Monmouth Climate Emergency – come + join in the action!

Dear Transitioners

Monmouth Climate Emergency:  Community Consultation
Thursday 6 June, 7pm to 9pm at Bridges Community Centre

Following the declaration of a Climate Emergency by Monmouth Town Council last month, there is to be a consultation on:-

  • How the Council can achieve the goal of being carbon neutral by 2030 within its own activities
  • Inform, promote, support, encourage + resource the local community to implement actions to achieve this goal
  • Promote + campaign for action + legislation at all levels of government – locally, nationally + beyond – to achieve this goal

Much to do!  This is a great opportunity for us to participate, + hopefully to get others participating in the projects that we already have in hand.  Please come!  So that we have an idea of the numbers to expect perhaps you could email Dee Lovering at clerk@monmouth.gov.uk or phone 01600 715662.  The invitation has gone out to as many groups as we could think of – farmers, schools, WIs, churches etc but if there is a local group or person that you think might be interested, please pass on this information.  We want to attract as much local energy + expertise as possible!

Mobilising action on the Climate Emergency + the Biodiversity Emergency will clearly be our focus in the coming months.

In the interim, here’s some other stuff for your diaries:-

Grosmont Summer Market:  Saturday 8 June, 10 till 2 – loads of stalls – food, clothes, plants, Little Green Refills for household + toiletry products (bring your containers to get them refilled), flowers, etc etc

Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 11 June, 7.30 till 9pm at the Robin Hood – action on the Climate Emergency will be on the agenda but we also want to arrange Discussion Evenings + other events

Repair Café Clothes Mend:  Sunday 16 June, 10 till 1 at the Rockfield Community Centre, Cornwallis Way, Monmouth NP25 5DN – learn how to mend your clothes, patch + darn, crochet a scrubby – helpers + sewing machines on hand.  Queries or further details from plasticfreemonmouth@gmail.com

Facing Difficult Truths:  Adapting our Culture to the New Climate Reality:  Saturday 22 June, 2 till 5, at Horfield Quaker Meeting, 300 Gloucester Road, Bristol BS7 8PD:  A Conversation + Exploration on survival, love + hope – a collaboration between the Green House think tank + the Climate Psychology Alliance – free of charge (donations welcome) but you must book through Eventbrite – further details at https://www.climatepsychologyalliance.org

Claypatch Woods Working (+ playing) Party:  Sunday 7 July, 10 till 12

And the Local Produce Markets:-
Usk – 1st + 3rd Saturdays – 10 till 1
Abergavenny – 4th Thursday – 9.30 to 2.30

We hope to see you soon!
Vivien Mitchell

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All systems go on the Climate Emergency – at last!

Dear Transitioners 

It’s all go on the Climate Emergency front, at last!  On 7 May, the Environmental Affairs Committee of Monmouth Town Council declared a Climate Emergency, + then on May 16, a similar motion was carried unanimously by Monmouthshire County Council.  Well done to all who worked so hard to achieve this!

But what we need now is action!  We heard at the Town Council meeting from three Indy Councillors who had attended a Climate Emergency Summit at CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology) of the Machynlleth experience where they started by calling a public meeting.  This was very well attended + resulted in the formation of 12 Theme Groups, each tasked with developing possible actions.  Yes, this sounds good.  We need as many people involved as possible + we need to tap into all the considerable local knowledge + expertise that we collectively have.

Monmouth Town Council formed a small Working Group from those present at the Environmental Affairs meeting.  Membership + attendance at the Working Group meetings is currently restricted to those few initial members.  Their first meeting is at 6.30 pm on Wednesday 22 May in the Punch House.

We don’t yet know how the County Council plans to proceed but we need to keep up the pressure for action.  One way you can do this is to support the Youth Strike next Friday, 24 May – assemble at 9 am in St Mary’s Churchyard but stewarding help is needed – please let us know if you are up for it or just come to the Churchyard at 9am prompt, wearing high viz if you have some.  The route + procedure will be explained to you then.  There will be an opportunity for children/young people to make a speech outside the Shire Hall.

