Tackling climate change: We can all play our part | Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar column

Burnley Council leader Afrasiab AnwarBurnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar
Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar
Climate change dominates the news agenda and will continue to do so over the coming week as COP26 takes place in Glasgow.

World Leaders and financiers are meeting to set out plans and agree ways forward to save the planet.

It would be interesting to see how many of our world leaders turned up to conference in a chauffeur driven gas guzzler or private jet.

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Perhaps this conference will be the turning point and they will lead by example.

What are our plans for reaching net zero by 2050? Although a target enshrined in law last year the route to that target is still unclear.

That we do not have the infrastructure in place is clearly one issue, the cost both financially and socially is another.

That action needs to be taken against the biggest polluters and better management of our resources from water to gas to electricity is not in doubt, but what about our own carbon footprint?

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Conversations in Glasgow will focus on global targets, but these can only be achieved if action is taken at a local level within our communities.

I have spoken previously about what we as a council are doing to reduce our carbon footprint, but everyone can help limit climate change.

From the way we travel, to the electricity we use and the food we eat, we can all make a difference.

Simple things like riding or walking to school, lowering the temperature on the heating thermostat and putting on a jumper, buying less but buying local.

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Before placing an order online taking time to consider whether that single use item from the other side of the world is really necessary.

In the grand scheme of things these are minor asks but all relevant and plausible personal actions, which over time will become good habits.

We have to educate ourselves and there is certainly growing awareness of the consequences of our actions. I must admit on a personal level this is something that is much more of a priority for me than it was maybe a few years ago.

I am much more conscious of the impact my actions have on the planet.

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Climate change is a huge and complicated subject but the tangible consequences of doing nothing can be clearly seen within our own borough – increased instances of flooding in Padiham being but one, whilst the international news was full of flash floods and wildfires across Europe, a stark reminder that there will be serious consequences globally.

We are continuously learning, inventing and implementing novel ideas to cater for the new world we are going to find ourselves in.

In the meantime. we need to behave responsibly, make better more informed decisions and work together to find the scientific, technological, economic, or political solutions to improve the situation.

We may not save the planet by switching off lights, recycling, reusing and upcycling or turning the engine off rather than idling when picking children up from school but it’s a helpful start.