Local press and media

Readers are invited to send in scanned or photographed images of articles in the Gloucestershire press.

Stroud News and Journal, 24 Oct 2018

 

 

 

 

Stroud News and Journal, 10 Oct 2018, p. 30, Letter from Cllr Nigel Moor (GCC) in reply to ‘Fossil fuels’ (below)

 

Stroud News and Journal, 26 September 2018, p. 30, Letter: Fossil fuels

In a week when the Secretary-General of the United Nations has called fossil fuels “an existential threat”, Gloucestershire County Council has recently failed to appoint a cabinet member for climate change, and some elected members do not appear to accept that climate change is happening.

This is a huge failure of leadership, and illustrates what a mountain we still have to climb both in Gloucestershire and more generally, if we are to avert this existential danger and create a better future.

Vaughan Webber
Dr Richard House
Fred Miller
Hugh Richards
Richard Maisey

GlosCAN Steering Committee

 

 

Stroud News, 20 Sep: We must commit to tackling climate change, says MP David Drew

@DavidEDrew Member of Parliament for Stroud

 – Climate Change is the biggest issue facing our future, which is why I didn’t hesitate to add my name to a letter to the Prime Minister calling on her to step up our action to tackle it.

I’m one of 132 MPs who signed a letter sent to Theresa May last week, calling for the UK to commit to ending Britain’s contribution to climate change before 2050 and enshrine this in law within the lifetime of this Parliament.

Our letter, part of a campaign by The Climate Coalition, highlighted the many benefits of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The letter states that; “setting ourselves the goal of net zero emissions will put us at the forefront of the race for investment in clean industries, creating jobs all around the UK and inspiring the next generation”.

‘Net zero’ means greenhouse gas emissions will be cut to as close to zero as possible, and any remaining emissions will be soaked up from the atmosphere by, for example, planting more trees which absorb carbon dioxide as they grow.

An ambitious, yet achievable, target will drive investment in clean industries, create jobs around the UK and inspire the next generation.

It would put us at the forefront of a movement which is gaining ground around the world.

France, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and New Zealand have all now set zero net targets with dates between 2030 and 2050.

It would also cut energy bills, improve the efficiency of our homes and businesses, give us cleaner air, and help to restore our countryside from forests to peatlands.

A greener Britain with cleaner air, is possible, and we must step up our action.

https://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/16891237.we-must-commit-to-tackling-climate-change-says-mp-david-drew/

 

Western Daily Press, 20 Sep. Call for zero-carbon county by 2030 – by Fred Miller

Letter to WDP 20 Sep 2018

 

Planet’s future should come before balance – Stroud and Gloucester Citizen, 13 September 2018, p. 18

Along with three other Gloucestershire Climate Action Network (GlosCAN) supporters – Stroud MP Dr David Drew and South West MEPs Dr Molly Scott Cato and Clare Moody – I signed the letter appearing in the Guardian newspaper from 60 writers, politicians and academics, titled “Climate change is real; we must not offer credibility to those who deny it”.

Signed by Sir Jonathon Porritt, MPs Caroline Lucas and Clive Lewis, journalists George Monbiot and Bea Campbell and 15 professors, we argue against including those who deny the reality of climate change in media discussions about it.

Allegiance to politically correct “editorial balance” is entirely misplaced.

We must stop “creating the impression that climate denial should be taken seriously by lending credence to its proponents, by entertaining [their] ideas that lack any basis in fact”.

Reputable research evidence and the Precautionary Principle should hold sway.

I signed the letter because of the unprecedented crisis that global warming portends, and the extraordinary level of cultural and political denial that exists about the magnitude of this fast-approaching catastrophe.

We’re not prepared to indulge in paying lip-service to “editorial balance” when our planet is fast going down the tubes – and far more quickly than many want to acknowledge.

The letter has clearly struck a raw nerve. People are at long last waking up to the stark reality of man-made climate change, and are increasingly prepared to support drastic measures to address it.

