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test-vid-tackling ARTICLE

March 6, 2021 6:47 PM

test webapge for tackling climate change


12.30pm
CH "Tackling Climate Change From The Bottom Up"

Ed Tranter (The One Earth Show)
Wera Hobhouse (MP for Bath)
Steve Mason (Environmental Smart)

SHORTCUT http://grn.lib.dm/a71dzH


Ed Tranter

I thought it was a great film first of all, and it's nice to know that we're not the only family that does seven o'clock yoga, so that's good to see.

So the "One Earth Show" is I guess our little bit of what that film is about. So for me my velvets??? are called Toby, Freya and Molly, they're my children. And I've been a professional event organiser for over 25 years, so you know, have your rocks on standby, because I've run events in 44 countries on five continents, and I dare say as a result my carbon

footprint has not been great. It's been absolutely colossal.

But then, I guess a couple of years ago when the Iceland advert came out with the orangutans [https://youtu.be/JdpspllWI2o], and it really impacted my daughter who at the time was, I guess she was probably about nine, and about five in the morning I heard this noise downstairs in the kitchen and I came downstairs on a Sunday, five a.m, and every single item of food in the entire kitchen was out and everything with palm oil in it was by the bin and Freya had been so touched by this and so impacted by it that she decided everything was going to be thrown away that was that. So we obviously had a long chat about palm oil and why she was passionate about it and she educated me, because in my busy life I'd never even heard of the stuff if I'm honest. And I just suddenly started to think, you know I try to be a good father, I try to be a caring person, I think of myself as having a global view. I've worked with charities like TearFund [https://www.tearfund.org] where I've been on their advisory boards to help, because I believe in social justice and I just realised that … We recycle you know we do the things that we do, we support the local farm shop, because all the ingredients are from local suppliers, and it's all to a certain extent terribly middle class and lovely. But actually, we don't do very much and I realised that I wasn't doing very much at all for everyone's future certainly for my children's future and it was my kids that were kind of leading the charge and educating me and I thought well okay we need to do more. What can we do?

So Toby had long since when he was 10, he's 14 now, 14 and a half. He's long since become a vegetarian. When one of our chickens was killed by a fox, and he cried for pretty much three days straight when Maria was killed, because it was his chicken and during that process he said you know "I don't blame the fox because the fox has to eat the chicken. But every animal that grieves because it's, you know, its family are being killed. I don't have to be part of that. I don't have to eat animals to live, I can live on other stuff so no other animals or creatures are going to feel the way that I felt with my chicken". And that was 10 years old and he's been a vegetarian ever since. You know, he won't have Haribo at parties, he won't do this thing. And Molly will rescue anything, so if she finds a fly and it's on its back, she'll be the one that's slowly turning it over and trying to nurture it back to health and bees and everything else.

So the children kind of made me stop and think really, and think about things from the perspective of not being rat race, you know working in the city, being charging around - what's next? What's next? What's next? And in this world that we've now created for ourselves, where success is having more things to do. I mean when in the world did it become the norm that actually if we do more that that's winning? That we work more and more and more hours, we forget about relationships and why we're here.

And so I stopped working for the company I was working for. I was the managing director of a large company working across five continents, and I stopped it all in favour of my family and I said well we don't need stuff we don't need things, my family needs time. And so we stopped and I set up Seventy Three Media [www.seventythreemedia.com] and I set it up with the aim of making a difference, so we still do events, but we try and do them as sustainably as humanly possible. Our last big event that we did for two and a half thousand people was actually entirely online. We didn't do the physical event at all because obviously the circumstances, and we had multiple stages and two and a half thousand people and it worked fine. It was a bit stressful but then they are, and what we do is we say that 20% of the income from every event that we do goes to a grassroots charity either within the city or the topic that the event is covering to try and make a difference.

And so One Earth came out of out of that really. The children saying what are we going to do? I tried to find an event because that was my natural inclination was to try and find an event for us to all go to. There wasn't one and so we so I thought, I'll tell you what we should make one then.

Keith

Okay, so I can identify with the stress of putting on an event for a lot of people online.

It's been an interesting fortnight. Wera, I'm going to come to you next and ask if you feel there is an opening for us to change the narrative from a political point of view. From what you see within the House of Commons or whether we've got an uphill struggle in front of us?

Wera

Well the film is very hopeful. It's very hopeful in the message that we actually know how to tackle the climate emergency and the technological solutions are there. It just, "just" needs a political will. It needs an enormous amount of leadership and yes people are coming behind the whole agenda of wanting to get to net zero in large numbers across the globe, but there's also many, many, many, many people who don't get that message and you know we've got choices. So Ed talks about his nice middle class way of life and I'm the same. You've got choices. A lot of people don't have choices and therefore, you know, the political leadership is, for me, the most important. And yeah I've been an environmental campaigner since I was a teenager, and that's now a long time ago. The earth had limited resources that we could damage it through our human activities. That's not new and I keep telling that to Extinction Rebellion [https://extinctionrebellion.uk/], young generation of people and say look I was there in my twenties. I already knew about the Ozone Layer and acid rain and that was in the 1980s. What have we done in the meantime? And that's the thing that really frustrates me and worries me and frightens me.

In fact it's something that Ed Milliband also said in Parliament. You know, we all have a responsibility that we really haven't done enough. And the question really is, we haven't done enough in the last 30 or 40 years, have we got time to do enough in the next 20 years? And I'm not entirely certain when I look at the current big country political leadership you know in the US, in Brazil, in our own country. We are seeing the rise of right-wing populism and that is often linked into some form of climate change well not necessarily denial, but certainly delay. "We're doing enough, it's okay, the markets will sort everything out" and I am really worried about that sort of political attitude. And it very much an uphill battle and I'm happy to discuss with everybody, but I'm really worried about it.

