‘We owe it to our kids and grandkids to try and fix the damage to our planet before it is too late’-Councillor Darren Rodwell.

Barking and Dagenham’s Leader of the Council Councillor Darren Rodwell today writes on the recent COP26 conference in Glasgow.

I went to COP26, the UN’s Climate Change Conference.Commitments made by World Leaders are a sign that more and more people are waking up to impact of climate change already, let alone in the future if we don’t act now.

Tackling climate change isn’t about gluing yourself to motorways or hugging trees, nor is it a war on motorists or a way to generate money. 

Tackling climate change is about protecting the earth and improving the environment for our kids and grandkids, so that it doesn’t become unrecognisable from the one we grew up in. 

We can already see the effects, from plastic in our rivers and oceans, to extreme weather events locally like tornados and flash flooding. 

In London children are dying because of dirty, polluting cars. Many more find themselves unable to go outside.

Around the world it is even more stark. Nature is suffering because of our actions. People in already challenging situations face yet more hardship.

The answer isn’t to do nothing. We must tap in our one of our greatest resources: our young people. They’re motivated to change the world for the better. We all remember that feeling.

The difference is that if they aren’t successful, life will get harder for everyone. At COP26, Sir David Attenborough said, “Ultimately all of us will feel the impact, some of which are now unavoidable.” We should do whatever we can to try and lessen that impact. 

We must change some of our ways, and at times it’s going to be difficult. But I also came away from COP26 excited about the potential from green technology, energy and industry. If we get it right we will see new sectors and jobs thriving in boroughs like ours where we stand ready to embrace it.

We’ve already expanded our recycling programme, we are planting thousands of trees, providing more electric vehicle charging points and I am lobbying government for grants to allow more of us to give up polluting cars and make the switch to electric.

We won’t stop looking for ways to create a cleaner and greener borough. We’re trying, but we can’t do it without you. Do it for future generations and make sure you’re on the right side of history. 

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