Now for some stuff for your diaries:-

MTC Working Group on the Climate Emergency:  Wednesday 22 May, 6.30 in the Punch House

Stories of Rebellion:  Thursday 23 May, 6.30 to 9pm at the Abergavenny Community Centre, Park Street:  Hear all about the Fortnight of Rebellion from those who were there, + bring food to share

Youth Strike:  Friday 24 May:  Assemble at 9 o’clock at St Mary’s Churchyard – more details above – bring high viz if you have some even if you don’t wish to steward

Wyesham Community Woodland – Claypatch:  Sunday 26 May, 10 till 12:  Working party to prepare for the Big Lunch on 2 June

Family Picnic – a festival to get to know the Laurie Jones Community Orchard in Abergavenny:  Thursday 30 May, 10.30 onwards – pond dipping, story telling, learn about wildflowers, birds + bugs – bring a picnic, something to sit on + yourselves!

Wyesham Community Woodland – Claypatch Big Lunch:  Sunday 2 June, 12 till 3 – bring food to share + have fun with the country games!

Nature Isn’t Neat:  Tuesday 4 June, 5.30 in the King’s Head – more on the Action Plan

Grosmont Summer Market:  Saturday 8 June, 10 till 2 – loads of stalls – food, clothes, plants, flowers, etc etc

Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 11 June, 7.30 till 9pm at the Robin Hood – undoubtedly the Climate Emergency will be on the agenda but we also want to arrange Discussion Evenings + other events

Repair Café Clothes Mend:  Sunday 16 June, 10 till 1 at the Rockfield Community Centre

And the Local Produce Markets:-
Usk – 1st + 3rd Saturdays – 10 till 1
Abergavenny – 4th Thursday – 9.30 to 2.30

We hope to see you soon!
Vivien Mitchell

Drastic times, drastic measures …

Dear Transitioners 

We were busy last week.  Together with XR Abergavenny + three brave children (aged 13, 11 + 10) we presented on the Climate Emergency at a seminar for our County Councillors (only 12 attended, none from Monmouth) + Senior Officers (a good turnout).  There is hope for action.  Then on Friday there was the international Youth Strike + we are proud of the pupils from Monmouth Comprehensive School who organised the excellent Monmouth event.  Over 300 children marched through town, made speeches in Agincourt Square, protested at the petrol station + made a great peaceful impact.  The next Monmouth Youth Strike will be on Friday 24 May starting at 9 o’clock from St Mary’s Churchyard.  Please come + support.

As I write we are into Day 4 of the international fortnight of rebellion – thousands rebelling in London with 400 arrests to date at major gatherings on Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus + Parliament Square.  But it’s all over the world.  XR Scotland has taken North Bridge in Edinburgh, Dutch rebels have occupied the International Criminal Court in The Hague.  A slew of further actions span the continents.  We must keep up the momentum.  It only takes 3.5% of us being visible + vocal to make the radical changes that we need – see https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/15/rebellion-prevent-ecological-apocalypse-civil-disobedience

Yes, it’s drastic times, + drastic times need drastic measures to ensure the radical changes needed to save us from extinction.  It has started to happen with Councils throughout the world committing to decarbonisation, the financial institutions – Bank of England, Banque de France, Legal + General – issuing demands for climate change action, + the Climate Emergency making headline news (at last!).  It’s a start but we have to keep up the pressure.  Please join in – see https://xrebellion.org/ for what is happening where.  If you want to join our local affinity group at Oxford Circus contact phannay@toucansurf.com.

Another thing we can all do is help nature on its way.  A new group, Natural Climate Solutions, provides hopeful reading:-

“A recent estimate suggests that around one third of the greenhouse gas mitigation required between now and 2030 can be provided by carbon drawdown through Natural Climate Solutions. Natural Climate Solutions, roughly speaking, mean ecological restoration. Yet they have so far attracted only 2.5% of mitigation funding, and far too little political attention.

Given that they have major advantages over alternative negative emissions strategies and can also deliver wide ecological and social benefits, we call for a great increase in the attention and spending devoted to Natural Climate Solutions, as part of a massively enhanced global effort to prevent both climate breakdown and ecological collapse.”

