More action …..

Dear Transitioners

We got through a hectic January OK including the loveliest Wassail complete with a Mari Lwyd (who came all the way from Brecon) out at our Community Orchard in the sunshine + apple cake + hot apple juice.  It was the first Wassail in Monmouth for many a decade, + about 70 happy children + adults attended.  Thank you to all who made it possible.  Now for February + March ……….

We have been working hard in preparation for MCC to pass (hopefully unanimously) a Climate Emergency motion in April – latest text at the end of this newsletter together with some links to further reading.  We want this to govern the new Local Development Plan, the Corporate Plan + all other plans/actions by the County Council, + then spreading out to all town + rural councils, businesses, organisations, community groups + individuals.  We have set up a Climate Emergency Monmouthshire Facebook page + group to keep you informed of progress + for discussion of the issues.

We have our Members’ Meeting next Tuesday (12 February, 7.30 at the Robin Hood) when Steve England from the Art of Sustainability will be talking to us about “Well Being, the Heart of Sustainability:  Experiential methods bringing sustainability alive to explore the potential that the tools + methodologies of sustainability offer in strategy, team building + leadership skills”.  This sounds really interesting – all welcome! – the Art of Sustainability operates from the magical sculpture garden in Tintern.  We will also do a bit more planning for the year ahead.

Then there’s the Plastic Free Monmouth (PFM) party to celebrate our PFM group’s efforts in achieving Plastic Free status, as defined by the Surfers Against Sewage criteria, for our town.  All welcome at Monmouth Priory on Friday 22 February from 6pm to 8pm.  It would be helpful, but not essential, if you could email plasticfreemonmouth@gmail.com if you plan to attend.  We got a good article in the Monmouthshire Beacon this week + a pic of us at the Usk Show.

Now – how about a bit of visioning?  What will Monmouth be like in 2040?  What do we want it to be like?  How can we adapt + what can we do to make it the way we want despite climate change?  We will be hosting a Climate Ready Gwent workshop on Thursday 7 March in the Shire Hall from 6pm to 9pm.  If you want to be one of the lucky 40 people attending – with light refreshments to keep your energy levels up – please book your space with vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk.  We also really want to know of your experiences of the changes you have seen over the decades in the seasons, the weather + the natural world.  If you can’t attend the workshop, please email this information to me.  There will be a second session, principally for groups + organisations, on 21 March.

Here’s the diary for the next few weeks:-

Wassail at Old Lands:  Saturday 9 February – PM #wassail or #keepingtraditionsalive for further details + to make sure there is enough soup + mulled apple juice

Meditation Retreat with Lama Chodrak:  Sunday 10 February, 10 till 4.30 at the Lam Rim Buddhist Centre – to reserve your place phone 01600 780383 or email courses.wales@lamrim.org.uk

Nature Isn’t Neat:  Monday 11 February, 12 o’clock at the Shire Hall – our pollinator project in partnership with Monmouth Town Council + Bees for Development – all welcome to help develop the campaign

Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 12 February, 7.30 at the Robin Hood – “Well Being, the Heart of Sustainability” + planning for more events

All Things Community:  Eden Communities Get-Together in Powys:  Friday 22 February, 11 to 4 in Crickhowell – register with Eventbrite

Plastic Free Monmouth – Celebratory Party:  Friday 22 February, 6pm to 8pm at Monmouth Priory – all welcome, but, if you can, email plasticfreemonmouth@gmail.com to say you are coming

Climate Ready Gwent:  Visioning Monmouth in 2040 – + what we can do to mitigate the problems of climate change:  Thursday 7 March, 6pm to 9pm.  Numbers limited so please reserve your place with vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk;  light refreshments will be served

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

In Our Hands – the 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:  Wednesday 13 March, 7.15 at the Abergavenny Community Centre followed by discussion

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 for primarily for the agencies, including Monmouth Town Council.  Numbers limited so please reserve your place with vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk;  light refreshments will be served

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

MOTION to the Full Council of Monmouthshire County Council:  TO DECLARE A CLIMATE EMERGENCY