We’re at a momentous moment in human history – and the key question is whether humankind, individually and collectively, possesses the wisdom and ingenuity to head off the climate-change calamity, and start to adopt post-narcissistic life-styles and consumption patterns that treat our planet with the care and stewardship that are essential, if we’re not all to disappear down a man-made evolutionary vortex.

For on that scenario, over-precious debates about “editorial balance” will be akin to re-arranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic.

Dr Richard House, GlosCAN Steering Group member, Stroud, Gloucestershire

‘Balance’ on climate change is misplaced – Western Daily Press, 1 September 2018, p. 26 

Along with three other Gloucestershire Climate Action Network (GlosCAN) supporters – Stroud MP Dr David Drew and South West MEPs Dr Molly Scott Cato and Clare Moody, I recently signed the letter appearing in the Guardian newspaper from 60 writers, politicians and academics, titled “Climate change is real; we must not offer credibility to those who deny it”.

Signed by Sir Jonathon Porritt, MPs Caroline Lucas and Clive Lewis, journalists George Monbiot and Bea Campbell and 15 professors, we argue against including those who deny the reality of climate change in media discussions about it.

Such allegiance to politically correct “editorial balance” is entirely misplaced. We must stop “creating the impression that climate denial should be taken seriously by lending credence to its proponents, by entertaining [their] ideas that lack any basis in fact”. Rather, reputable research evidence and the Precautionary Principle should hold sway.

I signed the letter because of the unprecedented crisis that global warming portends, and the extraordinary level of cultural and political denial that exists about the magnitude of this fast-approaching catastrophe for planet Earth. In short, we’re not prepared to indulge in paying lip-service to “editorial balance” when our planet is fast going down the tubes – and far more quickly than pretty much anyone wants to acknowledge, least of all the media commentariat.

The letter has clearly struck a raw nerve. People are at long last waking up to the stark reality of man-made climate change, and are increasingly prepared to support drastic measures to address it.

We’re at a momentous moment in human history – and the key question is whether humankind, individually and collectively, possesses the wisdom and ingenuity to head off the climate-change calamity, and start to adopt post-narcissistic life-styles and consumption patterns that treat our planet with the care and stewardship that are essential, if we’re not all to disappear down a man-made evolutionary vortex. For on that scenario, over-precious debates about “editorial balance” will be akin to re-arranging the deck-chairs on The Titanic.

Dr Richard House, GlosCAN Steering Group member, Stroud, Gloucestershire

 

 

Gloucestershire could be about to appoint a councillor specially to address climate change, 23 Aug

– It will be discussed next month
https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/gloucester-news/gloucestershire-could-appoint-councillor-specially-1930016

 

Progress on climate change is too slow – Stroud MP David Drew in Stroud News, 4th July 2018

David Drew’s regular column in the Stroud News and Journal on 4 July 2018 was dedicated solely to climate change, following a briefing from the Chair of the Committee on Climate Change. David is (so far) the only MP to sign up as a Supporter of GlosCAN. He has also recently signed up to a cross-party letter to the Prime Minister calling on the Government to set a target for the UK to achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases, although, as his article notes, the UK is not on track to meet its current target to reduce emissions by 80% between 1990 and 2050.

Read or save a copy of the article here: D Drew in SNJ 4 Jul 18

 

Julie Girling MEP press release 28 June 2018: Aviation emissions

– Emissions reduction aspirations may have been badly weakened by the recent ICAO agreement
http://www.juliegirling.com/emissions-reduction-aspirations-may-have-been-badly-weakened-by-the-recent-icao-agreement/

 

 

With spoons delivered, Sid ends hunger strike, Stroud News, 19th June

http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/16300724.With_spoons_delivered__Sid_ends_hunger_strike/

 

28th March, Letter: SNJ (Stroud News). Food policy – RE David Drew’s opinion piece ‘Brexit’s profound effect on food policy’.

Politics and policy are having to move in ways that could not have been expected before 2016, and agriculture and the countryside are no exception.

The Government’s Command Paper ‘Health and harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit’ is complex and wide-ranging.

