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.

Read the minutes and council motion agreed here

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

I dare you to care: a Climate Emergency in St Albans

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you the Earth is getting warmer. The news has already told you that. You don’t need me to tell you that fossil fuels are bad, and renewables are good. You know that.  And you definitely don’t need me to tell you that, without change, we’re heading directly for extinction. But maybe what you don’t know is why should you care.


Today’s blog is written by Anna  Hardisty  age 20 years – university student at Warwick , and St Albans resident.


A Critical Junction

The Earth is at a critical junction. Imagine you booked yourself in for a driving test, nine months in advance. Now imagine that it’s almost two weeks before the test and you haven’t even stepped foot in a car. You’ve got your theory test tomorrow but that’s as far as you’ve got. I think it’s fair to say the appropriate response involves a fair amount of panic. And probably frantic searching for an intensive two-week course. This is the Earth’s current dilemma. The generations before us have spent the last 70 years ignoring the problem they were creating.  The consequence is a ticking time bomb with an expected explosion date of eleven years from now. Unlike a driving test, this can’t be rescheduled, and the ramifications are unbelievably more severe.


Ed note: The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. UN Report on Climate Change

The UK is currently failing to reach its target of reducing its carbon emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The Committee on Climate Change has just recommended the UK aims to be carbon neutral by 2050


Climate Refugees

By 2050 the World Bank predicts that 140 million people are likely to be climate refugees. That’s 140 million mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, babies, grandmas, grandpas, friends, neighbours, husbands, wives, doctors, soldiers, bankers, bakers, engineers, teachers, classmates, lawyers, and scientists displaced directly by global warming. They are unable to live in their homes and are forced to seek shelter and help; this would be an unprecedented refugee crisis. To give you some perspective, that’s equivalent to the whole of Russia becoming homeless. Or three UKs. Or half of the USA. The UN estimates 13.5 million were displaced by the crisis in Syria. Cast your minds back to a few years ago to the panic created by the refugee crisis then and multiply it by ten. 2050 is catastrophically too late

Let’s create a sustainable future for our world

The  Climate Emergency Petition calls for carbon neutrality for St Albans District Council by 2030.*  Eleven years sounds like a long time but in the grand scheme of things, it’s equivalent to that two-week intensive driving course you were panickily googling for earlier. Ambitious but not out of reach. We’re calling on the St Albans Council to act and use their power to make decisions that will benefit us and all those that follow. It’s time to do what the generations before us failed to do- create a sustainable future for our world.

And the truth is, it is change or have our lives changed for us. I’m twenty years old and, by current UK statistics, have another sixty years or so left on this planet. I want to have the freedoms my parents did. I want to pick a house not based solely on its likelihood of flooding. I want my children to grow up not in constant fear of famine, wildfire or war over resources. I want to be able to watch ‘Bananas in Pyjamas and ‘Happy Feet’ with the kids I babysit, without them thinking the casts are mythical creatures.

“Are we being good ancestors?”

This is a question posed to us by Jonas Salk, pioneer of the first polio vaccination. It’s not a question that crosses your mind often, if at all, as we’re understandably preoccupied with the demands of the here and now. But our future depends on keeping that question in mind constantly- when we’re choosing how to travel, what we buy at the supermarket, and who we vote for.

Sign the Climate Emergency Petition

So, sign the petition. Tell your friends. Tell your parents. Get them to sign it. Sustainable St Albans has a great list of events where you can learn about the difference you can make.

And the next time you hear about the greenhouse effect, the next time you see yet another hurricane on the news, the next time you see MPs shy away from the subject, I dare you to care. 

Anna Hardisty


*Editor note: Net zero by 2030 should be achievable for a district council with no airport or shipping in its patch, and no major imports to tackle

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.