WWT Arundel Wetland Centre invited Rt Hon Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel & South Downs to join them on Friday 6 July for a cream tea and a heart-to-heart about climate change. Arundel Wetland Centre Manager Tim MacGregor and Reserve Manager Paul Stevens gave Nick Herbert an overview of flood resilience and habitat creation work completed in 2017 with funding from Viridor Credits Environmental Company as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.
Town residents who work at Arundel Wetland Centre attended to discuss local issues like flooding, alternative energy sources, carbon footprints and sustainable drainage systems and asked for Nick Herbert’s support to help ensure the UK’s climate targets are strong enough to meet the ambition in the landmark 2015 Paris Climate agreement. There was discussion about the UK to aiming for “net zero” emissions by 2050, tightening the existing goal to cut greenhouse gases by 80% as other countries have done.
Discussing the causes of climate change, Nick Herbert told WWT volunteers and staff:
“I’m optimistic about the future. In transport, cars are becoming more and more efficient and we’re moving towards electric cars. Energy is a bigger challenge, we’re a small island that needs a lot of energy and it has to be generated somewhere.”
The event was part of the Speak Up Week, in which thousands of local people tried to meet with their MPs across the country in the week of 30th June – 8th July. From nature walks to church tea parties, people of all ages and from all walks of life tried to make sure their politicians see how much their constituents care about what we could lose to climate change.
Tim McGregor said, “It was great to have Nick visit and hear his interest in and continued support of local issues around climate change. We were happy to share how we (WWT) have reduced our carbon footprint by 20% in 5 years and are eliminating single use plastics by selling canned water and drinks and giving discounts to visitors who use refillable cups in our cafe.”
The Speak Up Week is organised by The Climate Coalition – a group of over 130 organisations including the WWT, Women’s Institute, Christian Aid, National Trust, WWF, CAFOD and Tearfund as well as local groups. It is part of an ongoing effort to encourage our government to raise carbon emission targets to a more ambitious level to protect the people, places and life we love from climate change. This year’s Speak Up Week builds on two years of community activity which has seen nearly 2000 events involving hundreds of MPs.