On Sunday 21st September, over 600,000 people around the world took to the streets to demand that governments take strong collective action to deal with the ever more urgent issue of rapid climate change and its potentially devastating impacts upon the future well-being of ourselves and our children. On that same day, over 70 people joined in the Eastbourne People’s Climate March, creating a ‘green heart’ on the beach next to Eastbourne Pier, as well as a ‘green wall’ at the water’s edge to symbolise the action we need to take to save Eastbourne from the rising seas and more intense storm surges that are some of the consequences of climate change. The light-hearted, fun-filled march ended at the Wish Tower, where we made the wish that countries transition as quickly as possible away from the dirty energies responsible for climate-damaging carbon emissions, and towards the 100% clean energies that would safeguard a stable, and survivable, climate future.
This call to arms on the climate helped to galvanise the world leaders who attended the UN Climate Summit on 23rd September, and many new commitments to tackle climate change were made at that crucial meeting, which kick-started the run up to the even more crucial climate talks that will take place in Paris next year, talks that will decide on a global deal to reduce carbon emissions enough to keep global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. There is now a growing momentum to the move away from fossil fuels, reflected in the decision of many businesses and institutions to move their investments out of fossil fuel activities altogether, and to invest instead in the green economy, which is now the fastest growing sector of the economy in most of the world, including in the UK, providing a sustainable and environmentally safe source of growth and new jobs that the fossil fuel industries no longer can.
And just as Eastbourne is in the frontline of climate change, facing the ever-increasing risk of flooding from the sea, so it can be in the frontline of the struggle to mitigate climate change by tapping into its biggest resource: sunshine! Eastbourne has the sunshine record for the UK, so it is ideally placed to cash in on the fastest growing, and most popular source of renewable energy: solar power! Eastbourne could become the premier Solar Town of the south coast, showing the way for other towns to follow! Already Eastbourne has several dynamic renewable energy companies and Eastbourne Friends of the Earth is working with some of them, as well as with a new co-operative, Eastbourne Community Energy, to help make solar energy - and energy saving measures - much more easily available, not just to businesses and homeowners, but also to community groups all over Eastbourne, saving these groups money and making the local economy stronger and more resilient at the same time. The future’s bright if the future is solar! Friends of the Earth is facilitating this development with its new Schools Run on Sun campaign to help schools get the solar power they want and to save up to £8,000 a year on their energy bills by doing so! You can help your local school to get solar energy and you can even nominate a local primary school to enter a competition to win free solar panels! Climate change changes everything, so it needs everybody to do everything possible to help deal with it!
We’re grateful in Eastbourne Friends of the Earth for all the help of David Ruddle from thebestofeastbourne website, and the help of the participants in #EBtweetup and in #EBhour, in publicising the Eastbourne People’s Climate March and in helping to spread the message that community groups and businesses can together help influence governments and local councils to do the one thing that gives us all hope in the face of climate change: invest in, and support, the clean energy and energy efficient technologies that will power the green, prosperous and sustainable economy of the future that can guarantee the climate stability necessary for human flourishing for generations to come.
Member since: 28th October 2013
Having left behind careers as a professional nurse and a charity administrator, and deftly weaving a delicate path through the existential crises of middle age and semi-retirement, I am currently Co-ordinator...