See https://www.naturalclimate.solutions/ + https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/03/let-nature-heal-climate-and-biodiversity-crises-say-campaigners + get planting (pollinator friendly of course!), stop cutting your lawns, tell us of green spaces on common land near you that we can rewild, or let us know if you would like to join in with our tree planting, wildflower meadow creation etc.

Then there’s the novel idea of using our legs to walk + cycle instead of jumping into our cars + causing further unnecessary destruction.  The Active Travel Group in Monmouth is working on making our legs more enticing than our cars by developing walking + cycling routes.  Please let us know if you would like to be involved.

One last thing:  Nature Isn’t Neat is a pollinator project that is being trialed in Monmouth.  Our role is to promote the outcomes, but there is a work plan that includes engagement with the schools + the public.  Please email vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk if you would like to participate.

Now for some stuff for your diaries:-

EV Open Day:  Saturday 20 April, 10 till 4 at Bridges Community Centre, Monmouth – see some of the latest electric vehicles on the market – maybe even get a free ride in one! – learn about solar, batter storage, community projects near you.  Free entry

The Big Swap:  Saturday 27 April, 10 till 12 at Rockfield Community Centre, Cornwallis Way, Monmouth NP25 5DN:  We will have our usual Swap Shop for plants + seeds, but we will also be swapping clothes, books, toys, small household items etc.  Tools for Self Reliance Cymru will also be there with their refurbished tools.  Refreshments available, children’s playground nearby + also the new Community Garden.  We still need more help on day, please email karin@chandler.wales if you are available, even for just an hour.

Plastic Free Monmouth:  Tuesday 30 April, 7.30 at the Robin Hood:  We have our Plastic Free status as defined by the Surfers Against Sewage criteria, but this is where the creative work begins.  Come with your ideas + get involved!

Spring Greens Environmental Fair:  Saturday/Sunday 4/5 May at Court of Noke – stalls, exhibitions, local foods, music + more.  The Round Table will host discussion + debate on the Climate Emergency, the role of Extinction Rebellion + the Youth Strikes.  Go + have a lovely day out, or two! – further information at https://springgreens.org.uk + on Facebook

What do we want to have in the Local Development Plan? – Tuesday 7 May, 7.30 to 9pm at the Robin Hood:  Discussion led by Haydn Cullen-Jones.  At the initial call for submissions we submitted six sites emanating from RECS – our flood prevention project.  But there is much more to consider – housing, transport, our high streets, local businesses, jobs etc – all within the context of the Climate Emergency + the Well-Being of Future Generations Act.  Come + have your say, or just come + listen 

Wyesham Community Woodland – Claypatch:  Sunday 12 May, 10 till 12:  Working party + activities for children + hot drinks if you bring a mug – further details on the Wyesham Community Woodland Facebook page

Members’ Business Meeting:  Tuesday 14 May, 7.30 to 9pm at the Robin Hood – project updates, plans, our new leaflet + housestyle

Pollinator Gardens Open Day:  Saturday 18 May – further details from Bees for Development

Monmouth Bee Festival:  Sunday 19 May, 10 till 4 in the Nelson Garden – see https://www.monbeefest.cyrene.co.uk/ for further details.  We will have stalls for both Transition Monmouth + Plastic Free Monmouth but need help, please!  Email vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk if you can hold the fort for us, even if for only half an hour

Youth Strike:  Friday 24 May:  Assemble at 9 o’clock at St Mary’s Churchyard – more details nearer the time 

Wyesham Community Woodland – Claypatch:  Sunday 26 May, 10 till 12:  Working party to prepare for the Big Lunch on 2 June

And the Local Produce Markets:-
Usk – 1st + 3rd Saturdays – 10 till 1
Abergavenny – 4th Thursday – 9.30 to 2.30

We hope to see you soon!
Vivien Mitchell

Climate Ready Gwent – the next WORKSHOP

Dear Transitioners

Vision the effects of climate change on Monmouth, + influence the policy makers

Climate Ready Gwent:  Workshop Number 2
Thursday 21 March, 6pm to 9pm at the Shire Hall, Monmouth

