Organisations answered a “call to action” as they made environmental pledges at the first ever Tameside Green Summit.
Businesses, public services and voluntary and community groups gathered at Dukinfield Town Hall for today’s event (6 Nov), organised by Tameside Council.
It was an opportunity to gain an understanding of Greater Manchester’s environmental ambitions and link with work in Tameside on green issues.
Delegates heard presentations from leading experts, debated key topics and concluded by making environmental pledges for themselves and their organisations, which will have a positive impact on the environment and climate change.
Speakers included Tameside Council Executive Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington; Professor Kevin Anderson, from the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester, on climate science; Councillor Alex Ganotis, Greater Manchester’s lead for environmental issues and climate change, on what’s happening in Greater Manchester; and street design engineer Brian Deegan on the Greater Manchester cycling and walking challenge.
Young people also played their part with presentations by Tameside Youth Council members Jacob Hirst and Emily Sykes and a video by of Millbrook Primary School pupils – the next generation who will live with the consequences of a failure to act.
Delegates were able to quiz speakers and split into focus groups to discuss topics including transport, buildings and energy, natural capital, sustainable consumption and production and climate resilience.
Cllr Warrington described it as the “most significant of events”, pointing out reports on increasing plastic pollution, global temperature rises and health problems caused by air pollution.
She said: “Protecting the environment, cleaning up our air, and promoting sustainable living are not things that we can put to one side to worry about later. The consequences of not taking action are playing out now and we are witnessing the damage it is causing.
“Instead of losing ourselves in the sheer vastness of the problem, we need to identify what we can do here and now. Small but achievable changes in consumption and lifestyle; residents and organisations alike reducing, reusing and recycling, can add up to a massive impact if we all commit to them.
“It’s our children and grandchildren’s futures that are at risk so we do not have the option of standing by and doing nothing.”
Cllr Warrington gave examples of Russell Scott Primary School pupils using Clean Air Day to educate parents about congestion and pollution from idling vehicles, and Millbrook Primary School pupils using National Recycle Week to learn about recycling and reducing waste, to show how young people are leading the way.
Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to make it a productive and successful first Tameside Green Summit, as well as those who helped organise this important event.
“Organisations and individuals took away lots of great ideas on how they can make changes to help the environment and I hope everyone across Tameside will do what they can as, if we work together, we will all make a difference.”
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