Wednesday, 30 June 2021

London Overheating

Temperatures in Canada broke records for the third day running on Tuesday 29th June 2021: 49.6C (121.3F) in Lytton, British Columbia. [BBC: Canada weather: Dozens dead as heatwave shatters records]

Could extreme heat waves happen in London? The UK Met Office thinks ‘YES. It released this Weather forecast for July 2050 based on UK Climate Projections.


The UK government has an opportunity to set an example on tackling the climate crisis, when it hosts the international COP26 climate conference this November (2021). But to do that, it needs to stop widening motorways, not allow new coal mines or new oil exploration in the North Sea, and require car manufacturers to promote small, light cars instead of the massive, energy-guzzling, Chelsea tractors (SUVs) that they are currently so keen to sell.

Ealing residents: if we don't want ourselves or our children and grandchildren to suffer these unbearable temperatures, then lets press the politicians to act on climate change and not give in to the petroleum lobby. In the Netherlands, 26% of journeys are made by bike, in Denmark it's 18%, but in England it's a miserable 2% ... surely we in Ealing can do better than that!

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Environment Hustings for Ealing and Hillingdon London Assembly candidates

Do London’s political candidates think the climate is a priority?

Wednesday April 28 2021

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM  On-Line, Free.

Come and find out how important the climate emergency is to the candidates for the Ealing and Hillingdon London Assembly seat at an online hustings. We will be asking them to sign a Climate Action Pledge which will commit them to making the climate a top priority.

Our representative will also have influence on the Mayor to push for a clean, green and fair future – locally in Ealing and Hillingdon and at a London-wide level too.

For more information, and how to register, see here:

Do London’s political candidates think the climate is a priority?

On-Line Zoom Meeting: Please register at the above link to attend. Free.


Wednesday, 27 January 2021

UN: Pledge to take part in the fight against climate change

 

The United Nations climate conference COP26 in Glasgow in November hosted by the UK, is fast approaching.

 

 

 


The UN has a Citizens Climate Pledge for people to sign, a carbon footprint calculator, and suggested actions for individuals to take:

I am a Citizen

 

All the more urgent, when ...

In the news this January

Sobering new report says world is failing to grasp the extent of threats posed by biodiversity loss and the climate crisis.

[Guardian 13th January]


 

 

Climate crisis: world is at its hottest for at least 12,000 years

[Guardian 27th January]



Thursday, 29 October 2020

Citizen's Assembly Reaches Judgement

 

UK Citizen's Assembly

The first UK-wide citizens’ assembly on climate change has published its final report. The assembly was set up by the House of Commons and brought together 100+ people from all walks of life and of all shades of opinion to discuss how the UK should meet its target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

Find out more and see what they concluded here: https://www.climateassembly.uk/ 

Among their suggestions is a stopping the sale of the most polluting vehicles such as SUVs, with some support for an outright ban on SUVs. A conclusion that is all the more understandable given that ...

SUVs are 2nd Largest Cause of Global Rise in CO2 Emissions Over Past Decade


International Energy Agency researchers have found that SUVs are the second largest cause of the global rise in carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade, eclipsing all shipping, aviation, heavy industry and even trucks. Each year, SUVs belch out 700 megatonnes of CO2, about the entire output of the UK and Netherlands combined. There are now campaigns to at the very least ban SUV advertising as a first step to curbing these filthy monsters.

Full story in the Guardian: How SUVs conquered the world – at the expense of its climate

Killing Machines

It's not just the pollution and environmental destruction. In an accident, the high sides of SUVs tend to strike pedestrians and cyclists on the upper torso, meaning that they are more likely to go under the car and be crushed. A study in three Michigan cities found that one hundred percent of pedestrians in SUV collisions at speeds of 40 mph or greater died, versus 54 percent who were struck by cars. Children, being shorter, are especially menaced by these vehicles.

Ealing Council LTN Consultation

Ealing Council has rolled out an on-line consultation on its Low Traffic Neighbourhoods based on an interactive map. You can learn about the review and monitoring of the LTNs and make your comments on Ealing's trial low traffic neighbourhoods project on Commonplace by clicking 'View map and comment'. 

 

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

We need new green jobs, not a bail-out of the planet-destroying industries

As we emerge from lock down, the world has to create new jobs in the green industries of the future, not bail out big-oil and aviation whose emissions are putting our very existence on this planet in peril. Temperatures this month have been as high as an astonishing 38C in the Siberian Arctic. [See: "Arctic Circle sees 'highest-ever' recorded temperatures"]


It's urgent that the UK government fully backs plans by local councils such as Ealing's to go carbon neutral ASAP and matches those efforts with a national plan.

