Local environmentalism, our first Courant advert and the threat to healthcare.

Newcastle has been voted Britain’s most sustainable city (http://www.forumforthefuture.org.uk/blog/balance-makes-newcastle-britains-most-sustainable-city). This is excellent news both for Newcastle and the whole North East.
The Sustainable Cities Index ranks Britain’s 20 largest cities according to their performance in three broad areas: their impact on the environment, their citizens’ quality of life, and their readiness for future challenges. The full results are as follows:
Overall city rankings
2009 rank (2008) [2007]
1 (4) [8] Newcastle
2 (1) [3] Bristol
3 (2) [1] Brighton and Hove
4 (8) [14] Leicester
5 (9) [10] London
6 (13) [5] Leeds
7 (6) [2] Edinburgh
8 (10=) [11] Nottingham
9 (7) [7] Sheffield
10 (5) [6] Cardiff
11 (14) [17] Coventry
12 (3) [4] Plymouth
13 (12) [13] Sunderland
14 (15) [12] Manchester
15 (17) [20] Liverpool
16 (10=) [9] Bradford
17 (19) [19] Birmingham
18 (16) [16] Wolverhampton
19 (18) [15] Glasgow
20 (20) [18] Hull
This sort of success must be a stimulus to further progress and not an excuse for complacency. There is always more to do and local action – at parish or even street level – is a particularly important element.
At the parish level in Haydon Bridge, using a Development Trust approach, we are making progress with our community power project and mean to take steps in all three energy related areas – energy saving, energy making and energy storing.
The importance of effective action at Copenhagen has been underlined this week in a report in the journal Natural Geoscience in which it is shown that CO2 outputs are rising even faster in recent years due to China’s rising industrial activity. This makes the worst case scenario painted in the most recent IPCC report increasingly likely – in this scenario, global average temperatures rise by 2100 by six degrees centigrade, rather than the currently suspected ‘safe’ limit of two degrees. Such a change would melt most ice at the poles and in glaciers resulting in rises in sea levels measured in metres and the extension of the Sahara desert over much of France and southern Europe.
Such global temperatures have not been encountered for 100 million years and then dinosaurs were grazing in tropical type vegetation at the poles.
The alternative theory, that global temperature rises are related to some ill defined ‘natural’ temperature cycle or solar activity is no real comfort. If that is true then there is nothing we can do about it and we need to adapt to survive anyway. We have to hope that the changes are manmade because we can make at least some difference by changing our behaviour. Either way the whole world needs to get into gear immediately and make huge changes to our mode of living.
This election campaign stepped up a gear last week with the publication in The Hexham Courant of our first full page advert (http://stevenford.co.uk/3×3%20ad.pdf). This has been well received and resulted in a gratifying number of personal contacts through the website (http://stevenford.co.uk/index.html) and many comments passed by people as I encountered them around the constituency. So far only the Labour PPC has made a public response in the correspondence column of the Courant.
The date of the next election is much in debate at present. I have heard every month between now and June mentioned except January and April. The most recent suggestion was February but I think this would be a surprising choice in view of the possibility/probability of a low turnout due to bad weather and a low turnout would typically hurt Labour more than the other parties.
The sooner the better for me and the whole of our country I believe.
For an authoritative view on the dangers that face out health service have a look at this link:
I think you will agree it’s a very sobering warning.


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