On January 30, 2019 at a meeting of full council, Lancaster City Council declared a climate emergency. The declaration included a commitment to convene a People's Jury to help identify how our activities can be made net-zero carbon by 2030. The aim was to put citizens at the centre of designing a response to the climate emergency. Over 16 sessions, participants heard from a range of commentators (‘expert witnesses’) as well as sharing opinions, experiences and ideas with each other.
The People's Jury was formed to examine the response to the climate emergency so far and produce recommendations that will be used to guide the future work of the council and a range of other organisations across the district. The question considered by the Lancaster district Climate Change People’s Jury was ‘What do we need to do in our homes, neighbourhoods and district to respond to the emergency of climate change?’
The following statement was written by a group of jury members and then edited and discussed by the rest of the jury. All of the 26 jury members who voted on the recommendations (found in the People's Jury final report) either strongly support or support the statement:
We are facing a climate emergency which makes us concerned and worried about the future.
We have heard from a range of experts and we now believe that if we take immediate action, we have the tools and the hope that we can address this emergency.
We believe that the only suitable response will be one that brings many organisations and individuals together to work collectively and not separately. This is bigger than Lancaster.
We recognise that many difficult decisions lie ahead but that we must act immediately and not allow a quest for perfection to get in the way of making progress. We need to take action today, not in 30 years time. A journey starts with a small step which all of us can achieve.
The people of the Lancaster district need to see confident leadership, positive changes made and a clear plan for the future.
Our city and county councils must accept that progressive change to fight the climate change emergency will have financial implications. Not being able to fund the recommendations we have listed here is no reason for inaction as money won't matter in a world that won't exist as we know it.
The response to the climate emergency needs to be one that moves away from politicians making all the decisions but instead reaches out to the wider public and communities for ideas of how to achieve our recommendations. It's time for our councils to listen to the people of Lancaster and district and take action now, leading the way to make changes in response to this emergency.