On Saturday 6th July Gloucester Labour Party presented an afternoon event on the Green New Deal, which I chaired. Here are some things we learned!
1. Social and environmental justice are two sides of the same coin
Ted Howard, the brains behind the successful Preston model kicked off the event by explaining how we can design a local economy that automatically increases wealth in the community and keep jobs local.
2. The railways need to be brought back into public ownership!
Clive Lewis was delayed by trains from Norwich… Once arrived, he gave a compelling speech about how to transform our economy to tackle climate change. We must start with the Treasury’s “Green Book ” – which has nothing to do with being ‘green’ – although it does determine a lot of our decision making.
3. There is no shortage of good ideas
We heard from Kye Dudd, Bristol City Councillor about how Bristol have been reducing the city’s environmental footprint. From district heating to their own publicly-owned energy company, there is plenty being done that we can learn from in Gloucester.
4. Climate change, food production, well-being – it’s all connected
It’s obvious when you say it out loud, isn’t it? Kath Dalemy, CEO of Sustain shared her knowledge and experience about how we can improve all three at the same time.
5. We need to generate solar power in a LOT more places
Peter Boait, Chair of Gloucestershire Community Energy Cooperative spoke about schemes to get solar adopted on houses and community buildings.
6. Again – it’s all connected – and we can help our kids to be healthier if we try
James Cleeton, South England Director from Sustrans spoke about frightening levels of air pollution outside the school gates of the school. If we shut off school roads at drop off and pick up times, children no longer have to stand outside breathing in fumes, encouraging less driving and more walking in the process.
7. Gloucester people already have plenty of knowledge and ideas
Our audience was in the know. We had brilliant questions ranging from the circular economy to Gloucester’s incinerator, and more.
8. It’s a climate emergency
City council Labour group leader Kevin Stephens, rounded off the event by speaking about a local motion to declare a climate emergency in Gloucester and become net-zero carbon by 2030.
9. It’s going to be difficult
There is a huge amount of energy in Gloucester to tackle climate change. We all know it’s going to be difficult, we know there are vested interests ranged against us – and we’re ready for the challenge.
10. Labour’s Green New Deal is a great place to start
We can implement the action needed under a determined Labour government, with a new MP for Gloucester fully committed to the challenge in front of us!