Individual action is fine, but look for example at use of plastic bags. So I was the person who came in the 1990s you know from a country and you know where plastic use about plastic bag use was already charged with 5p or whatever it was. I had my own bags and I tried to educate everybody around to the embarrassment of my children. I said "look you can you can use your own bags why are you using 20 plastic bags" and nothing changed. And then in 2015 a charge came in and dada - it changed, so it goes to show to me it's a classic example how unless you actually make political changes at the top, individual action is relatively limited. Of course, you need the buy-in from people and for that reason it is important that people on board, otherwise you get your backlash, look at those Gilet-Jaunes movement, so you need buy-in from people, but the big action has to come from governments.

Keith

Okay thank you. It has struck me on a number of occasions that we've been talking about plastic for a long, long time and then all of a sudden "the Blue Planet" shows up. Everybody watches a film and the minds are changed incredibly quickly.

I'm going to come to Steve next, but before I just do that let me say to people in the audience that you can ask questions and make comments in the Q&A box which you'll find at the bottom of the screen and we will then pass those questions on to the panel to answer them. And there's obviously chat going on in the chat box as well, but put your questions in Q&A and if you see a question that particularly appeals to you and thinks you think needs to be asked then you can vote for it with the thumb at the bottom and bring that up.

So we've now got 40 participants in the audience, Steve. Education from the ground up? Renewable energy from the ground up? Where do we go from here? You're our policy Vice Chair - what are we going to do about it?

Steve

God, I wish I had all the answers I really do. I loved what Ed was saying earlier on and the history of how he's become really passionate about this particularly with the link to the kids and that's my primary link. I mean I got involved in the anti-fracking campaign seven years ago now, and we focused on education and the only way to actually win that campaign was about educating people and giving people the knowledge, and knowledge I feel is power. We've now developed the Environmental Smart Project (https://www.environmental-smart.co.uk/) which is a community interest company and is to try and deliver the education I suppose or the knowledge into schools and focus on primary school age and to try and empower kids to really understand the power of recycling. The power of traditional skills, local skills, biodiversity a in their local area, but also out in the wider community and worldwide. Any profits we make in our company would go to the Rainforest Trust for instance, so we make sure that we can save some rainforest at the same time.

But its perspective was an interesting one. I think the past three months have shown as a perspective for quite a few people in society that we don't need to go shopping every week. We don't need to go out and just buy things because the sake of buying things and I think that's something we need to try and capture. But yeah that's basically it from our point of view and pretty?? Environmental Smart. I want to hear the questions and ideas from other people, but for me education is the way we tackle climate change.

Keith

Okay thank you for that starter. We haven't actually got any questions yet in the question and answer box, so I do hope members of the audience are going to be creative with their questions in a minute. Sheila, I'm going to encourage you to ask the first question of our panellists and throw the floor open to you first and then to our audience out there. Sheila.

Sheila

Yeah, I'm absolutely up for that. I think I've become, in terms of the way that I live, a bit of a poster boy for doing the right thing in the right way. COVID has been in some ways better for that, in some ways less good. But the lack of travel, the lower quantity of shopping and consumption. Have to say that my other half has become very resistant to buying stuff that is not wrapped in plastic because he sees it as a major problem in the context of disease transmission. But if I can go back to the film which I thought was really interesting, I felt that in the context of the human as opposed to the agriculture or the forestry side, it was incredibly urban centric. I lived 10 miles outside a fairly large city and almost everything on the transport side, on the energy side, it's not gonna happen here. I live halfway down a hill so I don't get wind. I live in a wood a fair amount of which I planted myself for good conservation and environmental reason, but it means it won't get sun. I have to be therefore connected to the grid and Scotland's pretty good. We're probably going to reach 100% of renewable energy requirements this year, but that's nearly all hydropower which went in in the 50s and 60s. A lot of it's wind now, but the top up is wind that has taken us the 100% But I thought that was incredibly urban centric. I don't think it works for people in rural areas and certainly not what most of you guys would think of as remote rural areas. I'd be really interested to know … I'm looking at Steve nodding so starting with him what he thinks of that.

Steve

I'll tell you a little story we we've been applying for community energy funding where we live. I live in Ryedale. We are 13 miles outside of York ... market town, so it's reasonably popular. It's seven to eight thousand market town, but we applied for community energy funding and we have 14 acres of land here we can't put anything on there because of the problems with the grid. And this is a problem that's going to be reflected in rural areas across the country until we actually tackle the capacity of the issues for community energy. For instance, we can put 200 kilowatts in on a 14-acre site and that is a major problem that we need to take on in rural areas.

My other real passion is schools. I mean schools are there as a place to develop community energy and they're so restricted with the with the laws and the taxables for instance. You know if business rates onto schools who put renewable energy on top of school they have to pay business rates so all the benefits have gone. There's so many policy low-hanging fruit, I think is the right word for policies that can be done now that just doesn't seem to be happening.

But yeah, rural areas I think, transport big problem. There's a rural desert rural transport desert here community energy and energy projects in rural areas don't really reckon. Everyone says the farmers will be the answer to community energy, rural energy. Unless they've got capacity to put it in then it's not going to happen. So urban areas maybe are the focus for some of this.

