I am always impressed by how motivated the people in the Chichester district are to make a positive difference in our community and beyond. This determination came through when I recently met with a group of environmentalists and climate change activists in Chichester.
The meeting was arranged following the Extinction Rebellion protests earlier this year in London, when I met with a group of around 40 people to discuss their concerns and ideas to tackle climate change. My team also invited members of ‘The Time Is Now’ movement, who they met a few weeks prior on the banks of the River Thames, and lastly a local group called EcoChi who advocate sustainable living across West Sussex.
As I am sure you can imagine there were a lot of ideas and I will be following up on of these. I am planning a visit to look around passive houses to understand how moving forward we can live in a carbon-neutral environment. I also have a number of questions to ask relevant Ministers to understand if there are plans to increase taxes on air-fuel and what incentives will be introduced for green businesses. I will discuss with local councils what it will take to provide access to water refill stations across the City and to see if there is any support available to help set up a pop-up repair café to tackle our throw-away culture.
There is hope! The younger generations are taught all about climate change and the importance of protecting our environment throughout their schooling. I regularly have discussions with schoolchildren who are taking action which includes giving up single-use plastic and recycling wrapping paper from birthday parties.
I focussed more on environmental concerns when I became an MP, just over two years ago, so the meeting was a great opportunity for me to hear what constituents think. We discussed the priority areas and what actions we could take as a government, as individuals and as a global community to help tackle climate change.
This is such an important issue for all of us and the more I learn, the more I understand the urgency to change how we use our planet’s precious resources.
I have launched a dedicated campaign page on my website (gilliankeegan.com) where you can find out more about what I am doing in parliament and locally to help raise awareness of the need to reverse the negative effects of climate change.