Climate activists recently presented a petition containing more than 12,000 signatures demanding Wandsworth Council to declare a climate emergency.
Residents asked the council to recognise the serious impact climate change will have on the local community and to develop a plan of action to make Wandsworth carbon neutral by 2030.
Led by local resident Glyn Goodwin, the idea was inspired by a growing need for people to do something to halt the negative effects of climate change.
Mr Goodwin said: “There was a general disquiet. Lots of people were saying, ‘Climate change is terrible but what can we do?’
“So this idea came up of breaking climate change into regional areas to get people on board. Now we’re doing our bit and hope that spreads and has a bigger effect than the effect that it’s had already.”
In conjunction with the Green Party, the petition required 10,000 signatures in order to be discussed by council and volunteers enthusiastically banded together to meet the target.
Mr Goodwin, a 59-year-old illustrator, added: “People would literally ask for forms and get signatures. I had no idea who they were but it seemed to just grab the imagination and people were literally knocking door to door.
“A lot of the pupils went out and got signatures as well. There were school kids asking their school friends. And they were coming back with 80 to 100 signatures which is amazing.”
Wandsworth Council made a special exception by allowing under-18s to sign the petition as climate change will ultimately affect their future. Some of those who signed are pictured above as they handed over the petition.
Mr Goodwin said: “I’m doing this because I have two children. And the more science you read, the worse it gets. By the time my kids grow up, it will be too late.
“All those tipping points would have gone by and if we don’t do it now then we don’t get a second chance. That’s the crucial thing – you do it for your kids and everyone else’s kids.”
Of those children involved in the petition was Glyn’s 13-year-old daughter, Maia, who gathered signatures at her school and made a speech when residents presented the petition to council.
Maia said: “I went on this school strike and saw how many people were there and decided I wanted to do something to help.
“It’s our future that we need to save and our future generations’. If they don’t get involved then they may as well not do anything. Even if they do the slightest thing, they could make a difference.”
While teachers and students signed the petition, some schools used the petition as a teaching tool for their pupils.
A Wandsworth Council spokesman said: “We have received this petition and because it has been signed by this number of people it will be debated at full council meeting.”
The council have since informed residents that they plan to discuss the matter at their full council meeting on 17th July.
Wandsworth council has aimed to make beneficial environmental changes already, particularly when Putney became the capital’s first low-emission bus zone in 2017.
In the same year, it also revised its five year Air Quality Action Plan, with a further 50 actions to reduce pollution levels and noticed a drop in harmful pollutants at seven air quality monitoring stations in the borough last year.
“We’re going to try and get together experts and interested people, who have different point of views, so we can actually feed in and inform Wandsworth on exactly what we should be doing and the useful next steps.”
The event will be held at Home Community Café, St Andrews, Earlsfield, SW18 4SR from 7pm on Thursday June 6.
Follow the Facebook group ‘The 10000’ to find out more about today’s event and further updates on the petition.
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