The declaration:

Full Council declares a climate emergency:  We recognise that preventing catastrophic global warming must be humanity’s number one priority

In making this declaration, Full Council notes:

  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in October 2018, confirmed that:
    1. Human-induced warming reached approximately 1°C above pre-industrial levels in 2017, increasing at 0.2°C per decade. Human-induced global warming has already caused multiple observed changes in the climate system
    2. A 1.5°C rise will result in multiple negative impacts, including increases in frequency, intensity and/or amount of heavy precipitation in several regions, and the majority (70%-90%) of warm water (tropical) coral reefs that exist today will disappear
    3. A 2°C rise will result in much more severe harm, including increased frequency of severe weather events, droughts, floods, higher sea level rises, crop failures and destruction of land and marine eco-systems.  Risks of water scarcity are projected to be greater at 2°C than at 1.5°C of global warming in some regions
    4. With current strategies, the world is on track to overshoot the 1.5°C limit of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement before 2050 and exceed 3oC by 2100
    5. It informed us that limiting global warming to 1.5oC may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities
  2. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities (as well as meeting the Well Being of Future Generations Act)
  3. Monmouthshire County Council is well placed to champion rural decarbonisation.  It has already announced that its pension funds will be divesting from fossil fuels.  It has some of the best electric charging infrastructure in Wales and has the potential to become 100% self-reliant on zero-carbon energy, and also the potential for the development of hydrogen production and technologies
  4. Councils across the UK and the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency now

To put this declaration into action, Full Council calls on Council to:

  1. Declare a Climate Emergency
  2. Aim to make the county of Monmouthshire zero carbon by 2030 taking into account emissions from both production and consumption
  3. Accelerate steps towards reducing the carbon emissions of MCC’s own operations (including offices, schools, leisure facilities, transport and environmental services) to net zero before the Welsh Government’s target date of 2030
  4. Develop a strategy and costed action plans within six months of adopting this motion that aim to deliver these targets
  5. Revise the Corporate Plan, Well-Being Plan, Local Development Plan and other relevant plans and policies in support of the above
  6. Call on the Welsh Government and the UK Government to provide the necessary powers, resources and technical support to successfully meet the 2030 target
  7. Publicise this declaration of a climate emergency to residents and businesses in the county and encourage, support and enable them to take their own actions to reduce their carbon emissions in line with this our ambition
  8. Work with partners across the county and with other councils and organisations in Wales, to help develop and implement best practice methods in limiting global warming to less than 5ºC

References:

  1. World Resources Institute:  https://www.wri.org/…/8-things-you-need-know-about-ipcc-15-…
  2. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC:  https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/
  3. Fossil CO2 & GHG emissions of all world countries 2017:  http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php…
  4. Scope 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol explained:  https://www.carbontrust.com/…/scope-3-indirect-carbon-emiss…
  5. Bristol https://www.theguardian.com/…/bristol-plans-to-become-carbo…?

Manchester https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/…/ambitious_climate_change…?

London https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/assembly/call-on-mayor-to-declare-climate-emergency

Stroud https://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/17243256.climate-emergency-declared-how-councillors-plan-to-tackle-it/

https://climateemergency.uk/ – link to other Authorities declaring climate emergencies

Machynlleth  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46961053

Additional reading:

An article from the journal Nature which suggests why the IPCC report is too conservative.  It suggests we may be on course to breach 1.5ºC by 2030 not 2040.  So we really do need to make sure this motion takes this into account – https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07586-5?sf203760975=1&fbclid=IwAR35Dfm0P8eHa2eYTA-2gwud_VDXFL9lrYN4yknfDfouBbyIz0l0t-VPQro

2019 is expected to have one of the biggest rises in CO2 due to less plant growth due to drier weather conditions, another feedback loop – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46989789

Oceans are warming faster than the IPCC reports recognise – https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/01/11/oceans-are-warming-faster-than-we-thought-scientists-suggest-we-brace-impact/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.948d933567ae

Marine energy investment disincentivised – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-47042871?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/c52ew8q50z2t/wales-business&link_location=live-reporting-story

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Here’s to a great 2019 + loads of action ….