Keith

Vera, do you yeah so you want to come in on that from the political

Wera

To pick up on what Stephen says. Our whole political system is so full of policies and regulations and it's very in-transparent and the in-transparency usually then serves that the old interests keep going as before. And to give you an example so I've been talking to an organisation. I talk to a lot of organisations that will come to me as a spokesperson and for the LibDems and they're making that point. And then I have "my god I didn't know about this". So there is for example something that makes it very difficult for delivering district heating, because there is something called ECO (https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/eco3-district-heating-systems-dhs-factsheet-and-summary-proposal-sop) and ECO was just changed in 2018. Did we know about it? That is make it much more difficult to deliver and district heating and there's no consultation out there for people like me, but also organisations to feed in and say what you think and of course how the people don't know about this consultation in order to set the next policy for 2022.

And that's how a lot of our politics is driven. It's about some people knowing that a consultation is out there. The government then listens, or not, but listens usually then to industry interests, and then the current industry interest sets the agenda for the next set of policies. And that's why change is just so very difficult, because the people who want to change and people who are out there with lots of ideas, they're often very small organisations with much less power. They don't have the time. They don't have the experts to feed into it and then government just keeps being fed the same thing again from the people who are already in the system. And for that reason, I really worry about and the pace of change.

And education, not just in schools but education of all of us. How these things work, how policy change can be brought about with a government that is stubbornly not really wanting to change because .... you know currently they have enough work to do with COVID anyway. These sort of things. I come back to this. My worry is that the pace of change is just not quick enough. We need an army of people who are very knowledgeable, who can hold government to account and feed into all these policies on all sorts of levels. Contracts for difference??? whether solar energy can't feed into because it keeps continuing making it easier for the big guys. District heating is often delivered actually by small organisations and small providers and our whole political and economic system is dominated by the big guys and the small guys don't get a look in. That systemic difficulty I think makes it particularly difficult to get to something like changing how we would provide and renewable energy to rural areas for example.

Keith

Okay thank you. Ed, you're dealing with an organisation that is directly talking to people, so do they talk directly back to you as well?

Ed

I think I mean my focus is I mean you know, I am I guess a reasonably political person anyway and have very strong views on a number of things, none of which I will voice here I don't think. But my focus has been on I guess the grassroots change of individuals. I think government has a part to play. In my experience in the industries in which I've worked, Government tends to act when people that have all the money and employ all the people tell them to and they change what they're doing when the consumers force them to do it. None of the corporates that are coming out with all these great green credentials at the moment and talking about how there's one earth and trying to get a photo up with Greta Thunberg whenever they can get one. That's not because they've suddenly awakened and said I'll tell you what we've only got one planet and in the background in their office all they have playing constantly on loop is I believe that children are our future. They are they are doing it because they think it's a way to make more money and they have decided that finally consumer demand has changed to such an extent that we'll actually do something about it because otherwise why on earth would we bother? Because it impacts profits, we have to change our manufacturing processes, we have to change our supply chains, we have to change the processes that everybody uses, we have to be more transparent. If the consumers start asking for all of that, most companies look at it and say "well that costs us a lot of money". If you take the current chief exec of EasyJet for example. He put up a thing saying "to be honest with you rather than changing everything it's a lot cheaper for us to just pay what is supposedly the carbon offset bill" which was a few million. Which is, and excuse my French, bollocks, because there's absolutely no way that that covers the impact they're having. But for them they go yes, we've done all our carbon stuff. So they put it out in all their marketing and you could see from his reaction literally doesn't care. You want five million quid fine, "there you go now jog on". I've got money to make.

So that is how you'll make a change and, so for us the One Earth Show is about everybody making a difference individually. If we all stand up if we all make a change. If you look at Greta and everything that she's been for, it's about one person saying enough is enough and calling on other people to say the same and to make little incremental changes. Part of the problem is it gets described by the media and also by the pressure groups pushed on by the people that we buy from, the companies saying "oh it's too big you shouldn't even bother trying, it's too big you leave it to us it's far too big for you as an individual to do anything about". So we look at it from that perspective and just give up. Whereas if we all do something…

You know if you went around my house am I 100% sustainable everything else? No I'm not, but I am trying to change and we are trying to change and we are making differences every day and every single person that joins and does that has an impact. So politically we absolutely have to force the agenda and hold politicians to account, which is particularly challenging given the majority and also the shower that we currently have in charge. But, if you take that to one side we have a part to play every individual. If there are 40 people on this call then every single person will know 40 more or 100 more. Let's all talk about the changes we are making and encourage everybody to make some sort of change, so that the ground swell, so like Wera's talking about.

I told everybody that I could think of about what we were already doing with plastic bags. You do not know the impact that you have. It's not for us to measure. It's not a competition. It's not for us to gain brownie points. It's for each one of us to voice the message, plant the seed and you do not know whether it grows or not and it's not our problem to do that. It's about all of us having a voice and getting on with something. And I'll stop, because otherwise I'll be here for the next hour and a half.

Keith

Okay, hang on, hang on, Steven and Wera. I know you're anxious to get back in, but I want to throw the question out a little bit to our audience. John Nash has asked the question if John wants to come up to the stage to ask his question. If you could put your hand up John it's in the middle at the bottom if you could signify that that hand will show. Yes he does. Karen, can you bring him up? And clearly both Wera and Steve want to come back at Ed's points as well, so we'll let that happen. it's going to be a good debate.

John is just about with us and we'll see him in a second or two. John your question please.

John

Hello, yes if I can just remember what it was ... somewhere. Lost it.

