Updated: Apr 20, 2020
The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, is very clear:
1. The planet is overheating as a result of greenhouse gas emissions and if we continue the current trajectory of planetary consumption, we are moving towards temperature increases in excess of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This level of increase activates tipping points pushing the planet into an irreversible hothouse scenario of catastrophic heating. We are currently at about 1-degree Celsius above pre-industrialised levels, rising at a rate of about 0.17 degrees every 10 years.
2. Artic sea ice melting will result in 10% of the UK population migrating within the country due to lower ground flooding as sea levels rise 60cm to 1.9m by 2100. The current Jersey Shoreline Management Plan model predicts more flooding but as yet no displacement.
3. Ocean acidification caused by increasing levels of carbon absorption into the oceans will double by 2100 destroying sea life through their inability to make shells and bones structure.
4. Air, soil and water pollution from plastics and chemicals, water depletion, soil erosion leading to soil infertility, deforestation and animal habitat loss all contribute to the current 6th mass extinction event on planet earth.
To avoid a mass extinction scenario, an action plan to move onto a 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway of carbon neutrality by 2025-2030 must be agreed.
The famous, unascribed quote, “We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors; We Borrow It from Our Children” is apt. We cannot live without nature. We must remember how to reconnect and live with nature.
This war against nature must be treated as an emergency, where we put climate change at the heart of every action that we take every day. We have less than 30 years to change the current 2+ degrees Celsius extinction to a 1.5 degrees Celsius future.
It’s unfair to expect our political leaders to take sole responsibility for decisions of such magnitude in the States Assembly. The people of Jersey need to give them a climate emergency mandate, a unified voice of the Islanders of Jersey. Grouville is the first country parish to join St Helier in passing an emergency proposition requiring our Constable to draw up an action plan. It is hoped that other country parishes take similar action and these consolidate into a Government of Jersey Climate Emergency Policy, representing the voice of the whole community. A Citizens Panel could manage Jersey wide issues, calling expert witnesses and making community decisions, just as select committees in the House of Commons have decided to do this autumn to explore costs of policy choices and inform political debate.
If an action plan is to reflect the voice of the whole community it needs to comprise members of Parish Municipality, Business Leaders in the Parish, Individuals living in the Parish. It’s particularly important to ensure that younger people’s views and opinions are also considered. After all, they will experience the success of failure of our collective decisions and actions.
“Environmental Grouville”, the Face Book group supporting the proposition has encouraged discussion over the last couple of months. The main themes may indicate topics within the Action Working Group:
1. Island wide greenhouse gas emissions from transport is the biggest single problem to be addressed. Networks of green lanes where cars are banned were suggested, encouraging safe walking and cycling, and protecting wildlife.
2. Whilst there is a lack of clarity on current nitrate levels in our drinking water our parish farmers have made significant inroads on leaching and there are examples of visionary best practices across the Island to be shared which may reduce nitrate levels further.
3. Rewilding and planting of trees on the common.
4. The need for separated litter bins to help recycling and the generation of income from recycling as has been done in the parish of St Helier.
5. Introduction of green sources of electricity such as solar, wind or tidal power.
Discussion topics not under the control of the parish could be included in the final action plan as recommendations for a Jersey Citizens Panel to review.
Every parishioner is encouraged to consider the ecological impact of every action taken each day. This sort of responsibility will support the creation of a 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway for our parish, linking up with our Island contribution to create a future for our children and our grandchildren.
The proposition was passed by 29 votes for to 12 votes against.
If you live in Grouville and are interested in joining the Action Working Groups commencing September, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also join the Facebook group which you can find by searching for Environmental Grouville.