Dear Transitioners

Where has the time gone since our last newsletter? – hopefully you have all had a happy + welcome break from the daily routine + are feeling refreshed + ready for action!  We have a very busy January in store, starting with:-

Training for non-violent direct action:  Saturday 5 January, 10 till 2 at the Abergavenny Community Centre:  Training for those looking to get involved with Extinction Rebellion events.  Please indicate on https://www.facebook.com/events/2246745938935193/ if you would like to attend or email robsproc@hotmail.com.  There is a similar event in Hereford on Sunday 6 January, 10.30 to 4.30 at De Koffie Pot;  please indicate on https://www.facebook.com/groups/Xr.hereford/ if you would like to attend – but don’t worry if you can’t make these – there will be more dates in the coming months

Members’ Meeting + the Year Ahead:  Tuesday 8 January, 7.30 at the Robin Hood to continue with our plans for the year ahead.  We will also devote time to RECS – our flood prevention project;  this has come to a crunch point + we need to make some decisions on how, if at all, we take this forward

Nature Isn’t Neat:  Monday 14 January, 12 o’clock at the Shire Hall.  This is a pollinator project that we are undertaking in partnership with Monmouth Town Council + Bees for Development.  Items on the agenda will include project launch (probably in March/April), development of literature for children (+ their teachers) + for households, + identifying areas around town that could be made pollinator friendly.  If you know of any or have ideas (currently the planting at St Thomas’ Square + round the cenotaph at St James’ Square are top of the list) please let us know, or else come to the meeting – all welcome!

Climate Change Champions – the Climate Emergency:  Wednesday 23 January, 7pm at Bridges Community Centre.  We have amended the Climate Emergency motion passed by the Forest of Dean to make it relevant to Monmouthshire, + at the meeting we will have Roger Hoggins (MCC Head of Operations) + Mark Hand (MCC Head of Planning) to discuss the measures that MCC can take (+ how we can help them) to:-

  • Make Monmouthshire carbon neutral by 2030
  • Produce a fully costed action plan by 1 July 2019 to meet the carbon neutral target

All welcome for this very important meeting.  The proposed draft motion is copied in below.

Wassail in Abergavenny:   Saturday 26 January, 3pm onwards at the Laurie Jones Community Orchard

Wassail in Monmouth:   Sunday 27 January, 3pm for a 3.30 start at the Community Orchard on Two River Meadow.  We cleared the land + planted the orchard, starting on 1 September 2009.  It’s a lovely place + the trees have thrived but it’s little known – hence the Wassail to raise awareness, + hopefully enjoyment.  The idea is to make a lot of noise to awaken the trees so bring any instruments you may have + your vocal chords.  We will serve apple cake + apple juice (any donations welcome).  Park in the Blestium Street car park;  then walk along the Monnow, under the A40, past the allotments, + you’re there.  Waterproof footwear is recommended, + since the area is bounded by two rivers, parents must at all times take care of the safety of their children.

Eden Project + the South East Wales Communities Network:  Tuesday 29 January, 5pm to 8pm at Bridges Community Centre:  This is the first meeting of the group for community leaders to share experiences, talk about the challenges + celebrations, discuss new ideas + come away energised with fresh perspectives + local supportive connections – so please spread the word to other community groups.  The event is free but please book your place with www.eventbrite.co.uk South East Wales Communities Network.

Community Engagement Event:  Thursday 31 January, 4.30 to 7.30 at Monmouth Comprehensive School:  Together with other local community groups we will be showcasing + hopefully spreading the word – set up starting at 3.30.  If you can help to set up our stall or staff it please contact mail@transitionmonmouth.org.

Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 12 February, 7.30 at the Robin Hood – more details next time.