In summary, if we are going to reach zero carbon by 2050 compared with last year's emissions we're going to have to be reducing 3.5% percent of last year's emissions, each year and every year until 2050. Now part of that is going to be difficult, you know you can't change everything at once. You're going for the easiest things first. But government's gotta take the lead on this. We need government investment, we need changes in policy. So since the party isn't in government it's a case of working on politicians and on the general public as we've said today, but probably got to be in there. What is it going to be easiest to persuade them to do to make that sort of progress in the next five years?

Keith

Okay, what's it going to be easiest, Wera, to persuade people to do?

Wera

Well as LibDems we are focusing particularly on homes and retrofitting, but also building the homes for the future because that's clearly something that people can see. Now with COVID, so many people spending time at home. They probably watch their energy consumption more. They feel warm or cold at particular times of the day, so concentrating on how to make all our homes net zero is a big focus for us as LibDems. I was part of the group that formulated our policy to get to net zero and that's my two. I think it makes sense but you've also said John, we can't just say "oh let's do one thing and then the next thing". We actually need to do everything together, so the emissions from heating and that comes from our homes, basically, from our individual living at home and consuming at home, is about 30 percent. Surface transport so how we travel is also one of the stubbornly high carbon emitters which we haven't changed since the 1990s. So it's not so much what to do first. Our message has always been we need to do everything.

What probably resonates most with people is concentrating on our homes and making home improvements but the government, and I keep saying that I love the enthusiasm, and I like to be positive. I've been an environmental campaigner since the 1980s yeah that's 40 years ago and I have not really seen that much change. And yes Greta Thunberg and hopefully the urgency is getting to people. But I worry unless actually the big action comes from government that individual action and Ed, we we're clearly sort of slightly different here. The multiplication of individual action at this point is probably not enough. We need to put, and you said we can put huge pressure onto governments by individual action. But it's got to be the pressure on governments and the pressure on industries also to understand that if they don't change, that they won't make the money. And the money that a company makes and the subsidies that we are still putting, a government is still putting in the fossil fuel industry. That allows these guys to continue because it's skewered. You know, producing fossil fuels is cheaper for the companies because they're getting government subsidies than actually going into renewables. And that's what worries me it's got to be this relentless pressure on government, and yes, it's a useless government, but I can only see it happening through intense political pressure, and you know you put all politicians into one room.

I'm for one a politician, but I'm passionately believing that we need to do something unfortunately I've become very cynical. That's my take on it and I'd love to see us all understanding what is it that will make this particular government … because this particular government is going to be in charge until 2024 unless something amazingly changes. So we've got four years and that could easily be lost, so what can we do now to make this government change and change to a political leadership that is firmly on board with getting to net zero.

Keith

Cynical or not Steve? You're muted by the way.

Steve

Both. [laughs] So as LibDems, I see us … we have a huge network across the country. At local level we're in communities, we're in councils, everywhere and you know we can encourage the individual actions that Ed was talking about. That's the responsibility we can do as a party by engaging with our communities and getting in there, but collectively as a party we've got to hold the vested interests to account as Wera says. Because I have first-hand experience of vested interest. I mean the anti-fracking campaign was … it wasn't a pretty campaign and by actually collectively coming together we brought together all the groups together into one organisation. We work with Wera's team, we work with cross-party MPs in Westminster. And you know, the film touched on the vested interest and he spoke about it in the film. It's the most obvious thing we have to tackle is the power on social media with the fake accounts that come up and we had four accounts against us that were fake accounts who were literally targeting taking down community campaigners to discredit them and, you know, turn the community against it because they knew that we were winning the battle against him in the fracking campaign. And it's these actions that there's a dedicated PR industry that's out there at the moment that are funded by Ineos and funded by BP and Exxon and all those sort of people. And until we actually start tackling that sort of issue or we get good at doing the same thing, that's the key thing and that's what we did in the fracking campaign, we are going to struggle to get this across.

Now I think really the LibDems have this local network we've got how many councillors now? We've got now 2 600 councillors I think across the country. We control authorities across the country as well. That's where our power base is at the moment and I think for the next couple of years at least we need to be focusing on that and holding the government councillors to task locally as well because I think they have a real disconnect at local level with the Conservative council. And I speak from experience where I am, they managed to deflect the fact. "Oh that's nothing to do with us, that is the government" but hang on a minute guys. You're the people who put the government there. You're the people who actually voted for your leadership at the moment, so you need to take full responsibility for some of the lack of actions that's happening at the moment in our communities.

Keith

Okay

Wera

Can I just come in there because I'm chairing a Climate Cluster that's originally set up to coordinate between the House of Lords and MPs and I'm now inviting more and more councillors onto that Climate Cluster - every Tuesday morning 10 o'clock we are meeting. You know when we talk for example about … we want to deliver the carbon zero homes or we want to retrofit. It's for forever and a day. It's national planning policies that stand in the way of local councils. Even LibDem local councils who want to do the right thing because the whole thing is centralised. Look at the Robert Jenricks of this world. They're being given money by Richard Desmond and Richard Desmond doesn't want to build, in this case, the affordable housing.

And the planning policies that we have at national level forces councils to turn around and say "all right then we can't do this because of viability studies this and the other". There are a huge amount of barriers that are there because of vested interests and Steve I mean I agree. You've shown with your fracking campaign what one can do if you do the grassroots campaign well, but what it took you seven years? You know, do we have for each little issue 10 years? Do we have the time to fight this 10 years each at a time. That's why I'm so worried about it. We don't have the time so you know. I'm here and I'm looking out for good ideas. I love the enthusiasm and I don't want to curb anybody, but do not underestimate the huge uphill battle that we have to fight. That's all I want to say on this.

