Marnhull Eco Day - 19th October 2019

Thanks to Christina for this account of the day's events.

The Marnhull Eco Day held in the village hall was organised by Sustainable Dorset’s Jenny Morisetti and was really well attended. It was a positive and informative event and in addition to the speakers, there were display stands and stalls covering issues ranging from the carbon footprint of our food and purchase of fresh flowers to Lucy’s Coconut and Cotton, along with several others of interest.

The gathering was opened by Dave Smith who introduced the speakers, the first of whom was Neil Morisetti, Honorary Professor and Director of Strategy at University College London’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy Department and formerly the government’s special representative for climate change. Neil Morisetti’s talk provided an overview of the current climate emergency, outlining the key areas of concern, what the implications are and the time frame for what might be done about them. He described how the pace of climate change is the fastest in the planet’s history and that humans are contributing to it. He pointed to the frequency of high temperatures in formerly more temperate climates, the frequency of extreme weather events and how globally widespread these now are. Not only is the polar ice melting at a greater rate than ever before and with the repercussions of the rising sea levels, but the seas themselves are becoming warmer and more acidic, and contributing to those very extreme weather events.

The meeting was reminded of how countries in the equatorial belt are already being affected by climate change factors, consequences including crop failures, high food prices, instability in the region and increased migration. He thus illustrated how the rest of the world, notably Europe, is affected by this situation; and yet northern hemisphere countries are also seeing the effect of those weather patterns on crop yield reduction, disruption to food supply chains and other negative impacts on the economy and global trade.

When it came to the government’s declaration on the Climate Emergency, Neil Morisetti said that words are not enough and immediate and collective action needs to be taken: this means a long-term strategy involving everyone of us. With 97% of scientists agreeing that there is a human-made climate emergency, we need to listen since they, along with climate technologists, are also the people who are working on solutions. The government needs to create a framework but so do our local councils since they are in a position to inform and educate local people, explain the benefits of changing behaviour but not delivering a negative, ‘doom and gloom’ narrative which can only alienate them. Suggestions he made for individual action