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

Thank you all once more for making 2018 so fruitful.  2019 looks like it will be even more eventful!  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


DRAFT MOTION FOR MCC:  To declare a climate emergency

Full Council notes:

  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5°C rise.  It informed us that limiting global warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities – Refs 1, 2
  2. The World Meteorological Organisation in their annual bulletin (November 2018) state that carbon dioxide levels hit new highs of 405.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2017, up from 403.3 ppm in 2016 and 400.1 ppm in 2015, levels not seen for millions of years.  They warn that “the window of opportunity for action is almost closed”
  3. The world’s leading climate scientists warn that there are only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5°C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people
  4. Global temperatures have already increased by 1°C from pre-industrial levels and they are still rising rapidly, with impacts being felt around the world today
  5. The world is on track to overshoot the Paris agreement’s 1.5°C limit before 2050 and exceed 3oC by 2100
  6. In order to reduce the very real risk of runaway global warming and the dramatic impacts on the global environment, society and us as individuals, it is imperative that we take the boldest steps to reduce our CO2 emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes as soon as possible – Ref 3
  7. Society needs to help individuals reduce their own carbon emissions by changing its laws, taxation, infrastructure, policies and plans, to make low carbon living easier and the new norm
  8. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption
  9. For these reasons, authorities around the country and the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency now

Full Council acknowledges that:

  1. The consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing this from happening must be humanity’s number one priority
  2. To meet the urgent challenge outlined in the IPCC report, we all have a part to play.  It is important for us all that Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) commits to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;  MCC needs to take a lead and act now
  3. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities (as well as meeting the Well Being of Future Generations Act requirements which supports local people, future generations and the global community)
  4. MCC is well placed to champion rural decarbonisation.  It has already announced that its pension funds will be divesting from fossil fuels, it has some of the best electric charging infrastructure in Wales and has the potential to become 100% self-reliant on zero-carbon energy

Full Council calls on Council to:

  1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’
  2. Aim to make the county of Monmouthshire carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3) – Ref 4
  3. Call on MCC to incorporate measures such as the design of new homes, transport links, waste and recycling services, energy supplies and land use in the new Local Development Plan
  4. Call on Westminster and the Welsh Government to provide the powers, resources and help with funding to successfully meet the 2030 target
  5. Work with other councils and organisations (both within Wales, the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit global warming to less than 1.5°C – Ref 5
  6. Work with partners across the district, county and region to help deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies, plans and shared resources
  7. Produce a fully costed action plan to meet the carbon neutral target by 1 July 2019

References:

  1. World Resources Institute:  https://www.wri.org/…/8-things-you-need-know-about-ipcc-15-…
  2. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC:  https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/
  3. Fossil CO2 & GHG emissions of all world countries, 2017:  http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php…
  4. Scope 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol explained:  https://www.carbontrust.com/…/scope-3-indirect-carbon-emiss…
  5. Bristol https://www.theguardian.com/…/bristol-plans-to-become-carbo…?

Manchester https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/…/ambitious_climate_change…?

London https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/assembly/call-on-mayor-to-declare-climate-emergency

Stroud https://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/17243256.climate-emergency-declared-how-councillors-plan-to-tackle-it/

Climate Emergency Event on Saturday

Dear Transitioners

We now have the full details of a great event in Abergavenny on Saturday.  Please come + join us!

EXTINCTION REBELLION EVENT ABERGAVENNY

Saturday 22nd December 2018

12.00 midday – Meet at Abergavenny Market in the Corn exchange  for a 12.45pm start. See Facebook event page

12.45pm – Drumming starts and we gather outside the Market Hall

1.00pm We start a very slow and solemn funereal procession up High Street towards Shackeltons.  We will then head back down to the Angel Hotel and back to the Market Hall.  We will stop a couple of times for some singing etc and may do this once or possibly twice.  (We figure this is where most people will be in Abergavenny and the drummers can’t move so we want to stay connected with them)

2.00pm – Meet back at the Market Hall for the Declaration of Rebellion as well as a couple of other talks, some singing and a symbolic gesture

2.30pm – We then will head over to the St Johns Square in front of the post office for an informal gathering around a fire where we will lay our wreathes and come together, relax, enjoy each other’s company on a mid-winters evening

The theme will be a funeral procession to mourn the species we have lost and the world we could be leaving our children. The extinction could include ourselves eventually. It’s time for a wake-up call. This procession is raising that. Twelve years to radically change course!