Keith

Okay, thank you. I'm going to ask Josie Parr if she would like to come and ask her question. Not only is it at the top of the list, but it's also … yes she does. Karen, if you could bring her on, it's also a question that relates very much to what we've just been talking about. So this is really for Steve and Wera rather than Ed, although you might have some comments, Ed, at the end of what Steve and Wera are going to say.

Josie would you like to ask your question?

Josie

Yes, I'm part of my local Liberal Democrat group, Surrey Heath, which is Michael Gove's turf and it's really good, but I just feel that I mean I'm I've just joined the Green Liberal Democrats in the last sort of month really, because I'm very passionate about the whole thing I mean I'm vegan, I'm rewilding my garden and I'm composting everything else. At this stage I can't afford to do the solar and the electric car, so hoping for help with that from government in the future.

But how do you educate the local groups so when they go campaigning? They don't concentrate on climate change, but it definitely is very much a part of in?? campaigning. Is there going to be some? Did the campaigners go on any training? ALDC training? I think they really need help with this. I just think it's so so important.

Keith

How do we educate our local Liberal Democrat members Wera?

Wera

Well come to my Climate Cluster. It seems that there's more people. Well I think the exchange of knowledge and the Green LibDems I'm sure can be very much instrumental about that. Without demoralising people about the huge task. I think knowledge and really understanding what Councillors and local councils can do, and where their where their barriers are, which is very much something that I learned through my Climate Cluster. The number of barriers. And then going back and challenged government ministers and anybody can write into government ministers or they can do it via their MPs on particular things that need changing. In order to for example to give a council the power to make that decision locally. You know these things matter and I think I've just seen it in the chat. One of the biggest problems we have is that we have a hugely centralised system and that's again a drive from Conservative governments is to centralise everything and keep all of that power in their hands. So to challenge your local MP whatever colour they are. On asking questions about giving local councils more power is a good starting point

Keith

Steve I feel like a debate coming on Wera in Westminster. [Laughter]

Steve

We did it last year, let's do it again. I do know ALDC do some climate activism training at conference normally as well and Green LibDems have done two or three sessions now I believe over the past two years. But I think you're right, but I think the same could be said about all subjects getting down to local level with local campaigners. I think there is a lack of knowledge that comes down from the party and filters down and I think that that is something that GLD can definitely help with the green campaigning.

Things that you can do at councils, well I think we did a course last year. Friends of the Earth [https://friendsoftheearth.uk/] have a really useful document actually that lists out the, I think, it's 85 things you can do as a local councillor NOW to tackle climate change.

But yeah, as Wera says though, I think we are restricted by the planning system and lot of stuff and that's where a lot of our action goes. Unfortunately, the problem we have you see with climate campaigning and Ed you may be able to come in on this one, unless we find an emotional hook, engaging people to get involved, because if you start talking about "oh we need to change the planning system" … people are just going to switch off. So we need to find ways of campaigning with emotion and making it mean something to the community and if we can do that then I think we're on to a winner. But I think Ed in your experience as a media outreach would have a lot more insight into doing that.

Keith

Ed you've been thrown a challenge there.

Ed

Funnily enough, I was just thinking, you know what always comes across to me. It's communication, and communication and messaging is the key to success in practically everything. If you want people to do something you have to engage them, excite them, inspire them and get them to want to either follow you or to charge off on their own and galvanise other support. And we can talk about quite often the issue with political and particularly political combat and political conversations is that it's either discussed in a language that makes sense if you're a politician. Or it's done in such a way that it doesn't engage or inspire or excite the people that you're trying to do it for. I think one of the overarching … there was a magazine in the UK called Marketing Week, which is the biggest marketing publication and I used to run that when I was I think it was about 28. I used to run that publication before going through …. and so marketing is something I've had a lot of experience of and communication. And the one thing I noticed throughout the campaign and the run-up to the election as I sat there with my head in my hands watching the telly was that for the people that got in versus the people that didn't get in across whatever party that might be. They were much better at engaging with the audience than say the Liberal Democrats were, or the Labour Party was or the Green Party and they were very, very active at discrediting any connection with those

other parties.

Now I'm not saying that's the kind of communication I like, because it's not, but in the absence of anything else they were able to fill the entire void with the communication. Because the stuff that we came out with, across all the other parties, just there wasn't much to it. It didn't engage, it didn't hook, it didn't inspire. It was more of a kind of "oh please don't vote for them" and that wasn't … that's not gonna win anybody over. And I think one of the things you also have is, you will have passionate volunteers at the local party level. So my cousin, for example, was the mayor of Cirencester as a Liberal Democrat. He was the youngest Mayor of Cirencester, I think he was about 20 when he became Mayor of Cirencester. He became the youngest Liberal Democrat councillor, Joe Harris this is. And my uncle, his father was the Deputy Mayor. So we used to joke about the fact that it was the only the only council meeting or a town council meeting where the Mayor could be told by the Deputy Mayor to go and tidy his room. But they did it on a case of engagement, they were active, but they had the skills within their setup to be able to do that.

