Climate Emergency declaration 55 – 0 at St Albans District Council

St Albans District Council have declared a Climate Emergency with all party agreement voting 55 votes to 0 in favour.

Sustainable St Albans and St Albans Friends of the Earth jointly organised the 1700 strong petition, which was distributed during the 2019 Sustainability Festival, also organised by the two groups.

Members of Sustainable St Albans, and St Albans Friends of the Earth, joined environmental groups and supporters outside the council offices before the council debate. Groups included Extinction Rebellion St Albans, St Albans Labour Party, and St Albans Green Party.

Catherine Ross, chair of the 2019 Sustainabilty Festival and trustee of Sustainable St Albans presented the petition along with Mimi Spiliopoulou,  a 17 year old member of Extinction Rebellion St Albans.

Catherine Ross said:

“It is a brilliant result – and so positive that there was cross-party agreement in favour of declaring the Climate Emergency in our district. I just want to thank all of the residents, councillors and officers who helped to make this happen – and to say that Sustainable St Albans will help in any way we can as the council goes forward in developing an action plan. Now the work begins.”

Catherine and Mimi presenting the petition at the council

 120 1st tier councils across the UK have declared a Climate Emergency. 70 of these, like St Albans District Council, have set a target date of 2030 to go carbon neutral. For information on other councils see https://climateemergency.uk/

Single Use Plastic Ban

On the same evening the council also agreed a motion put forward by Cllr Mary Maynard to ban the use of single use plastic in Council offices and work towards banning its use in facilities licensed by the Council and at events on Council property or supported by the council. This follows the setting up of a new Plastic Free Harpenden group, which joins Plastic Free St Albans in calling for a reduction in the use of single use plastic across the district.

Gail Jackson, trustee of Sustainable St Albans which partners Plastic Free St Albans said

“This was a remarkable, and historic night for the district with two major motions supporting environmental sustainability. Over 5,000 people took part in the events during the fourth Sustainabilty Festival and these concerned residents must now feel that their voices have been heard.”

 Christelle Garcia from Plastic Free St Albans said

“It’s fantastic that the council is supporting the reduction of single use plastics in such a practical way that should see quite an impact in the district. Local businesses have already been very pro-active on this issue and this motion will provide a huge boost to the movement to remove these unnecessary plastics from our everyday lives.”

Sustainable St Albans will be following the council’s progress closely and we will keep you all up to date!

Facebook: @sustainablestalbans

Twitter: @sustainablesta

What makes our city sustainable?

Place is such an important factor in identity. When you meet someone, your first question is most likely ‘Where are you from?’ The pride that may (or may not) come from the answer given is what I work to foster in St Albans. As #SustFest19 will tell you, sustainability is not just about reduce/reuse/recycle. While important, elements around community cohesion, mental wellbeing and business viability all contribute to a city’s sustainability.


Gin & Jazz 2018 Stephanie Belton (3)

Credit: Stephanie Belton 2018

Today’s blog is written by Helen Burridge, Business Manager of St Albans Bid – which is sponsoring the #SustFest19 St Albans Market Takeover on Sunday 19th May.


St Albans businesses care deeply about the viability of this city. The economic confidence of the community, the visitors, the employees and the residents will translate into economic prosperity for its businesses. Three years ago, the businesses in St Albans voted to become a Business Improvement District, paying a small contribution into a pot that collectively makes a significant contributor to events, public realm, safety and marketing of the City. The BID can also help to represent those businesses in various discussions with the public and private sectors on a local, regional and national level.

As the BID Manager of St Albans BID it’s my job to make sure that the investment made by the BID Members makes the city a great place to live, work and do business, both now and in the future, and of course a large part of that work then becomes looking at ways to make the city more sustainable, in the many and various ways that that covers.

clown

While I will acknowledge the ongoing wailing and gnashing of teeth about the ‘death of the high street’ in fact, there is an argument to say that this change in retail is actually the death throes of consumerism itself. A change from ‘want/have’ economics to ‘need/consider’ economics: the desperate and hysterical consumption of the 80s and 90s now looks decidedly distasteful and is being replaced by a borrow/reuse/packaging free/fewer-better kind of purchasing.