The science is clear. Failure to act would mean that we would stumble out of the Covid crisis only to face a looming and far worse climate catastrophe.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Walk or cycle to stay healthy, cut pollution & CO2 emissions, and avoid Covid

Traffic volumes in London before the Covid pandemic were already causing air pollution that kills over 9000 Londoners every year, and producing CO2 emissions that contribute to the looming climate catastrophe. Now, with the reduced capacity of public transport due to Covid we need a safe alternative that doesn’t involve burning oil to move around thousands of one and a half ton metal boxes (cars), typically containing just a single passenger each.


So it's good news that Ealing Council and the London Mayor aim to to make it safer to walk or cycle. But to transform our city we need first class cycling provision. What does that mean?

First Class cycling provision IS:

and it’s NOT:

Smooth, broad, segregated cycle paths

Narrow, patched & potholed routes, only a white line separating them from traffic, full of speed bumps and parked cars.

Continuous routes

Broken by stretches of busy roads or dangerous junctions.

Direct and uninterrupted routes that would be straightforward and safe for a child cyclist.

‘All around the houses’ routes with endless turns, multiple buttons to press at controlled junctions, requiring frequents stops and even dismounts to stay safe.

Frequent stops (more than 5 times a mile) could double the energy required from the cyclist.

Away from pollution hot-spots

Next to highly polluted major roads

Equipped with secure, convenient and dry parking at destinations like schools, colleges, workplaces, shopping centres, entertainment complexes and stations.

Without anywhere genuinely secure to leave your bike.


The Dutch have done it - why can't we?


We know first class cycling provision. is possible because the Dutch (and others) have done it. Take a look at these short videos about the truly inspirational cycling facilities in Holland:


"How the Dutch got their cycle paths" [6 minutes]

 

"Utrecht: Planning for People & Bikes, Not for Cars" [13 minutes]




What are Ealing doing?


A map by active travel charity Sustrans enables people to view their local authority’s response to the Covid-19 crisis in the provision of safe infrastructure for walkers and cyclists. (Note: On the Sustrans website, to see the map, you need to open the link “head to the map here” near the end of the article).


You can catch up on what Ealing Council is planning by viewing this video from Julian Bell, Ealing Council leader, about new cycle lanes.



Ask for more!

If you can suggest a cycling improvement, contact your councillors. You could also add your suggestion to this interactive map that allows people to suggest improvements for walking or cycling: WidenMyPath

How about ...

  • Secure covered bike parking in town centres and supermarket car parks.

  • Facilities for a cycle rickshaw service to take you and your shopping home. Or speed-limited, electric TukTuks.

 

  •  A safe route across a busy junction.



Links:

Ealing Cycling Campaign

Video by Dave Watson: Top Tips for Cycling in London

"How cycling could help solve the coronavirus transport crisis" - video from The Guardian.




Friday, 14 February 2020

Working with local schools

Ealing Friends of the Earth has been visiting local schools to give talks on environmental issues. Currently we have two talks designed for primary school children:

Plastic Waste (+ Re-Usable Bottles) 

This talk was designed for the earlier years (e.g. years 1-3) and to be fun, informative and not scary. It shows how we should avoid generating plastic waste because while natural materials break down in a compost heap, plastics do not. And it promotes the use of tap water in re-fillable water bottles (or from a water fountain) instead of buying water. It includes some short film clips showing a speeded up compost heap and how plastic gets carried into the sea.

The Environment and Air Pollution (+ walking or cycling to school)

The second talk is designed for slightly older children to introduce the concept of 'an environment' and then focus on the issue of air pollution. It makes use of views of Earth from space so that our atmosphere is seen as precious and finite, and something we need to care for just as astronauts care for air in the space station. One way children can help to reduce air pollution is to walk or cycle when possible, rather than travel by car.


This January we gave the plastics talk to two assembly groups covering
Years 1-3 at Little Ealing school, and we gave both talks at Hambrough Primary School in Southall - the plastics talk for the earlier years (Key Stage 1) and the air pollution talk for the older children (KS2).

The photos show Ealing Friends of the Earth volunteers Sheila and Donald speaking at the Hambrough assemblies, where they also stayed on to do some class workshops.