MORE than 200 people were at Brockenhurst village hall to hear from a panel of experts on the need for a net zero-carbon Britain by 2030 and what that means for people in the New Forest.
The evening was hosted by Debbie Tann, chief executive of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, who introduced the twin subjects of climate change and biodiversity loss, and how they are both affecting us.
The trust has recently launched its Wilder 10-year Plan, and is calling on the public for help in putting nature-based solutions at the forefront of tackling the climate emergency.
Kate Chapman of Midori Consulting highlighted some of the challenges the New Forest can expect in the coming warmer climate, such as the flood-risk in low-lying parts of Lymington and Milford, and the invasion of new species which outcompete our native trees and insects.
Kate also presented a vision of the New Forest becoming a world leading sustainable tourist destination, benefitting locals and wildlife alike, and gave examples of funding available to help transform communities.
Paul Allen, national coordinator of the Zero Carbon Britain project, based at the Centre for Alternative Technology, presented existing solutions to the climate emergency that had been tested and would result in a healthier population and planet.
For example, the NHS recommended diet almost exactly matches a low carbon diet; housing retrofitted or built with better insulation paid for itself within 20 years and lowered bills; improving cycle networks reduced health costs; using technology to map journeys and plan public transport accordingly reduced reliance on and the expense of running several cars per family; and a UK that could produce all its own energy from renewable sources within 11 years.
Find the plan at www.cat.org.uk/info-resources/zero-carbon-britain.
The event was organised by the New Forest Zero Carbon Alliance which comprises New Forest Extinction Rebellion, New Forest Friends of the Earth, New Forest Green Party, Greenpeace and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
A spokesperson said: “The overall feel of the evening was an optimistic one of happier, healthier communities and planet that is well within our grasp, and several towns and cities are already racing to adopt the necessary changes.”
Mr Allen said: “Martin Luther King didn’t say he had a nightmare, he had a dream of a better world and that’s what we need to aim towards. It’ll be different but it honestly can be better if we all embrace it.
“Nationally, the plan’s impediments are lack of political will and citizen awareness, and these are where efforts needed to be focused.”