Our MP, as Shadow Farming and Rural Affairs Minister, is right to challenge some of the big changes to the system. In other words, the shift in funding support to land owners according to the environmental ‘public good’ that they provide.

It is worth noting that a ‘public good’ is one that is non-excludable, non-rival and jointly supplied.

A stable climate is one example of a pure public good.

If it is the case that the concentration of policy will be focusing on addressing climate change head-on in terms of mitigation, then the report is to be welcomed.

Nevertheless, the report focuses on enhancing the environment for a wide range of other reasons, which are not entirely about providing a ‘public good’.

However, in terms of Stroud’s agrarian landscape it is worth noting the campaigns and efforts that have taken place in the local context. The food provisioning among the farmers in the district has historically changed significantly.

Ten years ago in 2008 a district report was published called ‘Food Availability in Stroud District’.

The aim was to address the already well-known food vulnerabilities within the district. Following that, in 2012 a ‘Food Strategy’ group was formed to encourage more local food related initiatives.

More recently a report ‘A Food and Horticultural Belt’ worked on ways to initiate farming and food provisioning based on county and district policy actions.

The key arguments in these three examples of local response match precisely with what our MP is arguing.

How do we continue to support and encourage the local, small-scale farmers and food providers?

The national focus is partly neglecting the local food focus but these existing initiatives within Stroud should be recognised more openly.

Dr Nick James

Cainscross

 

Western Daily Press, 19 March 2018, p. 16,  Letter: Farming for a healthier future

As we leave the EU, there is currently a discussion unfolding about how Brexit will affect farming and land use, and that perhaps this is an opportunity to improve the way that we manage land and grow food.

Michael Gove, the Conservative environment minister, has given indications that he is interested in widening the scope of what we want to see from the country’s land.

This could mean paying land-owners for public goods such as wildlife, flood prevention or climate change mitigation.

As a member of Gloucestershire Climate Action Network (GlosCAN), with many others in the region I will be attending a conference to be held on 29 March, at the University of Gloucestershire, called ‘Growing the Future – innovative approaches to food, farming and the environment’.

As well as making farming in the UK sustainable, we should also look at the impacts of our whole food system, since we import 42 per cent of our food. This has implications for rainforests, climate and people across the globe.

If we had a more local food supply system, with more plant protein and innovations such as agroforestry, we could address some of the deleterious impacts on wildlife and climate that we are causing.

We also need plans to get to a carbon neutral economy by 2030. One way of doing this is outlined in the Zero Carbon Britain Report produced by the centre for alternative technology. It proposes that we should have less grassland for livestock, and use some of this land for energy crops, such as willow.

Yes, there are huge challenges ahead, but we can create a healthier food system which is better for us, the planet and local wildlife; and hence adds to a varied and productive local landscape.

Fred Miller

by email

Stroud News, 14 March – Forest Green Rovers scoop sustainability in sport award

http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/16086098.Forest_Green_Rovers_scoop_sustainability_in_sport_award/

Stroud News, Jan 2018, MP David Drew’s New Year Message

Gloucestershire Citizen, October 2017. Letter – the Big Shift campaign on savings, by Noel Sharp

Working for Christian Aid I get to hear and tell a lot of stories about individuals from around the world. I hear how Alivio Aruquipa has been affected by changing water supply from the Andean glaciers in Bolivia. I hear how Selina Begum has been affected by groundwater being salinized up to 100km inland in Bangladesh. I hear how Monica Kilindi in east Kenya used to survive on crops from a small plot of land, but the rains have dried up. All these real individuals and their families are being affected by climate change. Those who have contributed least to the rise in global temperatures are often those most affected.

At Christian Aid we do our best to be climate-wise, to help people adapt, and we’re doing a fine job, but as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases the task becomes impossible. We need to deal with the issue at its source and stop investing in fossil fuel industries. The high street banks are still using savers’ money to support fossil fuel companies, even though governments, scientists and even the banks themselves are in agreement that we need to move away from coal, oil and gas to protect our planet.

