24 February 2020
What is Talking Point?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every fortnight. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's Question: What local issues should take council priority in 2020?
2020 is the year that the City Council needs to take decisive action to establish what steps we need to take locally to address the Climate Emergency. The Council should set up a Citizen’s Assembly to make recommendations.
The challenge is a huge one and it touches all areas of our lives. A Citizen’s Assembly cannot produce a definitive blueprint, but what it can do is to identify the areas we need to be thinking about together most urgently.
Everyone is agreed that the climate is the defining issue of our day. How we respond will determine our future on the planet, but the challenge is so huge that we can feel overwhelmed and helpless in the face of it. All political parties talk about the need to do something, movements such as Extinction Rebellion and the School Strikes for the Climate show how widespread concern is.
The Council needs to show it is listening to this concern by taking steps to address the global crisis locally. Mapping out what we are doing collectively will give a sense of purpose and hope, where inaction only produces frustration, disillusionment and depression. We need to look at our habits of consumption, such as our use of plastics, and what we can do to live more sustainably in our city. We need to look at the way we travel around and make sure that the proposed developments in public transport really are the best we can do. We need to celebrate the natural environment more consciously and ask ourselves what the strains we are placing on it tell us about our current lifestyle. Above all we need to question whether the commitment to relentless growth and apparently never ending house-building is really the way to protect the future of our city.
Our response was written by Jeremy Caddick. Jeremy is your Green Party parliamentary candidate for Cambridge in the event of a snap general election. He is a local campaigner and the Dean of one of Cambridge's colleges.