

What can we do? What would I suggest were I to pay £137.50 to attend with my very interested family?

Lets kick off with local information, buy an Infra Red camera, perhaps a local councillor can find some funding, perhaps get Swadelands involved, then do a survey of the properties in Lenham showing heat loss, put the images online. This would then be a free resource to show people where their homes and businesses were losing heat. What it would also do is get people involved and talking which is an excellent start! Next step is put some resources into insulating and work towards reducing people’s fuel bills.

And for all those who might think they can’t afford to insulate, have a look at – www.warmfront.co.uk

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