Sat, 18 Jan 2020
A vigil was held in Newbury town centre in solidarity with those affected by the fires in Australia and floods in Indonesia.
Around 50 people attended the event in Market Place on Friday, where a minute’s silence was held after speeches from local climate change campaigners.
The unprecedented fires in Australia have destroyed entire villages, caused thousands of people to leave their homes and have reportedly killed one billion animals.
The vigil was also for those affected by the recent floods in Indonesia, which are reported to have killed at least 66 people and displaced more than 36,000 in Jakarta, the capital.
Both the fires in Australia and floods in Indonesia have been linked to the climate emergency, and scientists predict more wildfires and extreme floods will occur as global temperatures rise.
Pam Cooper, who organised the event, said: “We can think globally and act locally.
“Let’s send a good strong message to Boris and Trump and Scott Morrison [prime minister of Australia].
“The world doesn’t belong to them and it doesn’t belong to us, either.
“We’re borrowing it from the next generation and we need to protect it.
“We’re going to pass it onto our children, who are going to very quickly tell us that there is no planet B.”
Sarah Mackfall also addressed the vigil and said that local crafters were making pouches for rescued kangaroos and koalas, to send to Australia.
She said: “Let’s let them know we’re thinking about them.”
West Berkshire district councillor Carolyne Culver (Green, Ridgeway) urged everyone at the vigil to take part in the public consultation on West Berkshire Council’s Environment Strategy.
The strategy is an action plan on how to address the climate emergency and get West Berkshire to carbon neutral by 2030.
She said: “This is your chance to influence what happens in West Berkshire.”
One of the people at the vigil, Kate Green, said she had a brother living in Australia and he had been affected by the fires.
She said: “We can’t get there but we can raise awareness. And raising awareness is free.”
The public have six weeks – until February 21 – to tell the council their views on the action plan to address the climate emergency.
After taking on board those views, the strategy will likely be given the green light on April 30.
The public consultation and full draft environment strategy is available at info.westberks.gov.uk/draftenvironmentstrategy
Reception pupils at Brightwalton Primary School penned messages of support and goodwill to firefighters battling Australia’s deadly fires.
In addition to the pictures and letters they drew, the students posted messages on the ‘High 5 a Hero’ Facebook page.
And their messages were clearly well received – several pupils have received responses back.
Firefighters from two stations on the Gold Coast – as well as from Port Macquarie, New South Wales – replied, thanking Brightwalton for its concern.