Glimmers of hope … and action!

Dear Transitioners 

We hope that, after the initial shock, you are all settled into a new way of life in this strange new world.  Can we start by reiterating:  If you or a friend or neighbour needs help, be it for shopping, financial or health matters, please let us know – there is much help out there – but you have to ask!

And yes, after that initial shock, there is much going on that points in the direction of a better world for all.  We can be particularly proud of the way the Welsh Government is handling the crisis.  To deal with the effects of Covid-19, Sophie Howe, our Future Generations Commissioner, has called for urgent action to implement Universal Basic Income, a four-day week and a well-being economy – yes, invest in our people and future generations.  There will be no hand outs to companies registered in tax havens, and Wales remains in lock down.  Yay!

In Monmouth the Repair Café is posting repair workshops on their Facebook page, the stalwart Food Sense group is continuing under the most difficult of circumstances to distribute surplus food to 94 households and nine groups, Green Spaces has a range of activities – see their Facebook page – they are looking for volunteers to monitor/audit our green spaces – and we continue with work to improve our natural environment.  With this we need help! – in particular:-

  • We need top soil, even the old soil from your planters
  • We have bark chippings but they are in the wrong place – transport needed
  • We have a surfeit of clover – great for your compost heaps – we need it removed – we can cut but it would be really helpful if you cut your own – tools available but we are short of gloves
  • We need gardening help

This is all good outdoor activity that can be undertaken in isolation.  Offers of help please to me – or phone 01600 715065.

We can also be proud of Monmouthshire County Council.  We are working with them to put together a recovery plan that embeds sustainability and carbon reduction.  First off we are working on temporary measures (which might become permanent) to improve sustainable transport, sustain social distancing and encourage active travel (walking and cycling).  The focus is on low cost / high impact imaginative measures.  Please send your ideas, pictures or links to things you’ve seen elsewhere and that you think could work here to by 4 June.  Other measures under development for long term changed behaviours include:-

  • Home working and video conferencing to reduce commuting and business travel
  • Habitual walking and cycling as part of daily exercise and to reduce pollution
  • Greater connection with nature and wildlife in your garden and the wider environment – good for wildlife, mental health and exercise
  • Reduced mowing of verges and green spaces to benefit pollinators and reduce fuel use
  • Support for our local independent shops
  • Cooking from scratch and reducing domestic food waste
  • Re-use facilities and Repair Cafés for surplus/broken toys, food, tools, electrical items, furniture etc
  • Home composting
  • Support community activities

These measures have all been brought to the fore by Covid-19 which is described by Alan Rusbridger as “a dress rehearsal for Climate Change”.  We now need to work to get these measures implemented – so, all hands to the deck with your ideas, reports of what you have put in place or how you have changed the way you do things, and any offers of help please to  I will pass them on to Bryan Miller, Claudia Blair and Charles Emes, our representatives with MCC for this vital work.

And, on 3 June, there will be a virtual discussion session of the MCC Climate Change Champions group addressing some of these issues.  Please let me know if you would like to participate and nearer the time I will send you the link.

“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste” and other articles are listed below for your leisure reading.  Keep well, keep safe, keep optimistic, keep doing things.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Vivien Mitchell

Stuff for reading:-

Why don’t we treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as coronavirus? – Owen Jones writing in the Guardian over two months ago –

Is coronavirus the end of everything or the start of something new? – Richard Deverell, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew –

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste –

Inconvenient truths:  The psychology of coronavirus and the climate crisis – will the politicians act? –

The public want a radical response to climate change with the same urgency as coronavirus – Opinium poll 16 April – 48% of the public want this –

This poll (17 April 2020) shows that the British people are increasingly aware that the health of people and planet are inseparable and it’s time for radical environmental, social, political and economic change –

Let us not forget how we got into this mess:  38 Days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster –

Coronavirus recovery plan ‘must tackle climate change’ – Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst –

Covid-19 is an unmissable chance to put people and the planet first –

Restoring the Economy is the Last Thing We Should Want:  The sooner we open up the economy, the faster we simply recreate what got us into this mess.  It’s time for a radical shift –

The following bibliography was supplied by Hazel Clatworthy.  It includes some of the articles used by the County Council in formulating their response plan:-

Governance and decision making:-

Transport, Walking and Cycling:-

Air Quality:-