North Devon parishes get together to tackle the climate emergency

Delegates at the North Devon Climate Action Planning event organised by 361 Community Energy. Pictur

Delegates at the North Devon Climate Action Planning event organised by 361 Community Energy. Picture: Steve Seatherton - Credit: Steve Seatherton

Parish councils from across North Devon have gathered to look at ways to tackle the climate emergency.

A total of 40 representatives from 16 local councils met on Saturday, October 26 at a special event to exchange ideas on the best way to do their bit.

The workshop at The Cedars was organised by 361 Community Energy CIC (361) and led by its chairman Gwen de Groot and independent science journalist Myc Riggulsford.

North Devon's own 'Greta', 361 Youth Ambassador Hannah Burge, aged 12, opened the event with a moving call to action which set the tone for the day.

Discussions ranged from how parishes can help to reverse the loss of habitat for insects and animals, reduce waste, reduce energy costs whilst creating warmer homes and buildings, improve rural transport, and monitor our carbon footprint.

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The discussions were facilitated by members of 361, the North Devon Biosphere, and Plastic-free North Devon.

"The North Devon Climate Action Planning event held by 361 Energy with North Devon Council was a hugely valuable meeting," said Bideford town councillor and chairman of its decarbonisation and environment committee James Craigie.

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"The ideas and creativity on display from parish councils across the area provides me with hope that together we can meet the challenges set to avoid catastrophic climate change.

"I felt that this was one of the most significant events in moving our communities towards meaningful and impactful action."

The outcome from the day was a list of actions parishes can take which will be included in a template action plan for all North Devon parishes to adapt. The plans are working documents and to be effective will need to involve residents of the parishes and not just councils. There was enthusiasm for parishes to continue working collaboratively, with support from North Devon Council.

The day was rounded off with a speech from 13-year-old 361 Youth Ambassador Seán O'Callaghan, who drew a parallel with World War Two, saying: "There's a quote from Churchill that I want to be able to say earnestly to my child: 'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.'

"The difference from the original meaning is that the 'conflict' is against our self-destruction; the 'much' is our salvation and our quality of life; the 'many' are us humans, our species; the 'few' are to the people like you and me who did our bit to help save our planet."

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