So please can you wear black, black hats and coats and bring an umbrella (black preferably).  If you can decorate the umbrella with the XR logo that would be great.  (Gaffer tape works really well and is fairly simple to do).  We made quite a number of wreathes and banners at a workshop last Saturday but if you want to make one to bring that would be great. There will be lanterns, musical instruments, singing, drumming and mournful silence ( sometimes). People are coming from other communities. Share this with your friends, family, groups you belong to and let people know about the event.  The easiest way would be sharing the event on Facebook. This also contains a map and images of the Market Hall and how to reach the Corn Exchange if you are a stranger to the town https://www.facebook.com/events/321424855378989/

Be prepared for wintry weather, warm clothes and waterproofs

We may also have some face painting for children so please arrive by 12 if you have children who want their face painted and if you can help with face painting that would be great.  The theme will be animals

You are welcome to make something yourself and bring it along, the more the merrier.  Don’t worry if you can’t we will need help with lanterns and banners

HOPE TO SEE YOU!

Vivien Mitchell

Chair’s Report to the AGM – November 2018

RECS – Renewable Energy Community Schemes with Flood Prevention + Other Benefits: Our Atkins consultants, Andy Gill + Marcus Huband, continued working with us + MCC, NRW, AONB, Gwent Wildlife Trust, Long Forest, the Woodland Trust + others, culminating in the presentation of the final report at a very well attended meeting in June. All the right people were there, + there was great commitment to taking the project forward. NRW + MCC Flood Prevention + Gwent Wildlife Trust decided to proceed with a pilot project at Kingswood, an area that had exercised the mind of Roger Hoggins who has for some time been concerned about the problems that will inevitably result from the construction of a new housing development.

So, in October 2018 there was an initial walk-about at Kingswood.  Those attending included MCC (Flood Prevention, Rights of Way, and Countryside), NRW (Water Courses, and Forestry), AONB (NFM), GWT + others, all guided by Marcus Huband (Atkins).  It was inspiring + exciting.  Never before had so many different interests been brought together.  Never before had there been such an opportunity to understand how one activity impinges on another.  As an example, we discovered that an expensive problem for Forestry was the disposal of wood with no commercial value; however, securing this wood into large ‘woody bundles’ + placing the bundles in appropriate places provided a very cheap solution to ‘slowing the flow’ + aiding flood prevention. It needed the input of others + the experience of our Atkins consultant to come up with all this.  There is great eagerness to have more such sessions as each site is unique with its own particular set of problems + solutions, + more experience is needed in order to successfully establish this new collaborative way of working which, even in our first session, came up with innovative + economically attractive solutions to problems that RECS seeks to address.  It’s worth going on at length about this – because, though the process is now developing a momentum of its own, it was started entirely as a Transition Monmouth idea.

We are also working to produce a request for funding to the Welsh Government for work around Monmouth. In the suburbs, the recommendations generally fall into the category of SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) – stuff like tree planting, wildflower meadows, rain gardens, permeable surfaces. Our approach to this is community based, working with the schools + community groups. For this we are commissioning a range of leaflets for three groups: primary schools, GCSE pupils, + households. It would have been so good to have leaflets to give out when we had working parties so the volunteers could take them away + understand why they were doing our stuff. For children, these leaflets should of course also be suitable as teaching aids. We are in the process of working out quite how much time we still need from Atkins to implement some of their proposals, + also to pinpoint specific sites for inclusion in the LDP.

