Birmingham has finally declared a climate emergency, and a pretty impressive one at that. We’ve pledged to be net carbon neutral by 2030, a target more ambitious than those of most climate emergency cities, beating Manchester, for example, by 8 years!
So right now, quite a few people are asking me the same question: is it time to end the strike? And the answer is a firm, unambiguous no.
Declaring a climate emergency is crucial, but it is just the first step. We can’t reduce the pressure until Birmingham Council reveals how it will turn words into definitive action. We’ve had grand statements before, what we’ve never had is action. And it would be incredibly easy for those in power to stop prioritising the climate crisis, especially with a new Prime Minister on the horizon. The candidate debates have proven that the climate emergency is still at the bottom of their lists, they are much more interested in Brexit and who took which drugs 25 years ago.
But here in Birmingham, we now have the chance to make real, positive change. The climate emergency declaration isn’t a burden, as some people make it out to be, it is an incredible opportunity that can lead to a healthier, happier city!
So this is what the climate emergency means for the future of our city (and hopefully the West Midlands (having met with Mayor Andy Street, I know he’s listening))…
It means cleaner air, more green spaces, less pollution.
It means cheaper, better, electrified public transport, that doesn’t get stuck behind miles of idling cars.
It means new cycle routes, less plastic, less waste in general.
It means more and better vegan and vegetarian food served in all schools and workplaces. Better recycling (that actually gets recycled rather than being burnt or sent to Malaysia), it means less litter on our streets and less valuable waste being set to landfill.
It could even mean educating schoolchildren on the importance of caring for the climate, of working with other countries to reduce global heating.
The more I think about it, the more I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to declare a climate emergency; and the councillors of Birmingham obviously agree! The climate emergency motion was put forward by the Conservatives, backed by Labour, Lib Dems and the Greens and unanimously passed by 83 councillors voting together.
The Zero-Carbon, ecological revolution has begun, and you, like me, should be incredibly excited to see where it takes us.