In which Steve Dyke ponders how seriously Medway Council and the government are taking climate issues that effect us all..
I hate to admit it, but we are likely to be governed nationally and locally by Conservative politicians for the foreseeable future. These are some thoughts on what this may mean for Medway’s natural environment.
The outlook will be shaped both by actions taken (or not taken) to respond to the climate and ecological crises we face, and by the attitude of those in power. Two documents published this year will have an important influence: the Government’s Environment Bill (“the Bill”), reintroduced into Parliament earlier this month, and the long-awaited release of Medway Council’s draft Local Plan.
In which Steve Dyke takes a look at what each party is pledging to do to tackle climate change, with very mixed results..
Thanks in no small part to David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, school strikers, Extinction Rebellion and the predictions of IPCC scientists, the environment (and in particular the climate emergency) has featured in this General Election campaign far more than in previous ones. In the past, such issues were largely the preserve of the Green Party, for whom environmental protection is a core principle. However in 2019 it seems as if any serious political party feels it must have policies and pledges to attract voters concerned with the climate crisis. Do I personally feel attracted by what is on offer?
In which Steve Dyke tells us what our Green MEP has been up to in the European Parliament..
Thanks in part to the fairer voting system of proportional representation, since 1999 the Medway Towns have had the good fortune to be represented by a Green Party Member of the European Parliament (‘MEP’). This is as part of the South East England constituency and our elected members have been Caroline Lucas and, since she became an MP at Westminster, Keith Taylor. Keith is retiring at the imminent unplanned election but I am confident that there will be continue to be a Green representative for the South East after May 23rd (Alex Phillips, a Green councillor from Brighton & Hove is our lead candidate). There are also Green MEPs currently representing London and the South West.
In which we ask Steve Dyke to give us the green view, so he offers us a terrifying vision of our climate future..
‘Brexit’ seems to have dominated the news for years, so some may have forgotten that last October, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report on the impacts if ‘global warming’ raises the Earth’s temperature by 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. At the current rate of increase this temperature will be reached sometime between 2030 and 2052 – and then continue to rise. Please do not be deceived by phrase ‘global warming’, which suggests something pleasant and harmless, because in reality we are in a state of climate emergency and seem headed inexorably towards a climate breakdown.
In which we ask Steve Dyke to give us the green view from Strood..
This is a personal vision for the place I have lived in for fifty plus years. ‘Strood’ is used here as shorthand for the urban area west/north of the River Medway, bounded by the M2, the A289 bypass and the river itself. It therefore includes Frindsbury, Wainscott and other former hamlets.
If you do not know the area you may associate it with the A2 or the Medway Tunnel, perhaps with Medway City Estate or one of our three McDonalds drive-thrus. Now a dormitory town with some light industry and retail, its physical separation from the other Medway Towns gives it a distinctive character as far as I am concerned. Please don’t tell me I live in Rochester.
If asked to choose a colour to represent Strood you may well pick grey, which is often the predominant colour in the town.
However a satellite map of the area shows splashes of green, such as the open spaces of Rede Common, Broomhill Park and Church Green, as well as recreation grounds, school fields, cemeteries and churchyards. Walk the area and you find nature in unexpected or unplanned places: down half-forgotten alleyways or within derelict sites, on railway embankments and the margins of housing estates.