Meeting Summaries 2018 - 2019
We started the year by deciding to focus on transport to consider how it could be made more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
In September we looked at an overview of transport. It accounts for about one third of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK but levels have barely dropped since 1990.
In October we had an extra meeting when we visited the technologically advanced chipboard plant Egger in Hexham to see their efforts to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
In our main meeting we returned to our theme of transport and looked at ways to create change which can be possible through governance, raising awareness, individual action, pressure from economics and different attitudes to ownership (eg UBER, shared car/bike schemes etc). We looked at the many different levels of governance from international to national and local.
Our November meeting was an excellent roundup of transport on land, sea and air by one of the group. This ranged from a historical perspective to current and future ideas.
Following the overview of transport in December we shared ideas which are beginning to help sustainability. These ranged from car and lift sharing to flexible rural buses to Northern powerhouse rail and Hydrogen fuel cells for trains and cars.
We continued this thread in January looking at electric buses and new battery powered trains for branch lines.
February saw us looking at the environment from an international perspective being prompted by recent reports from the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UN Framework on Climate Change. This conference looked at the preparations for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. One example of the evidence for urgent action came from the problems caused in Tuvalu - a low lying small island in the Pacific Ocean.
In March and April the group followed this up by other examples such as the developments in Bangladesh, the Canary Islands and wild fires in Tasmania. The American and UK domestic energy use were explored.
In April we had a trip out to the Watchtree Nature reserve where we had a talk about its development and a walk round to see all the amazing successes. It was interesting to hear that there had been a number of international visitors who were keen to emulate these successes.
June brought us back to an international theme by looking at the environmental challenges facing New Zealand and Australia compared with those of the UK.
Our last meeting in July before the Summer break was a trip to The Sill which is the UK’s National Landscape Discovery Centre at Once Brewed in the Northumberland National Park. We had a fascinating talk by the National Park Ecologist which covered how the Park is addressing climate change including flood management, working on peat bogs, and tree planting. She also took the group up onto the living roof of The Sill and explained how and why is was created. We then explored the other exhibitions and cafe!