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From climate awareness… to climate action

There are several projects looking to raise awareness about the changing climate – the most successful being the Sidmouth Science Festival, itself a project coming out of the Vision Group for Sidmouth, aka Sustainable Sidmouth.

There are also groups showing that really effective actions can be taken – including the Sidmouth Repair Café, the Sidmouth Cycling Campaign and the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors

In in parallel, the Climate Awareness Partnership Sidmouth is not only trying to raise awareness about what’s actually happening – but is also looking at further practical projects for 2024.

In the meantime, looking back over 2023 and beyond, what sort of ‘climate actions’ have been taking place and what would be most effective in and for Sidmouth?

A report from 2019, posted on the CAPS pages, asked if the public are ready for net zero – but that was five years ago, when the centre-right voting target of this report had not yet been put off by the likes of Extinction Rebellion and the school strikes.

Also in 2019, the Sidmouth Extinction Rebellion group was launched – but it has since not been active. And whilst the Herald earlier this year reported that Extinction Rebellion is ‘to step up climate campaigns’ after a four-day demonstration – it is clear that this sort of action is not going to happen any time soon in the Sid Valley.

There are two ways in which the ‘climate’ on action over the climate has changed. Whilst most people are indeed aware of the issues, there is greater difficulty on deciding on how to act on this. And this is reflected in the new legal framework.

Writing in the Telegraph last week, Neil Record asked What could happen if we just stopped oil? Six billion might die – claiming that whilst some climate activists are nihilists, their motives can be very much understood if even sympathised with:

Many of us have been exasperated by the antics of Just Stop Oil protesters. Now, I believe that these are well-meaning and committed to their cause and I am sure that they think that they are trying to save the planet in the best way they can think of – gain publicity, get people talking and influence politicians.

This ‘exasperation’ has led to tougher restrictions on protest action – and to Just Stop Oil protesters spending Christmas in jail. However, many well beyond the niche of ‘climate activists’ fear that the right to protest is under threat in Britain, undermining a pillar of democracy [from an extended piece this week by NBC] – with one particular case being that of Trudi Warner – and promoting the rights of jurors in the twenty first century [from The Barrister earlier in the year].

To finish, and to look forward to the New Year, Sidmouth and Sidmouthians are very unlikely to be ending up in court over any such ‘nihilistic’ actions – but Sidmouth and Sidmouthians will be ploughing their own course during 2024.

Lots to look out for – to be aware of – and to act on!