I thought my diesel car would have to go

More than seven in 10 people in the UK are concerned about climate change, surveys show. Nearly half think it is caused mainly or entirely by human activity. This is good news: if enough people are convinced by the scientific evidence that we are the cause of the problem, there is hope that we can be the solution too.

The question is, can we wait around for the government, or industry, or someone else, to take responsibility and action? Tackling climate change feels like too large a task for individuals but I have come round to the view that what we do both individually and collectively is crucial. 

Making changes to the way we live is a challenge, of course, and it is easy to make assumptions about what will make the most difference. In my case, I thought driving was my biggest carbon emissions problem. You see I love driving – it’s always been my escape route from life’s troubles. I can just jump into my car and go somewhere – anywhere. 

When I realised a couple of years ago what a mess we’re making of our environment I became almost embarrassed to drive my old diesel car. I thought it would make my carbon footprint really high. So I tried out both electric and hybrid cars – in fact my husband really wanted one. But however much I tried I really struggled with them. They were automatic, and it felt as if the car was in control rather than me doing the driving. So I decided the car would have to go. 

Then some friends suggested I use a carbon footprint tracker to find out how I was spending my carbon budget. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my car made a relatively small contribution to my footprint, due to the low mileage I now do. I try to walk most places, usually with my dog – everyone where I live knows me by my dog!

My highest emissions turned out to come from stuff, which is almost more embarrassing than my car being my biggest problem! The damage my spending on DIY projects, outdoor clothing, gadgets, etc, does to my bank balance is bad enough. The fact that it’s also damaging the planet is double trouble. I now pay much more attention to where my stuff is produced, and  make a conscious effort to buy local, even if it means I don’t receive it the next day. 

At least I now know how I am spending my carbon budget, and more importantly, what actions I can take to reduce it.

I was so close to selling my car and making the massive mistake of thinking I was now clean and green. And I could have carried on accumulating more stuff without a thought to the real cost to the environment of each new purchase. 

So my advice to all my friends is, if you want to make changes, just check they are the ones that will really make a difference to your impact on our planet. 

Let’s make 2021 the year of climate action!

November 2019 Newletter

Action on Climate in Teignbridge’s November Newsletter.
ACT’s sub-groups have submitted a wide range of policies for the Teignbridge Local Plan Review. We have a web site.

Action on Climate in Teignbridge’s November Newsletter.

ACT members have been busy!

ACT‘s sub-groups have submitted a wide range of policies for the Teignbridge Local Plan Review – with Fuad and Jules making especially important inputs to the Built Environment areas, where the 2019 Amended Climate Act is changing carbon targets for the better. Our Group is now working closely with the Council on a range of different subjects and we are very happy to be forming this close relationship.

Sub-groups: If there is an ACT sub-group that you would like to join, then do let us know by clicking on update your preferences. We currently have these six sub-groups: Built Environment, Food, Farming and Forestry (3Fs), Ecology, Procurement, Public Engagement and Transport. If getting to meetings is difficult, don’t worry, we have several members who email comments when we send the agendas round – we really value your input!

ACT‘s new website is going to be up and running very soon! Enormous thanks to Jules for his hard work and expertise – we think it is going to be a great asset.

Dartmoor National Park: Nearly one third of our Teignbridge Parishes are within, or partly within, Dartmoor National Park. So, a group of us will be meeting their Chief Executive, Kevin Bishop, very soon to discuss the best ways of working together on the Dartmoor Climate and Ecological Emergency. We are also working with groups that have been formed on the Moor.

Councils who have declared a Climate Emergency – or who are thinking of it – are asking for advice and presentations to help them write Climate Action Plans. ACT has been putting together a Parish Pack, with a wide range of information, from Declaring a Climate Emergency to setting up a Community Fridge or a Community Garden. There is also an increasing demand for ACT’s interactive Climate Change talks around the District – with particular interest in what we can all do in our own lives. Get in touch if you or your Council would like more information.

Funding: We have gone from having just a few pounds in the pot to having £500! Cllr Richard Keeling (Chair of Teignbridge District Council) and Cllr Lorraine Evans have each given us £250 from their Councillors ‘pot’ that they can give to organisations that help their local communities. We’re very grateful!

