Originally posted as: https://readingcan.org.uk/christmas-2019-message-from-the-chair
The close of 2019 is rapidly approaching. It has been a huge year for us, as now a growing Reading Climate Action Network. A lot of good things have happened:
- We declared a Climate Emergency in February, which has been a powerful inspiration;
- Our board has strengthened, and capacity is building in some of our partners, for example the Council’s appointment of Peter Moore into a new post, as Climate Change Manger for RBC;
- New sub-networks are building, including the Reading Business CAN;
- There have been a lots of climate change related events, directly or indirectly connected with us, from Theme workshops to the inspiring Climate Strike and the Strategy launch;
- The first Reading Adaptation Plan is finished, and will be uploaded here soon;
- And, of course big job of writing the new Strategy has dominated the second half of the year, with a growing number of us shaping Reading’s direction for the next 5 years.
There have been challenges as well. Personally, it has been heavy going, trying to balance the chairship with the day job, fatherhood / family life and being a musician. Thank you for being patient if I have been slow to respond. I know I am not alone here, and I am hugely grateful to all of you who have put your time, knowledge and passion into ReadingCAN. We do rely on good will and volunteering. I know this has limits but I hope the seeds we sow here will help us grow and will help us build the case for more support (people and money).
Speaking about challenges, there has of course been a General Election. As I work in the public sector, I had to observe 5 weeks of pre-election silence. This was important but the timing was not great for the Strategy work. And the final result did not go the way I hoped it might. I noted the other party manifestos did offer more optimistic lines on climate change, which could have given us a real lift. However, there was no escape from the vortex of Brexit in this election.
The climate is still changing though, and this makes what we are doing even more important! We need to be there for our colleagues, families and friends in Reading. We need to show leadership; we need to support each-other; and we need to grow, learn and inspire over the next 5 years. We can make a real difference in bringing our carbon footprint down, and preparing the town for more extreme weather…the consequences of climate change. And we are not the only town doing this – the majority of Local Authorities have now declared Climate Emergencies so there is a wider network we can reach out to.
Where there is a will there is a way!
I wish you all Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
ReadingCAN / RCCP Chair