Not everybody has that. You have passion, you have enthusiasm in volunteers. And at the local level you've got 2 600 councillors. Those people won't all have the same skill set, and communication is not an inherently, everyone's got it. One of the things in the chat was you know we're talking about how to engage young people. Well LibDems tend to attract the younger audience and you're not going to do that through Facebook for example. You know, that's for people like me who are middle-aged, but still pretending not to be with tattoos and earrings. But the reality is you've got to engage them in the formats that they understand. And to do that you have to help everybody understand how to engage. And that I think as much as talking about the policies and everything else and making sure everyone's in lockstep and what the party is about. For me if you want to influence people you also have to train as much in how you communicate it so that people are given the best possible support. So it's not just one message sent out everywhere.

Geographically we're different. I live in I live just outside Tunbridge Wells and Tunbridge Wells, I mean you know that's about as Tory as life gets. You know it is Tunbridge Wells. But you know, they have a dynamic Liberal party here, but the communication message you would put to try and educate and inspire the Tunbridge Wells community to jump ship is very different to what you would put in Gateshead or Sunderland, because the communication is different. So I think communication training is a really, really, really important thing to help people. Because you've got great messages, we're just not always great at getting them across and you don't get many chances to do it. You get one chance normally, and if it was like well actually I've got my answer better now but I've already gone.

Keith

I'm going to stop you now, because I want to bring another question online and that's from Mary Page. I think Mary will probably want to come and ask her question. Brevity would be nice from the answers and from the questions now to get as many questions, we've got a quarter of an hour left, so if we can have brief questions, brief answers.

Mary, I'm challenging you to make your question brief if you would.

Mary

Oh what a shame because I've got points to say to Ed and being a fellow Maid of Kent, actually he's a Kentish man, because he's the wrong side of the river, lots of others.

The points you've already touched on Wera, very much so about your connecting councillors, Steve's points all of you it's around that where is power. And actually, there is an opportunity with this government, because this government understands localism power in a way that some other Conservative governments don't. And they particularly understand it with the devolution into directly elected mayors. And I know that there's a bill coming through to put enhanced powers and there are different systems all over the country. Some have got health in it some have got the police and crime commissioner in it some have got others.

In Bristol we've got a totally whacked out system where we've got two directly elected mayors in direct competition from two different political parties, which makes a total nonsense and the police and crime commissioner separate to that, and then health not even really sort of getting the correct look in because that's under the four different local authorities. Bonkers, bonkers, but there's an opportunity there. How do we utilise … I can't remember because can't see the question.

The question I think I was going to ask is how do we maximise the benefit of that to get more power locally? Because actually Liberal Democrats I think have got more chance of electing people into those positions than we think we have done previously.

Wera

All right, do you want the quick answer? The quick answer Mary - elections.

Mary

Yeah but to do the environmental I think it's to do the environmental because those jobs you know,

Keith

hang on Mary, you know let's ask the speakers to answer the question.

Mary

Yeah I wanted to understand the question. Sorry I hadn't phrased it right. So you know there are nine constituencies in Weka (West of England Combined Authority?) Each one of you MPs has only got a certain amount of lobbying power out of 650. Whereas that regional mayor is one of about 10 and represents those nine constituencies. That's a significant amount of power to do things differently and get around the national planning policy framework, which is the issue because we need to take more direct environmental action and be allowed to do it differently and have a local ability to try something different.

Wera

Well the current mayor and I, you know Mary, I'm in the same Weka? mayor area as you. The current mayor is completely useless he's even sitting on the five million pounds that he should give out for improving walking and cycling. We as a council, Baines Council ???, is writing the umpteenth letter to release the money that he sits on for improving walking and cycling. I mean I would say that because I'm the political opposition but I find him the most vacuous man that I've met in all of my political life. Win that election. I have no other answer.

It is miserable, and you know Ed, you are right. You might have a lot of angry and frustrated people on the ground and what is the message with which we can then go out and win that election next year? Because it is incredibly important. It's one person with a lot of power. It matters and winning the that election is important and I take it on board.

And Ed, absolutely we need to find messages that engage people enough to say yep you're going to vote in the LibDem.

Keith

Sheila you found yourself elected. What was the passion and message that you think was cutting through for you. Is that something we can replicate next year's local elections?

Sheila

I thought it was remarkable to be in European Parliament. The single thing, other than Brexit, that everybody was talking about, was climate change. It was the driver that underpinned every single piece of policy that was being developed across the entire panoply of European committees.

I think at local government level we are probably, we probably need to focus on the micro. I think Wera's right. We can only actually handle the utter, utter scale what has to be done at a governmental level. Local government, however, can do a lot and it's the micro actions which local government can take are significantly bigger than the micro actions that we as individuals can take. And I remember being elected as a councillor in 1988 at a time when ALC [predecessor to ALDC https://www.aldc.org/] had just produced a series of five booklets that councillors could act on.

I'm trying to remember now what they were. One of them was about CFCs [Chlorofluorocarbons]. One of them was about, would you believe, recycled paper. And they were really … it's a small thing. But if a council dumps its paper budget and moves to recycled … Nowadays that wouldn't be a thing, it would be taken for granted, but we made that as a change. We introduced the whole thing about recycling fridges and removing the CFCs from them and you know honestly at this stage I can't remember what the other three were. But there were five and they came out of a campaign that Sutton Council ran and I think that that can certainly be done at local government level.

Unfortunately, I don't think that in Scotland or Wales next year we will be given an opportunity in our parliamentary elections to focus on anything except the bloody independence argument. There are a lot of good things I've got to say that are happening in Scotland in conservation terms, but we don't get an opportunity to roll out good practice because all we're all ever allowed to talk about is independence. Which is destructive and it's destructive in the climate change debate as well. But I will get off my hobby horse and let somebody else speak.