Forthcoming Events:

Thursday 5th December: Now that we know who our candidates are, we’re inviting them all (Newton Abbot and Central Devon) to a Local Candidates Climate Change Question Time at Coombeshead Theatre. As soon as we have their responses, we will be sending out invitations to ACT members and members of local climate change organisations (not to the general public). When you book your place, you can also submit a question. We will select a representative set of questions that we can ask them on the night.

A Climate Forum for Councillors: this will be in the New Year and will be an opportunity for our District, Town and Parish Councillors to ‘get up to speed’ on climate issues. It will also be a great opportunity for everyone to share ideas and find out which are working best!

And finally:

We need to talk about Christmas…

In our imagination we see happy friends and families cuddled up together on the sofa, sharing a delicious meal or walking across a snowy hillside. No wonder we look forward to our mid-winter festival!

But the reality is different – with stressed parents dashing around trying to achieve this impossible dream, while avoiding borrowing too much more money; anxious grandparents trying to buy the right gift tokens for their grandchildren. Everyone doing their best to work out what everyone wants for the festive season.

So, what do we want for Christmas and the New Year? What better present could we give to our young people than hope for the future of their world?

So, why don’t we put more of our efforts into fighting climate change? Is it because advertising has ‘programmed’ us to shop? Is it because shopping gives us a quick ‘high’ – followed by some nasty doubts when we get home? Is it because we can make shopping decisions on our own – but to tackle climate change effectively, we need to work together?

Whatever the reason, could a simple Christmas with tiny, plastic-free presents and moderate amounts of local food make us happier?

Just think of the TIME we’d save – time to be together.

Think of the MONEY we’d save – no loans to repay.

Think how much less FOOD would be wasted – and how much less STUFF would be binned.

Less ships carrying plastics around the world, less intensive food production, less CO2 emissions.

Surely we could try!

Climate Emergency Question Time

Deciding how to vote has never been so difficult, and climate change and the environment aren’t getting as much cover as they deserve. So, ACTion on Climate in Teignbridge has invited all of the candidates standing for the Central Devon and Newton Abbot constituencies to our Climate Emergency Question Time.

Local candidates answer your questions

Thursday 5th December 7-9pm at Coombeshead College’s Bushell Theatre.

With mulled wine and minced pies.

Deciding how to vote has never been so difficult, and climate change and the environment aren’t getting as much cover as they deserve. So, ACTion on Climate in Teignbridge has invited all of the candidates standing for the Central Devon and Newton Abbot constituencies to our Climate Emergency Question Time.

When you book your place, you will have the opportunity to submit a question on how they would fight climate change and help our ecosystems recover. We will choose a representative selection which our Chair will ask every candidate. If any candidates can’t attend, we will ask them to send someone to represent their views – not simply their Party manifesto’s.

We will also be celebrating ACT‘s first 5 months, in which we have been supporting the District of Teignbridge on its journey to becoming carbon neutral. After Question Time there will be mulled wine, mulled apple juice and mince pies – a good time to socialise and share views on the best ways to reach our ambitious goal! We now have around 200 members from all over the District, of which 50 are very active – but there is always room for more. We’d would love to see you there and hear your views! Please share this with any other Teignbridge Environment Groups.

Directions and parking.

Questions submitted in the forum The deadline for submission of questions is mid day on 3rd December.

Please bring your own mug – no glasses for safety reasons.

Sorry this event is now full.

Read the Candidate’s statements

Central Devon

Alison Eden (Liberal Democrats)


Mel Stride (Conservatives)

Has not responded to our invitation

Lisa Robillard Webb (Labour)


Andy Williamson (Green Party)


Newton Abbot

Megan Debenham (Green Party)


David Halpin (Independent)


Anne Marie Morris (Conservatives)


James Osben (Labour)


Martin Wrigley (Liberal Democrats)


TDC formally accept our support proposal

ACT has met Jackie Hook, TDC climate emergency portfolio holder and David Eaton, climate emergency lead officer, on several occasions, to discuss a joint approach for delivering on the TDC declaration. We have also gathered over 150 proposals for possible action from members of the community, which has been passed to the council.

