It’s not the weather – it’s the climate that’s terrible. Save Our Shropshire is on a mission to educate the county about climate change.
Storm Arwen leaves 30,000 homes without power. Fires in Greece and Spain. Drought in Africa. But Shropshire has also had its problems. Back in January 2021, the county experienced massive floods. One TV reporter said of the floods, “This is the fourth time this one in a hundred-year event has happened in the last 20 years!”.
The weather is what we see each day. But the climate is what is happening to that weather over a much longer period. Unfortunately, that is getting a lot worse!
The daily weather results from problems that we human beings have created over the last 300 years, starting with the industrial revolution in Coalbrookdale.
Fixing it is an emergency
Humans’ use of coal, oil and gas has created a thicker blanket of gases (mainly Carbon Dioxide – CO2) in the atmosphere. The science is certain.
Now just imagine you left the tap running in the bath upstairs. The water is about to go over the edge of the bath and through the ceiling, crashing down onto the rooms below.
Now think of the water as carbon and the bath as the atmosphere. The atmosphere is almost at its limits. It is an emergency!
We need to change our lifestyle
Only we can fix it. On average, each household in Shropshire sends around 16 tonnes of CO2 type gases into the atmosphere each year. That’s roughly the same as eight hot air balloons each and 1.6 million collectively.
Government and Councils can do so much. But ultimately, they depend on what people think and do. So what we need is a massive behaviour change from people in Shropshire and everywhere else.
People need to adapt to three types of actions – Avoid, Shift, Improve (ASI).
Avoid – means people reduce demand for energy through less travel, less new clothing, and fewer appliances.
Shift – means people walk, cycle or use public transport instead of public vehicles.
Improve – means people install carbon-free energy sources and eat locally and seasonally. They replace petrol/diesel vehicles with electric vehicles.
So far, there are only around 800 electric cars out of the total of 160,000 in Shropshire – a long way to go.
People only adapt when they understand why they need to adapt. They need education.
The creation of Save Our Shropshire
As vice-chair of SALC, Allan Wilson recognised that none of the environmental groups in Shropshire focused on bringing about a fundamental shift in people’s behaviour.
He had carried out many driver training courses, which require drivers to change their behaviour.
Richard Watkins has spent 30 years helping companies make a significant shift in culture related to running their business. He gained a Carbon Literacy certificate around a year ago.
Together they saw the potential power of education to bring about required lifestyle changes and set up Save Our Shropshire in July this year (SOS CIO).
SOS CIO has now run courses for households, approved by the Carbon Literacy Project (CLP). We have designed them to help each householder pledge changes in their lifestyle – to drive, eat and heat for the planet.
SOS CIO has also pioneered with CLP a course for Parish/Town councils who are at the heart of our community. They will take the lead in helping households to make their lifestyle changes.
They are delivered virtually over the internet.
This twin-track approach will help people see the urgent need for change and make the required changes in their lifestyle. They are already making a difference. People are pledging to make changes to how they live following the courses they have attended.
There are just 200,000 households to go to stop letting off 1.6 million hot air balloons a year!
You can find out more about Save Our Shropshire by visiting: saveourshropshire.org
Book a place on the January course here:
Article by: Save Our Shropshire CIO, a registered charity – Charity Number 1195247