Keith

Steve how do we break, how do we cut through? I think is the expression.

Steve

Took a couple of points, one the evolution point. Actually, we are in a very, very Conservative area here and they're talking about the mayoral position up here and we just look at it as a power grab for the Conservatives, because they know they're going to get their mayor elected, because North Yorkshire is I think, it's 85% Conservative council. So we're fighting a losing battle on that one already and it will be a power grab. It will be I'm pretty sure the leader of our local council is putting himself forward as the mayor or candidate, which is frightening to be brutally honest, having that sort of guy in charge.

How do we cut through? I mean, I got elected on soda??? schools, rural transport, recycling. You know we dumped a tonne of plastics on our local council before we got elected with a dumper truck and said why can't we recycle these plastics? It's the simple stuff that Ed's talking about. The actions that we try and do, but if our council can't provide the service of recycling certain types of plastics, we can't recycle them if they go into the landfill. You know simple things that. So that is one emotive thing that really gets people's backs up

But May 2021 is a really key election for us, because yes, we've got to take down the Conservatives at government level and influence their policy, because they're in power unfortunately. But we can do that by taking out their grassroots. And 2021 with the postponement of the elections this year, going into next year is going to be one of the biggest local elections ever. I think probably the biggest one ever almost borderline general election with the amount of councils and the amount of authorities that are going to the polls at the same time.

We've got to get ready for it now as Green LibDems, but as LibDems to be ready to take down. We take down Tory grassroots, Tory HQ will be taking note and then we can influence policy.

Keith

Okay, we've got very little time left. I'm going to come to Ed and Diana Simpson has asked a question. I'm not going to ask her on the stage Karen, but just briefly I think this is thrown in Ed's direction. We grow our own fruit & veg, buy fair trade, organic. We avoid palm oil. We campaign on green issues. We litter pick. We're in our 70s. The question is Ed, what else can we do?

Ed

I think well one of the big things is, well firstly well done, but everybody can do something different and I think if modelling what you're doing, that can make a big difference.

Are you talking about it? I mean you've asked the question here, but you know are you encouraging. I don't know if you've got children, grandchildren. Are you encouraging them to do it? Are you influencing other families? Are you helping other people in your community? Your neighbours, do they understand what you're doing?

I mean we've got into Ecobricks [www.ecobricks.org] is another good one. We found a place in … and there's a lady who makes furniture out of Ecobricks and things in Tunbridge Wells. So we now collected all this, and it's a great thing for the kids. We get them to clean out all the plastic and everything else and then they suddenly see as it mounts up in the in the sink, because they're watching all these individually wrapped things that makes a difference. You're educating and you're changing so keep doing what you're doing. Be on the lookout for new things. I'm sure you've already done it but one of the biggest ways you can make a difference is by changing your energy supplier and that's that can take seconds. It can also save you money, so it's a very easy thing to do and looking at those things, but you know well done to you, but tell people about it. Make the change, be apparent.

Keith

I'm very I'm very sorry that we are getting very close to the end it's 13:27 we've got three minutes left. I'm going to come to you Steve and Wera. I'm going to come to you each and just have, literally, can we just have one minute from each of you on where you think we're going? Try and keep it as brief as possible then when all have a quick say. Steve first.

Steve

I'll be quicker than that for me Ed I think you're bang on.

One thing we're doing up here was we have community groups. We're making sure that as a party we're involved in the relevant community groups that are putting out education. So we have recycle points for makeup, for Ecobricks for instance, crisp packet recycling. In our local villages we're utilising phone boxes for instance, old phone boxes to do mini recycling centres that can be taken away, because our council cannot provide the services.

But one thing as party members we can do is just get involved with local community groups, because the local community groups is where I do think we can make the change happen. Climate action groups, environment groups. They already do these initiatives, they encourage people to go tree planting. Bring your neighbours into a tree planting day for instance, those sorts of things. Because all those things lead to more awareness of the wider issues and I think by doing that is how we do it.

Keith

I'm going to stop you there and ask Wera if she can manage a minute, Wera.

Wera

Increase political activism. We need to change the government, because we need the big, big governmental change and a lot of the big stuff needs to be done from the top. So just get the Tories out. To be quite honest, that's a simple message, but if you have your own individual action and I do understand about the power of the collective activism makes a big change too. Let people know what is easy. What was easy for you to do, so as Ed says, it is quickly done and share the knowledge how you do it. So whenever you change something like eat less meat, tell people how you did it and make it make it easy not difficult when you talk about it.

Keith

Okay. Sheila I'm going to ask you for a half a minute to a minute, if you could, just to round us off. And then I'm going to ask Ed to have the last word as our sponsor.

Sheila

I think that the debate has been significantly more fulfilling than the movie. I was sceptical about the movie. There were lots of great ideas in there, but actually not anything I hadn't heard before and not anything that frankly, good people are not already trying to do. But we've got a lot of people in this in this room, this virtual room, who are saying and doing the right things. And I think exactly as Ed said to Diana, you should go out there and tell people what you're doing. Tell your neighbours what you're doing. Try and get them to do it too.

Keith

Okay Ed, as our sponsor. A word from our sponsor I think is the expression.

Ed

I think it's both things. You have to be political, but you have to be the change you want to see, but don't just be the change. Tell everyone that you're being the change. Show how you're being the change. I would recommend, there's a lady called Jen Gale who's on social media under the tag of Sustainable(ish) [@sustainableish www.sustainablelife.co.uk] and she talks about being a mother and having her children and she started a sustainable journey and ended up writing a book about it called Sustainable(ish) how to live more sustainably.

