In 2019 the UN Secretary-General stated:
“it is abundantly clear that climate disruption is happening now and everywhere.”
And in 2020, WWF reported that
“our planet’s wildlife populations have now plummeted by 68% since 1970.”
In 2019, Glastonbury Town Council declared a climate emergency, and pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030. The next year, the UK was the first country to pass laws to make sure that the country reaches net zero by 2050. This will mean big changes to the way we live. At the same time, our daily lives have been completely disrupted by a virus, as the damage to nature and other difficulties caused by climate change come closer to our door.
This time offers us a new chance to change how we live and work. We can choose to do whatever we can with wisdom, and with kindness for each other, and for nature.
What Glastonbury Town Council is doing
When we looked at the greenhouse gases that Glastonbury Town Council produces, we found that what we do causes roughly 46 tonnes (46,000kg) of carbon dioxide to be released each year. Switching to a renewable electricity supplier has saved 11 tonnes. But the 35 tonnes will be much more difficult. We are starting this work in five areas:
- Cut out waste – (Always the first step) Finding ways to use less energy, fuel, materials and water. And to create less waste. GTC has started with an assessment of our carbon dioxide emissions (see CER report), identifying where we can cut waste.We have already saved water by improving toilets and using 5000 litres of rainwater storage for watering plants.
- Switch to renewable energy – Switching to electric heating, vehicles, and equipment, so that we can use renewable energy to power them. GTC has switched to 100% renewable energy supplier.
- Support nature – Protecting and restoring forests, peatlands, wetlands, soils, water, and other natural systems. GTC has planted hedges in Herbies field, plus trees there and around the town centre. We have also made our planting areas Glyphosate free zones, by introducing a new weed control system.
- Share – Telling people about what works, supporting community groups, buying local, switching to ethical suppliers and banks, pushing government for support. This website is the first step in GTC’s aim to share experience and expertise to the wider community, and support community groups.
- Prepare for the changes ahead – Plan ways to protect the town from flooding, storms and other impacts. Support community groups, and individuals, to cope with coming changes. The town Investment Plan offers many opportunities for this work. By planning renovations of buildings and services, GTC is protecting them from future climate impacts. By improving communications and support, we aim to help people to prepare for the changes ahead.
- Climate Emergency & Resilience Report
2021-04-28 Climate Emergency Report
- CER Presentation
2021-04-28 Climate Emergency Report presentation slides
- Glastonbury Charter for the Environment
What the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC) is doing
Following Glastonbury Town Council’s declaration of Climate Emergency, a group of town councillors and individuals first met in July 2019 to discuss and support local projects that help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, protect the environment, and create a more climate resilient community. These include:
- Open Day and People’s Assembly.
- Support for the Towns Deal ‘Town Investment Plan’ bid.
- Town Centre Refurbishments.
- Appointment of Climate Emergency & Resilience Officer.
- Supporting the development of Glastonbury Community Fridge.
- Links with Friends of the Earth, Extinction Rebellion, the Conservation Society, environmental and community groups, food growers, businesses.
- Local group activities: traffic slowing, tree planting, rewilding verges, volunteer litter-picking, and cycle-path clearing.
- CEAC Report Apr 2021
CEAC Report Apr 2021
What you can do
However small you start, you can help to build a better future for everyone, protecting and restoring nature. Maybe you want to start by measuring and cutting your carbon footprint, or you might want to save money, protect nature or help others. Here are some things to you may want to try:
- Cut out waste – (Make this your first step) Look at where you are using most energy, and start by considering where you can cut out any waste. A good place to start is your bills: gas, electricity, water, vehicle fuel. Then have a look at your spending on other things, food, clothing, furniture. By using less, you can make a big difference fast, and save money too.
- Switch to renewable energy – If you are able, and if it doesn’t cost you more, there are some switches you can consider when it’s time to chose: 100% renewable electricity supplier, solar panels on your roof, investment in a community-owned renewable electricity installation, electric heating, car and equipment.
- Support nature – If you have a garden, stop cutting the grass, plant trees and flowers, and create habitats and ponds that will support wildlife. Ask government to protect forests, peatlands, wetlands, soils, water, and other natural systems.
- Share – Join one of the many activities working with the Glastonbury’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, or start you own. Talk with your friends, family and neighbours about what interests you. Use your buying power – ask how things are made and where they come from. Put pressure on Government.
- Prepare for the changes ahead – Check that you home is protected from flood and storm, and that it is cool and ventilated as the summers get warmer. Connect with your neighbours and community groups. If you’re concerned about the changes ahead, that’s normal and natural. Acknowledge your concerns, talk with people you trust, and learn what helps.
Links to some useful websites.
Carbon and ecological footprint calculators
- How big is your environmental footprint? – https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/#/
- How many planets do we need if everyone lives like you? – https://www.footprintcalculator.org
- Simple Carbon footprint calculator – https://www.carbonindependent.org
- Laura’s Larder, exploring the impacts of our diets on greenhouse gas emissions and health – https://cat.org.uk/lauras-larder
Local groups and resources
This list of local resources is an excellent place to start. It was put together by members of ‘Changing Times’, a local group set up as a response to the growing global crisis. – https://www.glastoncentre.org/local-resources.html
- More links
- Inspiration – films and stories
- Funding and grants
- More detailed guidance on various topics: Home, transport, food, etc.
- Tell us what you feel about what we’re doing.
- Tell us what you need.
- Share with us something that inspires you.
- Share any ideas that might be helpful for others.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org