Extinction Rebellion Hastings and St. Leonards on Climate Change and Hastings Borough Council

Ahead of the forthcoming Hastings Borough Council Strategy announcement on reducing carbon emissions, Extinction Rebellion Hastings and St. Leonards (XRHSL) is aware that, for many of us, it is difficult to engage with the sheer scale of this crisis without falling into a state of overwhelm and despair. 

We are presented with climate facts that are distressing and alarming and the enormity of our predicament can leave us feeling hopeless. However, it is possible to find community and work towards solutions together. Through the ideas of Work that Reconnects, Joanna Macy teaches that we can transform “despair and overwhelm into inspired, collaborative action”. This is a value at the heart of XR; positive change through community. 

We know that we need to rethink the way we do politics, within the current frameworks addressing the climate emergency is a matter for government and the government are doing a bad job. False reassurances on action to tackle the climate crisis from Government and Big Business are rife. This ‘greenwashing’ leads to many people disengaging from climate concerns. That is bad news.

We must limit global temperature to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels to avoid calamitous climate change. And we have less than a decade to achieve this. Emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030 in order to hold any chance of keeping under that level. This is a global issue.

We are all in this together, there is no point in demonising one nation over another. We need to step away from blaming other countries and their practices to prevent any further disengagement. And actually start working together to make the changes needed. 

On February 13th 2019, a full HBC council meeting committed to the task of making Hastings a carbon-neutral town by 2030; to developing procurement policy to reduce carbon emissions, prioritising goods and services that are less dependent on fossil fuels and prioritising companies who are taking steps to reduce their climate impact. The council also committed to becoming energy sufficient through local sustainable energy generation, including solar arrays and other sustainable energy generation wherever possible and to ensuring council land maximises species diversity and mitigates species extinction. 

Following this commitment, Councillor Maya Evans was appointed as HBC’s ‘Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Portfolio Holder’ in May last year. Members of XRHSL are encouraged by Councillor Evans’ visible engagement with the climate and biodiversity crisis. For instance, she has supported local young people by attending Hastings Youth Strike 4 Climate and taken an active role in the Sustainability on Sea festival. We want to see HBC taking urgent action now to make Hastings a healthier, more bio-diverse and carbon-neutral town.

XRHSL will continue to work hard to sound the alarm on Climate Change. During the October Rebellion, we used the message #EverybodyNow. This is still the case, the crisis is not going away anytime soon and we all need to stand together to face the biggest challenge of achieving scientifically advised reduction targets. We will continue to build our community of learning, passion and care which is so needed right now. As Martin Luther King said: “I am convinced love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism.”

Florence Hurley
Extinction Rebellion

To find out more about Extinction Rebellion and how you can get involved, please visit xrhsl.org, sign up to our newsletter and join us at a meeting or action soon.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.