SDLP Climate Emergency and Net Zero Spokesperson councillor Gary McKeown has said that everyone has a part to play in safeguarding the planet for future generations.
He was speaking ahead of Earth Day 2023 on Saturday.
The theme of this year’s Earth Day is ‘Invest in Our Planet’, highlighting the important role everyone, from governments and major companies, to ordinary citizens has to play in tackling the climate emergency.
Councillor McKeown said:
“Earth Day provides us with an important opportunity to take stock of how far we have come when it comes to achieving our goals of tackling the climate emergency and working towards Net Zero, while also highlighting just how far we still have to go if we want to safeguard our planet and our way of life for future generations to enjoy.
“Progress in tackling environmental issues around the world and at home has unfortunately been painfully slow. If we are ever going to see real progress we need to stop our one step forward, two steps back approach and get real about cutting our carbon emissions and other harmful behaviours. As the theme of this year’s Earth Day outlines, dealing with this emergency is all of our responsibilities, from our governments to huge multinational companies and ordinary families.
“At a local government level I want to see us using the powers available to us to make a real positive contribution, through recycling, strategies to lower pollution and by using planning to create more areas where biodiversity can thrive and generate cleaner, greener communities. We must all commit to the radical change that is necessary to slow the progress of climate change and prevent catastrophic environmental situations developing around the world.”
SDLP Active Travel Spokesperson Councillor Simon Lee said:
“One of the main ways that we can quickly lower harmful carbon emissions is by encouraging active and sustainable travel. This will not only have huge benefits for our environment, but for public health as more people choose to leave their cars at home and take up walking, cycling or other more environmentally friendly forms of travel.
“It’s deeply frustrating that our existing public transport network lags so far behind what’s needed if we are to encourage people to consider making it part of their daily lives. Compared to major countries around the world the North’s transport links are totally unfit for purpose and I hope to see a restored Stormont commit significant resources to a greener, more reliable public transport network that actually meets the needs of people here.”