Food Sense: Our project which aims to link food poverty/social isolation on the one hand with waste/excess food on the other has attracted a wide range of members + other community groups. Much of our energy was devoted to producing 1,092 free packed lunches (in plastic-free packaging of course) for children attending the Summer Play scheme at Overmonnow School; this was an amazing coming together of the community in our effort to help alleviate food poverty in the holidays. We have worked throughout with Mike Moran (MCC) + are confident that he will apply for the WG SHEP (School Holidays Enrichment Programme) next year for Monmouth. We were aware + had been alerted by the Food Bank, HomeStart + others of school holiday hunger, + feared that with the roll out of Universal Credit starting in June, the problem would be worse than usual. In the meantime, having tried unsuccessfully for many months to connect with the supermarkets about the food they send for recycling, all of a sudden they have all started producing crates of bread on almost a daily basis. We are scrabbling round to set up a distribution network! Community lunches (donate what you like) are now happening on a weekly basis, we are looking for a suitable location for a community cupboard, + are generally getting out to the community with projects such as these – most heartening! A new one for us was apple juicing (with equipment kindly lent to us by Ned Heywood of Transition Chepstow) on 13 October, + the possibility of a community pub + soup kitchen (full roast dinner) on Christmas Day.

Local food: Sad that the whole Food Assembly movement has folded, but the farm shop at Square Farm continues to expand. Apart from veg fresh off the fields + meat, dairy, local jams, chutneys + the like, it also now operates a refill scheme for detergents, + dry goods such as rice, lentils etc. Although the Old Lands CSA folded, the little shop at Dingestow Court is well stocked each week (+ is open every day) with produce from the walled garden + all the basics, some from a refill scheme. A new Chamber of Commerce ‘Buy Local’ initiative is welcomed.

Woodland Project at Claypatch Woods: Monthly working parties, as well as other parties, continue with the aim of creating a pond, firepit, etc. There is also a new Bee Friendly Wyesham group to create wildflower areas + plant trees/shrubs – considerable overlap in the membership of the two groups, + great for implementing SuDS.

Plastic Free Monmouth: Started in January, we now have a vibrant group run by an efficient Gang of Five + around 80 others on our email list + 292 followers on a very lively Facebook page. We have been working with the schools (including all five private ones), businesses, community groups etc, + following a film showing on 4 November of Albatross, we expect to have qualified as achieving Plastic Free status. Well, that will be great, but the work needs to continue to just get rid of all that awful + unnecessary single use plastic. We did it with carrier bags – an 87% drop in usage + permanently changed behaviour – + it only took five years – so now for all the other stuff. And it’s so good that we are not alone. We have much enjoyed working with similar groups in other towns, + much appreciate the support from MCC. We await with trepidation to see permanently altered behaviour on MCC property + by MCC Officers.

Children’s Playground on Chippenham Mead: The long + painful + frustrating struggle finally paid off – we are having a playground on a lovely site away from air + noise pollution, with mature trees + a bund which is ideal for the start of a zip wire. Common-sense prevailed – why was it so difficult? Now for the implementation!

Herb Garden by the bus station: This has looked good this year, largely due to the work put in by Diane. It is an ideal site for a noticeboard to promote TM. It is in any case needed to explain what has been done + why – particularly why it is untidy during the summer as we wait for the seeds to ripen. We will look out for opportunities to take this forward through Community Champions, Nature Isn’t Neat etc.

Shared space: We had for some time, through Monmouth Partnership Forum, been looking at ways of making the town centre more pedestrian friendly – but decided in the end that it was a job for a professional. It was 1 May 2007 when we first got Ben Hamilton-Baillie along to tell us about shared space – a great turnout including Roger Hoggins + Dave Harris. Ben produced a fine plan but, we’re not sure why – did MCC concentrate on Chepstow + Abergavenny? – nothing to date until at last – next January our pinch point in Monnow Street is to be implemented, followed by Agincourt Square within a couple of years. The ducks, at last, are in a row + Roger just has to get final approval from his masters.

iNeed Festival: iNeed supports refugees + we were fortunate they chose Monmouth for their festival this year – 500 refugees from South Wales + 500 local residents. It operated on the basis that everything was free of charge – entry, food, music, activities; well, refugees don’t necessarily have the money to pay for their children to have their faces painted. We supported it as best we could + much enjoyed doing so. There was no support from Monmouth Town Council on the basis that they didn’t see what was in it for the town! We have some good Councillors who didn’t see it that way, knuckled down + did what they could.