In the Big Shift Campaign, local campaigners from around the country are visiting banks to urge them to stop using the public’s hard-earned savings to support polluting fossil fuel companies. They are presenting messages from the community explaining why the bank needs to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Fossil fuels are increasingly a financial risk too. As governments and markets around the world act to reduce carbon emissions, the value of fossil fuel companies could decrease rapidly. The fossil fuel divestment movement has already mobilised $5 trillion away from oil, coal and gas developments. With a shift in policies and investment decisions, the high street banks could provide the capital needed to invest in the energy systems we need for the future instead of damaging the planet.

I want the money in my bank and in my pension fund (such as it is!) to be put to beneficial use. It is not unreasonable. I expect you do too. I want to be part of the Big Shift for all our sakes, but critically for the sake of people at the raw end, like Alivio, Selina and Monica.

Noel Sharp

Regional Co-ordinator for Christian Aid in Gloucestershire

 

Stroud News, 14 Aug 2017

Break Use of Fossil Fuels

Letter_BreakUseofFossilFuels_SNJ_14Aug17

Swansea tidal lagoon

Letter Stop Dithering SNJ 14Aug17

Gloucester Citizen, July 2017

Nuclear power

View in pdf format: nuclear power

nuclear-power-001

 

 

Gloucester Citizen, 20 July 2017

Tidal lagoon power

View in pdf format – tidal lagoon

tidal-lagoon2

Gloucester Citizen, July 2017

Tenth anniversary of the floods in Gloucestershire

Heavy rainfall events are expected to occur more under climate change and may have played a part in the Gloucestershire floods.

flood thanks gloucestershire-001Stroud News and Journal, 3 May 2017

Reader’s Letter: Reduce carbon

Letter SNJ 3 May 2017 Reduce carbon

 

 

Stroud News and Journal, 24 March 2017

Reader’s Letter:  Excellent effort noted

The Archway, Paganhill, Stroud

 JUST reading Rachel Beckett’s latest jottings in ‘An Alternative View’ (March 8, 2017), I was struck by just how much excellent effort is already being applied in Stroud.
Nevertheless, looking carefully at the history of slavery, it was my understanding that the Archway in Paganhill is representative of the specific political struggle that went on in this area. According to Stroud’s Preservation Trust, they built it in 1834 as a grand entrance to a mansion owned by Henry Wyatt, a wealthy local businessman associated with the Stroud Anti-Slavery Society.
Switching to the present and deliberations on windfarms and local heroes, it is also worthwhile mentioning the excellent actions by SDC including insulating homes and the recycling of food waste, as well as the enterprising approaches by Ecotricity to promote renewable energy, and the much smaller but nevertheless important campaigning work by groups like Transition Stroud and Gloscan.org. My appeal, In trying to imagine a good future for Stroud is to look beyond individual heroes and try to find a workable nexus that ties together the actions by civil society organisations, the private sector and the local authorities.
The deep concern about climate change began in earnest way back in the 1980s, if not before. It’s now a generation later that. There is a need to move on from awareness-raising efforts to unashamed action, across the board.
Dr Nick James
Cainscross

 

 

Stroud News and Journal, 11 March 2017

Reader’s Letter: We all need to be leaders of effort to fight climate change before it’s too late

SNJ columnist Rachel Beckett argued that anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce can inspire us to solve complex modern day problems.

William Wilberforce

Picture by kind permission of the master and fellows of St John’s College, Cambridge

THERE is much truth in Rachel Beckett’s Opinion page article on the importance of climate change (page 48 SNJ, March 8).

Yes, we are at the point where human induced carbonisation has reached a level where its damaging effects include melting ice caps, warming oceans, turbulent weather patterns and a decline in many wild life species.

To put some figures on this – according to NASA land based ice is diminishing at 216 billion tons per year; the world’s oceans are acidifying as they absorb two billion tons of carbon dioxide; the world has seen 10 of the warmest years ever over the last 12 years – producing drought, flash floods and severe weather partly due to world temperature rising 1. 7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880.

