For veteran environmentalists, Cheltenham resident Jonathon Porritt CBE is a household name. In 1980 I was working for the Wildlife Link Committee of the Council for Environmental Conservation. We were based in Regent’s Park Zoo (next to the wolf enclosure) and I would cycle to work, in rush hour traffic, from Crouch End down the Holloway Road - a feat I wouldn’t even contemplate today! In those days, Jonathon Porritt chaired the Ecology Party (now Green Party), and Friends of the Earth (which Jonathon also led from 1984-1990) was one of our members. So Clean Air Cheltenham is delighted that he has agreed to chair an important webinar for us on 9 March.
Charles Dickens novel, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, opens with the memorable line: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’, words which could have been written for the times in which we now find ourselves. ‘Worst’ for reasons I probably don’t need to outline. But best? Well, yes, for we are presented with so many opportunities to take positive and responsible action to improve our world in a myriad of ways.
A way most dear to the heart of Clean Air Cheltenham is to encourage Cheltenham Borough Council (with the support and backing of the County Council) to take the lead, and collaborate with local organisations, to create a sustainable transport plan for our town – one that works for everyone; putting cycling and walking – active travel – at the forefront, and which no longer relies on fossil-fuel powered vehicles.
At our 9 March webinar Cllr Waseem Zaffar will present Birmingham City Council’s admirable transport plan. He will be joined by Maik Lindemann, from Cheltenham’s twin town of Göttingen in Lower Saxony, to present the innovative plans for their beautiful mediaeval university city, which closely links transport futures to the demands of climate change. (Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an English translation of their plan).
Every good project begins with a gleam in the inventor’s eye. So, imagine a quiet town with reliable, frequent public transport (powered by non-polluting fuel); comprehensive, safe and well-maintained cycle routes; a thriving electric-car-sharing scheme, and more space for people, living and enjoying nature – right in the middle of town.
‘Maybe it’s time we re-imagine the role of public streets in our lives and communities and take them back,’ wrote Rob Hopkins in his book ‘From What Is to What If: Unleashing the Power of the Imagination to Create the Future We Want’. Clean Air Cheltenham hopes that this webinar will unleash the power of your imagination and stimulate you to take action to protect our air. It is free and you can register on the Clean Air Cheltenham website at About Us/Events: