Campaigners and the public attended what would turn out to be a successful Climate Matters Day held at the Small World Theatre in Cardigan.
The event on 9 September, hosted by Extinction Rebellion, covered a wide range of climate-related topics, with author Jeremy Williams kicking off the day by speaking on the unequal impacts of climate change across the globe and within societies.
He showed how long-term disadvantage can build up for certain sections of communities and encouraged policy makers and institutions to always consider this when making decisions. “We must ensure we pursue climate solutions which are good for both people and social justice,” he said.
Several of the speakers and local organisations referred to the multiple pressures on nature, in addition to the rapidly changing climate. One such pressure is plastic pollution. Friends of the Earth had sand samples from various sites, including Poppit Sands, in which, with the aid of a UV light, you could see the presence of microplastics.
One of the organisers noted: “Most social change across the ages has come from people getting together to use their voices collectively, and the power of community is stressed by many of the campaigning groups present. It is very easy to feel that we, the public, are powerless, yet the newly formed local campaigning group Save the Teifi grew out of local people having the chance to share their concerns in Ffynonne Resilience.
“This led to the formation of Save the Teifi and their local campaign, which has already achieved a funding commitment from Welsh Water to tackle water nitrification due to agricultural and sewage pollution.
“But we are still waiting for meaningful changes and commitments from government.”
Delicious food was served by the XR Cymru Kitchen, there was much interest around the assembly of electric bikes, and colourful block printing was a popular activity during the day.
The event ended with a strong rallying call from Dr Hazel Beaumont of the University of the West of England, who implored people to get involved in whichever way they can.
“We have the solutions,” she said. “We need real focus to determine a fair and clear-cut path forwards. We need public money for public good; this clearly does not include the obscenity of ongoing vast public subsidising of the fossil fuel industry.”
Lynda Duffill, co-convenor of West Wales Climate Coalition said she was “really encouraged to see so many organisations coming together to share their positive actions and address the climate emergency”.
“The main thing I take away from the day is how together we can make a difference; in our gardens, communities and even on political decisions,” said Liz Burchell. “It was great to be inspired by such an active community.”