The combined threats to the planet have certainly loomed large in the news recently, with growing numbers joining the Extinction Rebellion protests in London and across the country. A number of people from Wanstead have been taking part in those protests.

There have been complaints from some about the inconvenience it has caused with travel, getting to work etc. But this is surely to miss the point, which is that we cannot just go on in our atomised furrows, ploughing along in isolation from everyone else. This is to a large degree what has been going on for years. It is the type of denial that has enabled the destruction of the planet to take place. It is also the attitude that has let politicians put the issue on the back burner, never really acting to address the crisis.

Many have pointed out that had politicians acted when the environmental threat first became apparent back in the 1980s, the devastation could have been stopped. But they did not, there was rhetoric and no action. Now the situation has reached an emergency level, requiring much more drastic and costly steps to be taken.

Cllr Jo Blackman and myself will be bringing forward a climate emergency motion to Redbridge Council in June. This will help kick start the council’s approach to countering the environmental threats.

It will be important to really convey that this is an emergency with action needed - the International Panel on Climate Change warned last year that we had 12 years to save the planet - well we've already wasted one of them.

The Wanstead environmental charter, which officially launches today (May 2), will enshrine some of the practical steps that need to be taken to address the emergency. More people need to engage, from businesses, schools, and civil society to individuals and the council.

Redbridge Council has made some positive moves, such as the consultation over pollution and the move to put vehicle exclusion zones around schools.

The cycling culture is being promoted, with the recent £3.3 million attained from the London Mayor to improve cycling and pedestrian routes in the borough.

The council has been supporting biodiversity projects such as the community gardeners but more can always be done. If people come forward with proposals to improve their streets, the council is willing to help.

Tree planting has taken place in a number of areas of Redbridge and we would like to see more trees in Wanstead.

On an individual level, we all need to do more – drive and fly less, create less waste, grow more and eat less meat.

There is much happening but so much more can be done, if people come forward to meet the challenge of the emergency that faces us.

So please, support the environmental charter initiative – do something to make our area a cleaner, greener place.

For more on the Wanstead Environmental Charter see:

  • Paul Donovan is a Redbridge councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See