These are extraordinary very concerning figures and we need to take even more action than we currently are.

Rachel identifies that “when things aren’t right a hero” such as William Wilberforce the slavery reformer is needed.

I would go further – we need all in our community to do what they can, in the circumstances they are in to make their contribution.

Transition Stroud – “Inspiring action for a more sustainable future” is there to help and support individuals and groups – and where necessary provide the skills and funding to develop community initiatives addressing climate change.

Let me give some examples.

Transition Stroud is working in partnership with the Quakers to develop a “Transition Streets initiative” to work with small groups to look at each individual’s carbon footprint – and how it might be reduced; or the repair café we run to reduce landfill by fixing things.

Or addressing the issue of plastic – learning what the devastating effects are and how we can reduce our use of plastic – see Stroud’s Living Without Plastic blog pfree.co.uk A friend said “for me climate change is the only issue in that it affects all others”.

All of us need to be leaders to do what we can.

Transition Stroud can help provide a framework of support and disseminate positive initiatives.

Do join us – admin@transitionstroud.org

Erik Wilkinson

Voluntary director at Transition Stroud

 

Stroud News and Journal, 8 March 2017

An alternative view with Rachel Beckett: Looking at past heroes can help us plan a better future

Rachel Beckett
Rachel Beckett

 

Columnist Rachel Beckett is a Stroud-based writer and thinker who is concerned about making the world a better place.

An author, publisher and mother, Rachel will be sharing her thoughts with readers every month.
BY GEORGE, it’s time to think differently!

I have recently been reading the diary of the novelist and wit Fanny Burney. It reveals fascinating details about the late 18th century – a time beloved by all writers of period costume dramas.

Among other colourful details and anecdotes, Fanny gives an intimate insight into the character of George III, who seems to have been good humoured and rather likeable, though living in an age of inequality and crazy protocols.

I was amused at George’s remark that reading Shakespeare could be heavy going “only one must not say so”, because “it’s Shakespeare, and nobody dare abuse him”.

He wouldn’t have made it as a professor of literature, that’s for sure! But what’s interesting is that he was questioning accepted assumptions – a useful, and at times alienating, thing to do. Perhaps this hints at why he went mad in later life.

At precisely this time, the newly fledged industrial revolution was in full swing. It had already initiated a thickening in the blanket of atmospheric carbon around the Earth. This has inexorably continued to a level unprecedented over millions of years.

Flagged up by scientists for over a century, human-induced carbonisation has now reached a level where its damaging effects include melting ice caps, warming oceans, turbulent weather patterns and the decline of many wildlife species.

Yet there is a prevalent assumption, fed to us through entertainment, advertising and the media, that business as usual must continue at any price.

Consumerism has become another inalienable national institution. But unlike Shakespeare, it does little for our cultural and spiritual welfare.

When things aren’t right we need a hero, and again I think of an 18th-century figure, the slavery reformer William Wilberforce.

Atmospheric carbonisation has been likened to a modern equivalent of slavery – it has arisen for complex reasons and is hard to solve because of vested interests and cultural norms.

Wilberforce strove to bring about a seismic shift in thinking, but it took him decades – slavery was finally abolished in 1833, just days before his death.

Our ailing climate has been under discussion for decades too. The time is ripe for a serious push to set our industry and economy on a different course.

This doesn’t necessarily mean more wind farms. We could push for a regulation to fit all new-build houses with photovoltaic panels. Everyone’s ideas and values are important and we must all play a part.

Today’s local heroes can help us. For example, Stroud-based Polly Higgins has set up the Eradicating Ecocide campaign, pushing for legislation to ensure corporations work within a framework of environmental respect.

And our current Prince of Wales, like his ancestor George III, dares to question received norms – but with rather more focus. His Ladybird book Climate Change, written with Tony Juniper and Emily Shuckburgh, is a modest but most useful guide.

Perhaps the perfect springboard for planning a personal response to this problem, it is, I am told, an excellent read – and much easier than Shakespeare.