At the first workshop last week we had a very lively evening, albeit on the most sobering of subjects, + we identified:-

  • The key risks to Monmouth from the various climate change impacts such as flooding, droughts, rising temperatures + extreme heat events
  • Ways in which the community perceive risk to the townscape, landscape, economy, service + residents
  • The community’s ideas for adaptive action + how we see ourselves contributing + working with relevant agencies

Next week we will take the outputs of this session + share our ideas with agencies – the County Council, Natural Resources Wales, the Fire Service, Gwent Police, Health Board, Gwent Wildlife Trust + others – who will be instrumental in managing the consequences of climate impacts on the town.  We will share information on:-

  • What the risks are
  • What is already being done to plan for climate risk
  • What else needs to be done
  • The role of the community in building resilience

The aim is to develop specific actions + an ongoing process for work on climate adaption.

This second workshop will again be taken by consultants Dr Alan Netherwood + Dafydd Thomas – well, why not? – they did a grand job last week!  They have extensive experience in working on climate risk + adaptation with government, local authorities, agencies + communities.  We are confident they will give us another stimulating evening that will result in a range of key findings + actions for the agencies + for our community that will yield positive outcomes for the coming decades + Future Generations.

Outcomes of the first workshop will be available early next week.  Please email mail@transitionmonmouth.org for a copy + to let us know if you would like to attend on the 21st.

Vivien Mitchell

Onwards + upwards ….

Dear Transitioners

A hectic January was followed by an equally hectic February culminating in a great party celebrating Plastic Free Monmouth achieving plastic free status (as defined by the Surfers Against Sewage criteria).  But, this is where the creative work begins – if you would like to join in or have an idea you would like to take forward, please contact us via the Plastic Free Monmouth Facebook page or email plasticfreemonmouth@gmail.com

We think it would be rather wonderful to have a plastic free shop in town (as well as at Square Farm), have all the fish + chip shops + fast food outlets use only paper packaging, promote Plastic Free with a display on Saturdays in Agincourt Square, do more outreach with the schools etc.  Yes, please come + join us!

Our main effort however is the Climate Emergency.  We are very proud of some of our younger members who attended the School Strike in Cardiff last month.  In the meantime, the oldies are progressing, slowly but thoroughly, working with the County Council to enable them to pass a Climate Emergency Motion while understanding the implications of such a commitment.  This was further discussed at a meeting of the Senior Leadership Team (Chief Executive + Chief Officers) last week – details at the end of this newsletter – + will be followed by a Seminar on 9 April for Councillors, Senior Officers + community groups together with experts on climate change + decarbonisation.  Please let us know if you would like to attend.  Further details will be posted on our various Facebook pages when available.

Much to do!  Here are a load of dates for the coming weeks:-

XR Celebratory Event:  Saturday 9 March:  A gathering of XR Affinity Group in Wales:  Cardiff – see Abergavenny XR Discussions on Facebook for details

Members’ Business Meeting:  Tuesday 12 March, 7.30 to 9pm at the Robin Hood – our Incredible Edible Herb Garden, project updates + plans

In Our Hands:  Wednesday 13 March, 7.15 at the Abergavenny Community Centrethe story of farmers who refuse to be victims of history as they bring back the worm to the soil, the ‘culture’ to ‘agriculture’ + flavour to the tomato, followed by discussion

Community Orchard Picnic + Tidy Up:  Noon on Saturday 16 March at the Community Orchard on Two River Meadow (access along the tarmac road that runs from the Old Monnow Bridge along the Monnow) to help prune, tidy, remove tree guards, whatever – children welcome – bring a picnic, wear suitable clothing + footwear, bring gardening gloves + secateurs, pruning saws, + hope for fine weather!

