Thursday, 25 September 2014

Lancaster Climate Picnic calls for 100% fossil fuel-free energy




Lancastrians enjoyed a very pleasant picnic in Market Square last Sunday - and called for action on Climate Change at the same time.

Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated worldwide last Sunday to demand that world leaders take positive steps to combat climate change. But not everyone can get away to these events and so a group of recent school-leavers and pupils from Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale decided to take some action closer to home and organised a People's Climate Picnic in the heart of Lancaster City Centre.

The purpose of the picnic was to draw attention to the fact that the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon has assembled 100 world leaders in New York this week to discuss the increasingly urgent need to tackle climate change.

Research by NASA over the last 10 years has shown that the melting of the polar icecaps is releasing high levels of methane causing a feedback loop intensifying the raise in global temperature and the melt-rate.

Mirte, Rosie, Harriet, Mollie, Evie and Julia originally got together on a campaign to promote solar energy use in schools. They support the Avaaz 100% clean fuel campaign which is asking the UN to set early targets for a worldwide end to using carbon-emitting fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas and to focus on developing and encouraging sustainable energy production.

The group had an excellent banner made by a neighbourly local printer (in exchange for babysitting!). They also received help with food for the picnic from local market traders, namely the Market Square fruit and veg stall, the Yummy Cupcake Co and the artisan bread stall. They set up a stall serving free soft drinks and cakes, with  rugs with lots of very delicious cakes and sandwiches out on the Square Stage for picnickers to help themselves too.

A couple of hundred local people came to join the picnic and sign the Avaaz petition calling the world leaders to make the move towards 100% clean energy. Also, they brought cake too. I have to say, the cake situation was outstanding. And the group organised recycling for any rubbish too. Young people today? Impressive.

One person who would disagree is Prime Minister David Cameron, who is strongly resisting moves to tackle climate change on all fronts. This week he declared his opposition to the setting of EU targets to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. He also restated his aim to cut through regulations ("green tape") protecting the environment and public health to allow the fracking industry to drill for further 'extreme' fossil fuels in the UK without the safeguards that apply to other industrial processes.

David Cameron says his concern is that action to combat climate change could harm economic growth.  He has made it clear that while he is in power the UK will not cooperate with international efforts at tackling this problem, despite the large scale catastrophic devastation it will certainly bring. In this he also speaks for the oil and gas companies that financially support his party and for the numerous oil company executives and shareholders who are members of his government.



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