Tag Archives: Hope for the Future

Meeting with Jeremy Hunt

“You have chosen a week when I am about the most toxic man in the country.” So said Jeremy Hunt at the beginning of a meeting with a dozen of his constituents to discuss climate change.

The meeting, at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea, on April 29, was a postponement of a public one in March which Mr Hunt withdrew from, citing “unforeseen circumstances”. He agreed to a new meeting with a strictly limited number of constituents and, despite stating that he was “toxic” and that he assumed that “none of the group had voted for me”, he and the constituents sought to find common ground.

There were three main topics of discussion: flood prevention, particularly by planting trees on the Farnham floodplain; energy-efficient buildings; and alternative transport. Mr Hunt was particularly keen on the idea of cycling and said he wanted to press for more cycle lanes in Farnham and agreed that there was a need for “a paradigm shift.”

He added: “I pay tribute to Ken Livingstone – and it is not a fashionable day to do that – because he brought in the congestion charge in London and put the money he made into improving bus travel. In London there are more frequent buses, more bus lanes, and in London there has been a paradigm shift.” He said that he wanted to encourage people to cycle because “every one person we can get to cycle is one out of a car or (in London) off the tube”. However, he would not yet make any commitment to campaigning for alternatives to cars powered by fossil fuels as he said he believed that first Farnham needs to be pedestrianised and then the town could rethink its public transport. He said he believed in “small steps”, though some in the group begged to differ that this was a small step.

On the subject of flood prevention, Mr Hunt said that in Godalming a £3.4million scheme to put in flood defences had just been signed off so he did not seem to feel the need to consider Farnham at the moment.

Mr Hunt did agree to talk to Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, on the subject of why the government policy for zero-carbon new homes had been cancelled. He also agreed that the meeting was the start of ongoing discussions with his consituents and said that he would be happy to meet them again after the summer break, perhaps in September.

Cathedral to host top eco-experts to inspire action on climate change

Guildford Cathedral is set to host a number of top experts on environmental issues in a public forum on climate change on 9 February (7.45 pm). Entitled Stories of Hope, it will be a chance for people of all faiths and none to meaningfully contribute to discussions on tackling climate change.

The evening is being held following the global agreement to keep the increase in global temperatures to ‘well below’ 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, which was decided at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of last year.

Ben Niblett of Tearfund, Jo Musker-Sherwood of Hope for the Future, and Ruth Valerio of A Rocha UK will speak, and there will be a Q&A with Diocesan Environmental Adviser Revd Lesley Crawley.

The Bishop of Guildford, Rt Revd Andrew Watson, who will open the event said: “February 2016 is an excellent time to take stock following the Paris Summit on climate change. With a fabulous line-up of speakers I’d really encourage people to come along to this evening conference, so that we might become better stewards of the rich environment in which God has placed us.”

A Rocha UK’s Churches and Theology Director, Ruth Valerio will also help to launch ‘Eco-church’ – a programme of action and awareness-raising to help parishes make the spaces they worship more eco-friendly.

Diocesan Environmental Adviser and Farnham vicar, the Revd Lesley Crawley said: “Eco-church will offer simple and measurable ways to make a difference to the environment. I am really excited about the opportunities for environmental action in our local communities and the nation as a whole, and feel that the tide is changing for the better.”

All are welcome to attend the event, which will be an opportunity to think about how best for everyone to respond to the outcome of the recent climate talks in Paris.