TimeTurn 2018 Credit Stephanie Belton (42)

Credit: Stephanie Belton

St Albans as a City is well placed to survive this change in consumer behaviour. The self-selecting curation of our retail businesses (you will find an audience if your product is good) is continuing to be demonstrated by reliable, quality local (and national) brands weathering the current climate and providing confident, good-news stories about customer experience, quality product and curated taste-making. On the internet, endless choice is overwhelming. In St Albans you will find a quality offer, selected by informed businesses, helping you to make reasoned decisions about where you shop, where you eat and where you socialise.

small bid logo picture - 19.12.2017In the wider community there are many and various entrepreneurial and disruptive businesses considering these changes in consumer behaviour and working to appeal to a considered and engaged local population. Can you eat vegan or vegetarian? Can you buy locally grown or locally made products? Can you go plastic-free, or packaging-free? Can you travel in a way that is more kind to the environment while still being relevant to what you need to get through your day? There are so many options and it can be overwhelming to know where to start to live a more sustainable life.

With this in mind, St Albans BID is delighted to sponsor the St Albans Market Takeover on Sunday 19 May. Bringing together like-minded businesses to prevent the many and various ways that small interventions by individuals can make a collective difference will help to show that actually these changes are not that insurmountable.

St Albans BID supports the Market Takeover because it’s the right thing to do, but also because the day will be fun, engaging, illuminating and most importantly, it will encourage and support enough individuals to make small changes that will, collectively make a large impact. Just like BID. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Market

Making the case for angel investment in the Green Economy

Imagine the world in 10, maybe 20 years time. What will it look like? If we are to believe the conclusion of COP 24 in Katowice at the end of last year, and the publication of the IPCC Report shortly before it, the natural world is now irrevocably committed to the warming trend.

We are urgently in need of transformative science and the technology that can change the inevitability of this trend within the next 10 years. Our problem is that these technologies have not been invented – yet. The need is visible, the solutions are not – yet.

That ‘yet’ is the case for angel investment in the Green Economy.


Today’s blog is from Nick Lyth, Founder of Green Angel Syndicate, a Silver Sponsor of the 2019 Sustainability Festival. If you’re interested, book to come along to their #SustFest19 event at Lussmanns St Albans on Thursday 23rd May


Intervening in the Green Economy

Humans have always intervened in the Green Economy to modify, accelerate, improve, divert and harvest the resources nature has presented to us, so that we can make more of them. But we have never before tried to change the direction of nature’s travel.

We have diverted rivers, built dams, formed mill-streams, created fish stocks, we have built huge agrarian developments for the growing of crops, we have fenced off land, deforested regions. And so we have surrendered parts of the world, like the Nile Valley, as it grew hotter, allowed other parts of the world, like the US, to become free of the huge stocks of bison as the human population took over. We have made no attempt to preserve the cold regions of our planet.

So what is the technology that we need now to reverse the warming trend and create a world that will effectively support a population well in excess of 8 billion, and quite probably closer to 10 billion?

We need transformative technologies, capable of deep change, quickly.

Technology in action

Rovco photoSolutions are being worked on. This is one of the most active areas of innovation certainly in western development and possibly in global development. Inventors and innovators are turning their attention to the problem. This is where the smart money is going and the pace of innovation is increasing in proportion to the perceived rewards of success.

The challenge is to find the right investments to make, and that is where Green Angel Syndicate can help.

Green Angel Syndicate

We are an angel syndicate making early stage investments in the development of the technologies we need. We aim to select those which are destined for success long before such success is necessarily obvious, but the need is so great that success or failure will happen quickly. We concentrate on those sectors which will have the greatest influence – energy, food, water, transport.

Green Angel Syndicate is the only angel syndicate in the UK specialising in this way, which makes it unique, and uniquely-well equipped to judge what will succeed and what won’t.

A flavour of where we invest

The Green Angel Syndicate portfolio companies are diverse in both scale and sector. A full list is on our website at https://greenangelsyndicate.com/portfolio. Here are some examples:

Entomics

Entomics photoEntomics develops targeted value-added engineering and biological tools for optimising the insect-based bioconversion of low value waste feedstocks – such as food waste and manure – into high value agricultural products like chicken and fish feed.

Swytch

Swytch photoAn easy-fit conversion kit that can turn any bike into an eBike at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new electric bike.

Piclo

Piclo Flex is the independent marketplace for buying and selling smart grid flexibility services. The platform takes the proven model of running flexibility auctions and supercharges it with the latest web design and matching algorithms.

Spinetic

Spinetic’s radical ultra-low-cost energy harvesting panel technology will replicate in wind the success of solar PV at community scale.

SustFest dinner

Green Angel Syndicate are delighted to be supporting the Sustainable St Albans Festival from 11th May to 1st June 2019.

We are hosting a dinner at Lussmanns St Albans for any high net worth investor who may be interested in angel investing in the green economy. More details, and booking, are available at https://greenangelsyndicate.com/events

Do come and see how your investment and your involvement can make a substantial impact for companies developing the technologies we need to combat climate change.