The coordination group is confident that ACT can help both TDC and everyone in Teignbridge achieve the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2025. This proposal describes ACT’s vision, mission and objectives, and proposes a partnership with the council. Finally, it provides an provisional timeline for getting the relationship established.

TDC formally accepted our role in supporting them in at their full council meeting on 24th Sept 2019.

Our full proposal can be read here.

September 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the first of what will become a quarterly newsletter.

Firstly, and somewhat belatedly a massive THANK YOU to all who attended our Climate Summit meeting.  Especially for all the great suggestions you’ve given us, we’ve already used those in our work discussions the district council.  

So, what’s been happening since the Climate Summit meeting on 4th July 2019?

We’ve been busy setting up structures and starting lots of initiatives.  We’ve managed a lot, but now need more people to get actively involved and help us deliver some of the things you’ve told us are important.
The Coordination group have held regular meetings.  As a result, we have agreed to call our group – Action on Climate in Teignbridge (ACT for short).  We have formulated our group’s aims, working structure and responsibilities in our Terms of Reference document.  ACT’s mission is to assist, encourage and help Teignbridge District Council and town and parish councils, community groups and residents in the district to act together to realise the Carbon Zero target of 2025.
ACT’s Coordination group are positioning themselves to become the main point of contact between all other like minded groups, Town and Parish councils and individuals across Teignbridge.  Offering help and guidance and sharing best work practices. 
We have also formed the following specialist working groups: Built Environment, Transport, Food-Farming-Forestry, Ecology, Fundraising, Procurement and PR. Meetings of the Built Environment, the three F’s and Ecology have already taken place.  Meetings of both Transport and PR are planned.
Please contact me to find out more about what help we need.
ACT’s proposal to Teignbridge District Council, will be considered and voted on Tuesday the 24th September. You can read this and the council’s proposed plans under item 9 of the agenda for the full council meeting.
Our main activities over the next month or so will be; updating our web site, contacting groups and all Parish and Town councils across Teignbridge to become part of this community initiative.
We will also continue working on our legal structure and plan to hold an inaugural AGM in November. This will include the election of officers.
Reading this through prior to sending it out, it does seem slightly boring and matter of fact, but the people involved with these groups are quite inspiring, fun and very passionate. Although some might comment “I do need to get out more”
If you have any questions, ideas or would like to help please contact me.

August 2019 Newletter

This email is to update you on what has been happening since the meeting on 4th July. We’ve been busy organising the next stage of Teignbridge Climate Emergency Action Group’s (TCEAG’s) work, and collating all the suggestions made at the meeting.

One of the first tasks is to set up a Steering Group to take over from the four of us.  We have contacted everyone who expressed interest in being part of this subgroup, and invited them to its first meeting this Friday.  The meeting will discuss what the steering group’s role should be, and, in particular, the best way to support existing and new initiatives around Teignbridge which help deliver the Council’s zero carbon target.  The group will share the results of its meeting with everyone.

The steering group might well decide there should be sub-groups, for Food, Farming, Transport and other themes.  If so, and you have expressed interest in one of the themes, you should receive an email next week about joining that subgroup.

For those who can’t wait or are not too keen on meetings, our facebook group is a good place to find out about some existing local initiatives, and have conversations to start new ones.  There are many local initiatives you can be involved with.  So why not have a conversation and exchange some ideas there. 

The other thing worth mentioning is that momentum to take action is growing across the district.  More and more parish councils are declaring climate emergencies, and Dartmoor National Park Authority has just done so (also with at 2025 target date).  We are moving as quickly as we can so that TCEAG can respond to these developments, but, of course, please do contact and work with your local council direct.  Many of them will be unsure how what action to take to deliver on their declarations.

Finally, we want to make you aware that we have set up a mailing list with your name, e-mail, location and areas of interest on MailChimp.  You can change your details (or remove them completely) using the links below.  We will, of course, keep your personal details private, and only use  these to contact you about the Teignbridge Climate Emergency Action Group’s work.

Looking forward to working with you all
Penny, Andrew, Audrey & Fuad