Nature Isn’t Neat: We are working (we were brought in at a late stage as partners) with Monmouth Town Council + Bees for Development on this RDP funded project which provides two days a week of Alison Howard’s time starting August 2018. Little progress to date, + we are concerned at the lack of willingness to involve the community, let alone comply with the FGA. Strong input from the Transition members of the group is beginning to have a productive influence; it may turn out well. We will continue to try to influence.

Other stuff: The coffee mornings, Swap Shops, Food Bank support (we pay for a fresh fruit + veg delivery each week) continue. It’s clear we have an ever-increasing ability to work with an ever-increasing number of community groups.

The Wider Context: While our members on the whole are interested in rolling up their sleeves + doing things, there is also the need to consider the wider context – so we continued with our discussion evenings. Topics to date include electric vehicles, the Internet of Things + how to use data to make better environmental decisions, carbon consciousness + carbon saving (a project at Aberystwyth University) – plenty more on the menu as well as film shows.

Ann Eggleton

Climate emergency – but there’s hope!

Dear Transitioners

We had a lively AGM with our new Chair, Karin Chandler – welcome, Karin, + many thanks to Ann for the last three years.  We celebrated all that we achieved last year, + came up with suggestions about what we should be doing in the coming year to make it even better.  At our meeting next Tuesday – 18 December, 7.30 at the Robin Hood – we will hone down to a calendar of events though, as well intentioned as this may be, there are bound to be diversions along the way.

And – there is reason for good cheer.  People around the world are taking on board the recent IPCC report which states, in no uncertain terms, that the world has to get to grips with averting catastrophic climate change.  We have just 12 years in which to do this.  We can each individually do our bit, but it’s Governments + corporations that must undertake huge changes.  At COP24 – the UN climate change conference in Katowice – things aren’t going as well as we had hoped with the major oil producers USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia + Kuwait scuppering the adoption of this crucial report.  They have been dubbed as ‘climate villains’ by the rest of the world, but it leaves 189 member states endorsing the report.

In the meantime, around the world, climate change protests have erupted.  The Extinction Rebellion started with a rally in Parliament Square on 31 October but numerous other rallies have already been held in the UK + the movement has spread to 35 other countries.  A rally was held at COP24 last week with several thousand climate campaigners from a host of different nations in their act of ‘peaceful civil disobedience’ aimed at policymakers who are failing to take appropriate action.  We have local XR branches in Abergavenny + Hereford – each with a Facebook page if you would like to get involved or email Rob Proctor at robsproc@hotmail.com.

Locally, last week the Forest of Dean District Council unanimously approved a climate emergency motion – full text at the end of this newsletter.  Well done, FoD!  Now to get all the councils in Monmouthshire to adopt similarly, the County Council too, + all the other councils in the land!  For a start we are working on this with our local Councillors + hope to bring you good news soon!

We would also like to follow the lead set by Cambridge City Council + South Cambridgeshire District Council – both are supporting the transition to zero carbon by 2050 (as compared to a national target of an 80% reduction) in their next local plan.  The design of new homes, transport links, waste + recycling services, energy supplies + land use will all be taken into consideration.  Again, something for MCC to consider in their new Local Development Plan?

We have recently hooked into a weekly email that summarises new + soon to close Welsh Government consultations with hyperlinks to each – https://beta.gov.wales/subscribe/consultations – and we are keeping an eye out on Extended Producer Responsibility – well, we’re doing what we can to cut down on waste but what about the producers?  They will only do it if it costs them – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/11/retailers-to-pay-up-to-1bn-more-for-recycling-under-waste-strategy?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR3sI613p4iohfWknwKMaU7ggr_CQH6z6uR-kvKwX7iJ460hfHDjH0hltIE

And a post-Christmas thought when you are ready for a bit of fresh air + exercise.  Charles Boase has well-rotted, year-old leaf mould for collection free of charge from Vauxhall House.  Phone 01600 715076 to arrange collection.

