ALTON made its stand on the world stage on Friday (September 20) as climate change campaigners added their voices to the universal demand for action to ‘save our planet’.
Lead by Alton Climate and Awareness Network (ACAN), the sun shone on activists, giving it a party atmosphere, but the tone was serious: “The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we.”
They began by raising their voices in song, to the tune of ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’ but with a clear environmental message: ‘What can we do about global warming: shrink our carbon footprint!’
With time of the essence, in her opening address, ACAN chairman Eleanor Hill said that while national and local government were making the right noises by declaring a climate emergency, they had yet to show they understood the meaning of “immediate” action.
The young people there agreed with her. Hailing from Alton College, Amery Hill, Eggar’s and even Wootey Junior School, they had one disturbing thing in common – they were passionate in the belief that there was little point in obtaining an education if their world is under threat. With only 11 years left, according to world leaders, to prevent irreversible damage from climate change, they wanted to “shout” at the government to get on with finding a way to protect their future.
In describing the climate emergency as “one of the greatest challenges humanity has faced”, district and town climate champion Ginny Boxall said at local level Alton Town Council was taking its role seriously by looking at ways to tackle its own in-house carbon footprint and to act as a catalyst for change within the wider community.
East Hampshire District Council too was working hard to bring forward a series of initiatives “to tackle climate change head on”.
With the emphasis too on individuals to play their part, she urged everyone to “reduce your own carbon emissions and make a real difference to our planet”.
Other speakers included fellow Councillor Paula Langley, who stressed the need for more investment in public transport and to get large corporate companies to play their part in finding a solution to the climate emergency.
In acknowledging the work in Alton of other climate-conscious groups like Energy Alton, Mrs Hill drew the rally to a close by acknowledging that as a senior campaigner she had been “part of one of the luckiest generations ever”, with no wars and so many opportunities, but the time had come for change: “We all have a serious responsibility to our young people to change our lives: to reduce our carbon footprint, change what we eat, buy and do.”