What do we want to have in the Local Development Plan? – Tuesday 19 March, 7.30 to 9pm at the Robin Hood:  Discussion led by Haydn Cullen-Jones.  At the initial call for submissions we submitted six sites emanating from RECS – our flood prevention project.  But there is much more to consider – housing, transport, our high streets, local businesses, jobs etc – all within the context of the Climate Emergency + the Well-Being of Future Generations Act.  Come + have your say, or just come + listen

XR Discussion on Climate Change:  Wednesday 20 March:  Particularly aimed at those new to XR but also for anyone with questions + concerns for the future.  Further details will be posted on Abergavenny XR Discussions on Facebook or contact robsproc@hotmail.com

Climate Ready Gwent:  Visioning Monmouth in 2040 – + what we can do to mitigate the problems of climate change:  Thursday 21 March, 6pm to 9pm.  This is a session primarily for the agencies, including Monmouth Town Council.  Numbers limited so please reserve your place with mail@transitionmonmouth.org;  light refreshments will be served

Community Engagement Event:  Wednesday 27 March, 4.30 to 8pm at Monmouth Comprehensive School:  We will have separate displays for Transition Monmouth, Plastic Free Monmouth, Wyesham Community Woodland, + maybe others.  Please let us know if you can help on the stalls – it’s a lot of time to cover – + don’t worry if you feel you don’t know enough.  What is needed is a friendly face to take details of interest to pass on as appropriate

Wyesham Community Woodland – Claypatch:  Sunday 7 April, 10 till 12:  Working party + activities for children + hot drinks if you bring a mug – further details on the Wyesham Community Woodland Facebook page

Climate Emergency Seminar:  Tuesday 9 April, 2pm at County Hall.  Please contact mail@transitionmonmouth.org if you would like to attend

Members’ Business Meeting:  Tuesday 9 April, 7.30 to 9pm at the Robin Hood – project updates + plans

XR Week of Big Events:  15 to 21 April:  Further details from robsproc@hotmail.com or check the Abergavenny XR Discussions page on Facebook nearer the time

The Big Swap:  Saturday 27 April, 10 till 12.30 at Rockfield Community Centre, Cornwallis Way, Monmouth – our usual Swap Shop for seeds/plants, but also for swapping clothes, books, toys etc + refreshments

And the Local Produce Markets:-
Usk – 1st + 3rd Saturdays – 10 till 1
Abergavenny – 4th Thursday – 9.30 to 2.30

We hope to see you on Tuesday at the Robin Hood + some of the other events too maybe?

Vivien Mitchell
transitionmonmouth
creative community action…for life after oil

Facebook:  Transition Monmouth, Transition Monmouth Chat, Wyesham Community Woodland, Plastic Free Monmouth

Climate Emergency Motion for Monmouthshire County Council:  Progress Report

Discussions are on-going as Councillors + Officers wish to have a good understanding of the commitment + its implications.  Hazel Clatworthy has sent us these notes of a meeting of the Senior Leadership Team (Chief Executive + Chief Officers) held on Tuesday 26 February:-

  • It was agreed that decarbonisation is absolutely central to what the Council wants and needs to work towards
  • It was agreed that we have control over our own activities, so that it is well within our ability to be able to work towards zero carbon for our own estate
  • The Council has an important role as an exemplar who should be able to lead by example and be an animator for change with communities, businesses and partners
  • However, it is harder to be able to make commitments about carbon emissions across the county as a whole when, notwithstanding we can have some influence, carbon emissions across the county are affected by many factors that are beyond our control.  We don’t have legislative powers to make countywide changes
  • For any motion that may be put to the council, it is really important that the council means what it says and acts to make change happen, rather than to sign up to things and then forget about them
  • It is also really important that before the council agrees to a motion or proposal, that it really understands what the impact of the motion is and what it is agreeing to do
  • Such a step needs to have full buy in, ownership and understanding amongst all councillors

To that end, SLT have agreed that rather than taking a report to a Select Committee, that there will be a Member Seminar open to all Councillors.  Local community groups will be able to speak and talk about the proposed Climate Emergency motion, and councillors will also hear from local and national climate change and decarbonisation experts.  Cllr Jane Pratt who came to our last Community Climate Champions meeting has agreed to this approach.

After the Member Seminar, members will have a better understanding of the issues and what the motion would commit us to, including information on emissions and best practice taken elsewhere.