It's little things. There are loads of topics on her social media I would heartily recommend.

The One Earth Show has been created where the whole purpose of it is you can turn up and everything you see will help you learn how to make a difference in how you live and how you change things. And everybody that turns up we're planting trees for. The One Earth Forest already has ten thousand trees planted in Tanzania in a sustainable forest, which we're monitoring through a UN accredited tree planting partner.

But just be that change. Make a difference where you can make a difference. Inspire others. Do that politically as well. Politicians need to inspire us more is how I feel. You know I'm tired of being shouted out or them saying how everyone else is wrong. Even if it's true. Find a different way of communicating that can inspire and empower us, because otherwise everyone's just gonna rather watch Netflix. And that is the problem. We have a way to engage people, we have a message.

I won't lie, I am a Liberal Democrat. I used to be a Tory. I tried to bring down the system from within. Couldn't do it, so I finally jumped parties. We just need to make a difference with how we communicate and we can win if we do.

Keith

That's a nice positive note to finish on. Thank you ever so much. I do apologise to all of the people who ask questions and we haven't had time to deal with them.

I also wanted just a brief time, because this is our last formal session. We've got a slightly less formal session in half an hour when we're going to go through and see what else we can do. Having had 16 days of debate and so on we've got a less formal session in half an hour.

I just wanted to make sure that I said thank you to all of the large number of people who've contributed towards this 16 days. It's quite a huge list. I'm not going to go through and name

Everybody, but I wanted to start by saying thank you to Tim Farron for the keynote speech that started it all off, and all the Liberal Democrat speakers, because we've had the majority of MPs speaking here. We've had the majority of MEPs, former MEPs speaking here and we've had a lot of chairs and co-chairs from within the Liberal Democrats. Several of them doing several stints over the over the 16 days.

I would like to especially thank all of our guest speakers from other organisations. Ed and all of the people who have spoken for us from other organisations. I'm not going to go through and name them individually, but I would pick out two just to say thank you to. Julie Anderson particularly for getting very early in the morning, because she was speaking to us from Los Angeles, and to our star guest Jen Goodall who I think set the tone for the whole 16 days with her star performance on the first Sunday, which is, gosh, two weeks ago. Hasn't the time flown? Particularly also I want to say thank you to the admin teams, people behind the screens who kept it going and the admin teams of the speakers as well. In order to get people onto stage as it were, we've been dealing with a lot of administrators of those speakers. I'll get my people to talk to your people sort of thing, so there's a lot of liaison been going on.

I want to thank the filmmakers. We've seen six films. We've had producers and distributors to deal with, so therefore I need to ask everybody to say thank you to our professional team. our professional producers PCM Creative, Karen and Alison who've done a sterling job throughout. And Lloydy who has appeared at the bottom of the screen here who's kept us going with calmness and fluidity and so on. We also would thank our Green Liberal Democrat back room team who've been on the help desk, on the website, twittering and instagramming. Kevin and his colleagues for the photographic competition. Jason, Mary and George for the quiz. I'd like to thank Zoom for the platform. I'd also like to thank BT because they provided me with a 10 metre wire which connected my wi-fi to my computer and stopped me dropping out of Zoom, which I was regularly doing before. More than anything though I would like to thank the participants, you. 37 of you in the in the room at the moment who have participated throughout the 16 days. And a good number of you who not only have participated but have made donations for us to continue what we're doing.

Save me Lloydy, I'm running out of breath. I think I've said thank you to everybody. If I haven't said thank you to you through all the comments that I've made I do apologise, but there has been such a big long list, but thank you, so thank you specifically to our speakers today and Lloydy I've run out of breath.

Lloydy

Well Keith, firstly I'm going to use calmness and fluidity should I ever stand for the council here in Nottingham. That's clearly a great strap line that I can use if we've just been talking about comms that seems entirely appropriate. But there is one omission and we all really do need to thank you because as chair of the Green LibDems and somebody who has created so much calmness and fluidity between all of the different sessions I hope we can all show our appreciation in the comments by putting in the clap emoji or typing in applause numerous times. It would be lovely to see plenty thanks for Keith in the chat box right now.

And while you're all doing that, and Keith lap it up, there's plenty there for you and rightly so as well. Just a reminder that in the meeting hall we've got video networking lounges for the next hour and then as Keith just mentioned in the meeting hall the festival review, the way forward, a discussion. That all happening from 2:30 this afternoon. Keep the applause coming for Keith. Thank you very much for those that are leaving us now, thank you very much for being part of the Green Liberal Democrats conference 2020 online.

NOT SURE THE REST OF THIS NEEDS TRANSCRIBING …

And that leaves us here on the screen on screen still Karen thank you very much indeed you are on screen I will I will close down the hall here and I will nip over to the digital hall and I will see you there in five or ten minutes thank you everybody please do join the networking lounge

it's in the meeting hall the second of the two links that have been servicing us for the event over the last 16 days we'll have a little bit of a chat you can go and get some refreshments and then at half past two we will bring the room to order and we will have a discussion and a bit of a feedback just about what's been going on over these last 16 days so if there's anything particular that you would like to share with the group if there's anything particular that you'd really like to see again please do let us know and it's a chance for us to talk about what happens next and the way forward.


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https://youtu.be/LOBQOozG8PQ edited by Fiona

Tackling Climate Change From The Bottom Up" Ed Tranter (The One Earth Show)

Wera Hobhouse (MP for Bath)

Steve Mason (Environmental Smart) Sun 5th July

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