Following the meeting we organised in March which around 40 students who were on Strike for Climate attended, and to which all 54 Coventry City Councillors were invited but only one was able to attend, UNA Coventry organised a meeting with senior Coventry Councillors on 23 April 2019 at which we explained the three main requests that the students had made.
The meeting was attended by Councillor George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration and Councillor Patricia Hetherton Cabinet Member for City Services as well as two members of staff who gave very useful presentations.
This was the result…
Councillor Duggins agreed to take action on the student’s first request
The students want all schools to establish Eco-Teams to promote carbon saving activities. The students have many ideas about what these teams could accomplish. Councillor Duggins agreeing to raise this idea with Kirston Nelson, Director of Education.
But he was unable or unwilling to take action on the other two requests
He felt unable to take action on the student’s second request, that the Council establish an Eco-Committee to bring together representatives from each Eco-Team in order to coordinate actions and exchange ideas. His reason was that climate change is already being dealt with by several of the Council’s existing Committees, by scrutiny in Cabinet and by a variety of other mechanisms. He said he could not set up a new Committee. However he said you are open to anything that works.
That is why the United Nations Association Coventry Branch has established Coventry Climate Action Network. It will stand outside the Council’s official structure. We hope that the Council will be show its support for this group. Note that another group with the same name was previously formed by the University of Warwick but has not recently been active except for updating a Facebook page.
Climate Emergency Declaration
The third of the student’s calls was for the Council to follow many others in the UK and around the world and declare a Climate Emergency, thereby raising the profile of the issue and lending authority to the students as they fight against stigmatisation and mockery by their peers.
However Councillor Duggins does not support such a declaration.
Coventry Climate Action Network
As a result, the United Nations Association has now created a website for the Coventry Climate Action Network at covcan.uk
The Coventry CAN was originally formed in 2017 but has not been very active recently. We hope that the new website will help to revive this network. We will organised regular meetings of this network to which students, councillors, and anyone else who is interested in fighting against climate change will be invited.