Conference 14th October 2021

Brief Summary and Responses 

On Thursday 14th October Climate Matters Staffordshire organised a conference at the Bridge Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. Councils across Staffordshire came together with representatives from Businesses, Voluntary and Community Organisations and Individuals to discuss their plans to tackle the Climate and ecological crises facing the world.


Chloe King and Saad Butt introduced the conference, sharing their concerns, as young people, about climate change but also how in their areas of work they could contribute to finding solutions.


The film ‘Do Something’ commissioned by Climate Matters Staffordshire to show the wide range of activities addressing climate change across Staffordshire was named because that is what children from a Stoke on Trent school demanded. Their passionate and well informed views were echoed by a Cannock pensioner proudly showing the solar panels on her council house. Having the solar panels and watching David Attenborough plus fears for her grandchildren had made her want to do all she could.


The overwhelming views of people who attended the conference was that it was a opportunity to bring councils and communities together for a positive dialogue on how everyone in Staffordshire must work together to deliver actions on climate change solutions.


Jonathon Porritt, Chancellor of Keele University and a Patron of Climate Matters Staffordshire sent a simple message for the beginning of the conference “An important conference, at an important time, with an appropriate emphasis on ACTIONS rather than yet more words.”


Joan Walley and Jeremy Lefroy, also Patrons were both able to attend the conference.

 

Joan Walley said “The agreements on  nationally determined contributions will be vital but so too will the preparedness of national and  local government to deliver on the UN targets agreed in Glasgow. That means councils, investors and civil society must make sure they are prepared to bring about the shift to net zero and nature recovery right here right now. Todays conference is an important step along this road. We have to be ambitious, committed and collaborative in this decade to have any chance of success and todays conference matters.”


Jeremy Lefroy, said “I was pleased to see so many groups and councils attending
and showing commitment to tackling climate and biodiversity crises, I really hope
that we see meetings like this every year so that Councils and others can talk
together”


Professor Zoe Robinson, Keele University, a speaker at the conference said:


"Tackling the climate emergency requires collaboration, listening to different perspectives, sharing best practices and discussing shared challenges. This important and timely Climate Matters Staffordshire event allowed that to happen across Staffordshire, and highlighted the important role that Councils play in driving down our regional greenhouse gas emissions and the progress being made.

 

Working with the Centre for Alternative Technology and their Innovation Lab approach, Keele University have been working with the 10 Councils of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to explore how collaboration can make action on climate change across the region go further and faster to meet the urgency the climate emergency demands."


The feedback from participants was very positive as illustrated by the following:

 

Phil Mayland, a Newcastle- under Lyme resident and a member of the Birmingham R.C. Archdiocese Justice and Peace Commission( which includes all of Staffordshire) and has recently formed a climate emergency action group said “ it is good that we are seen to be working in similar ways but still with not enough urgency”


Eileen Manley of Stafford Soroptomists:
Just wanted to say thank you for yesterdays impressive conference. I found it incredibly informative, and I'm so grateful you invited Sheila and me as Soroptimists to attend. I shall be feeding back to the Midland Chase Region as well as my own club, Stafford. In particular it's useful to know what we can do to support the cause. The messages I picked up yesterday were:

  1. Get Soroptimists involved in Citizens Panels and the like; 

  2. Lobby local as well as national politicians - especially about the planning laws which seem to favour the all-powerful developers; and 

  3. Find ways of influencing opinions in our local areas, to get people on board. 


Sarah Burgess from the CPRE:
“Thank you so much for organising the conference today. It was very interesting and useful to hear about what all the councils are doing, and to hear people’s thoughts and suggestions in the discussion.”

Anthony Walters:
“Quick note to say a resounding congratulations and thank you for today’s event at the Bridge. The quality of engagement/ commitment from the Council leadership/officers you brought to the table was outstanding.

 

After seven years of unanswered knocking at Lichfield City and District CounciIs ‘ political and executive doors, it was tremendously motivating. I sincerely hope that this County wisdom and energy can be garnished to push a door open. “


Mike Jones of moorlands Climate Action:
“Great to hear from councils, especially the CEO of Staffordshire County Council, very inspiring. Thanks for encouraging this. A very valuable day.”

The presentation by keynote speaker ( on zoom) Dr James Dyke, Assistant Director of the Global Systems Institute, and Programme Director of the MSc Global Sustainability Solutions at the University of Exeter can be summarised thus:

The problem that we have got is as we exit the Holocene we are going into a much much warmer, a much much more turbulent world and a world which certainly in our human civilisation we have never experienced. 


“The changes we are putting in place today are entirely unprecedented for all of human civilisation. Ultimately if you want to make any contribution you are not going to be any good if you are sitting in the corner gibbering, it takes work!"

 

"Its people like Climate Matters Staffordshire which are ultimately making the change which is really important”


In summing up the Conference, Michaela Fyson, Chair of Climate Matters Staffordshire said “James highlighted the extreme danger that human faces from climate change and was a firm reminder that everyone in Staffordshire must work together."

 

In the words of the children in our film, Staffordshire Climate Matters will do all we can to encourage everyone in Staffordshire to ‘DO SOMETHING’ for the future of our children