This week, East Riding Council finally declared a climate emergency. It came after almost two years of campaigning from local groups, and after two sets of twins sent a video to the councillors, performing a poem they’d created calling for urgent action on climate change.
Charlotte and Georgiana Smith, aged 21, and Isaac and Ethan Scott, aged 22, collaborated on the creation of this poem, before performing it in a video and posting it to all councillors on the East Riding Council. They, along with many others, were urging the council to finally declare a climate emergency.
Since 2019, members of several groups – including Humane Being, Extinction Rebellion, Animal Rebellion and Friends of the Earth – had been calling for East Riding Council to declare a climate emergency and ensure that climate action informs all its policies. Hull City Council declared a climate emergency in April 2019 and has adopted a strategy to make the city carbon-neutral by 2030. The vast majority of UK councils had already made such declarations by October of last year, yet East Riding Council was holding out.
Hull Animal Rebellion previously branded East Riding Council a “climate criminal council”. Numerous protests have taken place outside County Hall and on occasions demonstrators have been removed from the council chamber’s public gallery by security staff. The campaigners say the council is currently creating additional and totally unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions through their support for fracking, factory farms and the over-development of green spaces.
Here’s what our two sets of twins had to say about climate change in advance of the meeting.
“For over two decades, human activity has been heating the planet, causing the largest threat our society has faced. Many councils and organisations across the country have already declared a climate emergency, and we, residents of the East Riding of Yorkshire, call on the councillors to join them at this crucial time in history.
“We just want the councillors to start protecting our futures. We have begged the councillors, ‘Please, for the good of the county, country, and the planet, vote ‘for’ on the 24th’”.
Their plea worked.
After the meeting, Jane Tredgett who is the spokesperson for Humane Being, said:
“East Riding Council has finally done the right thing and declared a climate emergency. However, they will now need to make sure that the declaration is actually worth the paper it is written on. This means no more approvals for extreme fossil fuel drilling, such as at West Newton; no more approvals for factory farms; and a rapid move towards plant-based meals being the norm in schools and other council organisations.”
It’s clear there’s a lot still to do to turn climate emergency declarations into action. But in East Yorkshire the council has taken the first step. Well done to Charlotte, Georgiana, Isaac, Ethan and all the campaigners.