A Report was sent to Swansea County Council from Climate and Community in January 2020. As a response to the climate emergency and its risks and the case for practical action in Swansea. including: public education, carbon negative food growing and a land based youth empowerment programme.
How serious is it and what we can we do about it?
Climate and Community’s report addresses the Climate Emergency and what can be done in Swansea. The short term impacts over the next 30 years that will affect the people of Swansea directly are food shortages with high risk of famine according to the governments own evidence: climate change risk assessment evidence report 2017. The capacity to grow food in the UK will be reduced according to government research by Cranfield University for Defra and international food imports cannot be relied on in the future.
“Degradation of high-grade agricultural land: due to increasing soil aridity, reduced water availability for irrigation, the depletion of soil organic matter and sea level rise. The proportion of agricultural land in England and Wales classed as ‘best and most versatile’ (Grades 1, 2 and 3a) is projected to decline from 38% to 9% by the 2050s under a high climate change scenario. Current crop production in areas of eastern England and Scotland could become unviable due to the combination of drying soils and lack of dependable water supplies for use on farms.” CCRA2 evidence report 2017 (page 38)
Swansea County Council must be congratulated for having already passed a resolution acknowledging a “Climate Emergency”. The question is how this resolution translates into initiatives and policy that will be effective and attainable. Swansea has the opportunity to pioneer climate action initiatives which could be scaled up all over the UK. The problem at the moment is that it is not clear to leadership and government what to do or how to do it in our democratic context in the timescale required.
What Climate and Community Propose
What is needed are pathways to behaviour change for ordinary people. This change of behaviour will most effectively be delivered from a number of community based projects rather than one or two large projects.
The Council needs to take a low cost, high impact approach using current resources and implement the following actions:
- Involve the people directly in a ‘Peoples’ Movement for Change’. The Council should actively promote and support popular education; about what challenges we are facing and what positive action people can take. Giving ordinary people places to find out information and meet like-minded people to facilitate community-based action.
- Establish food production within the rural-urban fringe. Swansea is well placed to facilitate larger holistic food growing projects which start to produce food in its rural-urban fringe.
- Create Youth Empowerment Projects. The Council should facilitate practical projects focussed on the younger people. We suggest starting with a carbon negative horticulture project on the rural-urban fringe organised along the lines of the 1930’s Civilian Conservation Corps. The primary objective would be to demonstrate the creation of coppice woodlands to support carbon negative horticulture.
- A copy of the full report is availble herehttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1x8wB3oKaRzQw35Ialb4E6rhVt1w6fmnpYaHQITPGa8s/edit?usp=sharing