As promised in my last article, I attended the Extinction Rebellion meeting at Colchester Quaker meeting house, intending to talk to their political group, and I think I became their political group.

I wasn’t aware I’d joined, but I’ve seen my name in a list of new members, so if you’re still wondering what kind of crazy, dangerous anarchists are in XR, I can assure you they include at least one 5ft, seven stone pensioner granny and WI treasurer. Scary!

I also spoke at the People’s Assembly in Castle Park on “How an individual can be a climate activist” where I found a wonderful poster of the 3 Pillars of the People’s Assembly - Inclusivity, Listening, Trust - and their guidelines including respect, and no offensive language. If only Parliament could behave like XR!

XR have other sub-groups, including action and logistics, but also art, and poignantly, a wellbeing group, providing support for those overwhelmed by the enormity of climate change.

It is undoubtedly a terrifying prospect. Some cope by busily doing all we can to fight it, others, like that XR group, face it with desperate sadness, and a few like Trump, and some letter writers to the Gazette, still put their blind eye to the telescope and say “I see no climate emergency”.

But the climate emergency continues even if ignored, across the world. July 2019 was the hottest ever recorded month, and the Antarctic is now melting even faster than the Arctic.

But there is hope now in that more and more people are taking action. Tendring District Council is the latest to declare a climate emergency, following Braintree and Colchester, so all our local councils are now looking for measures they can take, and would welcome your suggestions.

What can they do? I talked to my councillor Peter Chillingworth, who was the mayor of Colchester in 2018, about what falls within the remit of our local councils.

Peter is on the conservation and sustainable environmental task and finish group. Local council powers are limited, as Essex County Council retains authority over many areas, such as social services, education, and highways, but Kevin Bentley is responsible for highways and infrastructure and sits on both Essex county and Colchester borough councils, so perhaps in Colchester we could make some headway with him on greening transport.

Please start thinking of ideas as the task and finish group are genuinely looking for constructive suggestions.

I will find contact details for Colchester, Braintree and Tendring councils and put them in my next article, so please put your thinking cap on and watch this space.