So – just a couple of dates for your diaries to round off 2018:-

Members’ Meeting + the Year Ahead:  Tuesday 18 December, 7.30 at the Robin Hood to mull over the suggestions made at the AGM + forge ahead with a calendar of events

Christmas Day:  The Robin Hood, in good community fashion, is putting on a free Christmas dinner for those that could do with a roast dinner, good company, + some cheer – but it’s a lot of work, + it costs.  Can you help? – prepping on Christmas Eve, driving on Christmas Day, sponsorship or donations?  Also, do you know someone who would like to have that Christmas meal?   Please email mail@transitionmonmouth.org with offers or suggestions.

Thank you all for giving Transition Monmouth a great 2018.  We hope to see you on Tuesday at the Robin Hood to plan an even better 2019!

Vivien Mitchell
transitionmonmouth
creative community action…for life after oil
mail@transitionmonmouth.org
https://transitionmonmouth.org/

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

Motion put to Forest of Dean District Council by Cllr Chris McFarling on 6 December 2018:-

MOTION – To declare a climate emergency

Full Council notes:-

  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5°C rise.  It informed us that limiting global warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities. Refs 1, 2
  2. The World Meteorological Organisation in their annual bulletin (November 2018) state that carbon dioxide levels hit new highs of 405.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2017, up from 403.3 ppm in 2016 and 400.1 ppm in 2015, levels not seen for millions of years. They warn that “the window of opportunity for action is almost closed”
  3. The world’s leading climate scientists warn that there are only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5°C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people
  4. Global temperatures have already increased by 1°C from pre-industrial levels and they are still rising rapidly, with impacts being felt around the world today
  5. The world is on track to overshoot the Paris agreement’s 1.5°C limit before 2050
  6. In order to reduce the very real risk of runaway global warming and the dramatic impacts on the global environment, society and us as individuals, it is imperative that we take the boldest steps to reduce our CO2 emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes as soon as possible; Ref 3
  7. Society needs to help individuals reduce their own carbon emissions by changing its laws, taxation, infrastructure, policies and plans, to make low carbon living easier and the new norm
  8. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption
  9. For these reasons, authorities around the country and the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency now

Full Council acknowledges that:-

  1. The consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing this from happening must be humanity’s number one priority
  2. To meet the urgent challenge outlined in the IPCC report, we all have a part to play.  It is important for us all in the Forest of Dean that the local district council commits to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible;  FoDDC needs to take a lead and act now
  3. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities (as well as improved well-being for people worldwide)
  4. The Forest of Dean is well-placed to champion rural decarbonisation.  The district has huge carbon sequestration potential with 27,000 acres of public forest estate (21% of the total district area), and abundant clean renewable resources (solar, wind and tidal lagoons) to become 100% self-reliant on zero-carbon energy.

Full Council calls on Council to:

  1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’
  2. Aim to make the Forest of Dean District Council and the district carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3), Ref 4
  3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers, resources and help with funding to successfully meet the 2030 target
  4. Work with other councils and organisations (both within the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit Global Warming to less than 1.5°C; Ref 5
  5. Work with partners across the district, county and region to help deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies, plans and shared resources
  6. Produce a fully costed action plan to meet the carbon neutral target by 1st July 2019

References:

  1. World Resources Institute:  https://www.wri.org/…/8-things-you-need-know-about-ipcc-15-…
  2. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC:  https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/
  3. Fossil CO2 & GHG emissions of all world countries, 2017:  http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php…
  4. Scope 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol explained:  https://www.carbontrust.com/…/scope-3-indirect-carbon-emiss…
  5. Bristol https://www.theguardian.com/…/bristol-plans-to-become-carbo…?

Manchester https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/…/ambitious_climate_change…?

The motion was passed unanimously – yay!