The short break that I have just enjoyed helped to remind me of just how close we are to so much beautiful countryside. In what could have been a rehearsal for the walking festival in September, I have walked over several areas of this, the eastern end of the South Downs. So much open space, fantastic views and totally uncrowded.
Whilst I was on leave, I knew that I would be returning to tackle some very serious matters, not least of which the ongoing challenges of CV19. The break gave me time to consider the even greater issues facing our future. Issues such as sustainability.
Eastbourne Borough Council has already set the objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and are working alongside environmental groups in order to achieve this target, but sustainability, which is so important for future generations, is much more than that. Sustainability means finding ways to meet our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. So, whatever we take from the earth’s resources must be capable of being replaced and whatever we create, we need to be able to dispose of without polluting the planet.
To achieve this will require major changes in the ways that we live, many of which we might find uncomfortable. For example, we urgently need to tackle our use of plastic. On several occasions I have joined with others to clean our beaches and seen the volume of plastic washed up on our shores. Since the 1950s more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste have been produced, making plastic one of the largest synthetic materials on the planet. if there is to be a future for our children and grandchildren, this simply cannot continue.
The Covid pandemic has been tragic and brought grief to many, but it has also led to certain lifestyle changes which can contribute towards sustainability. Less commuting, more home working and video conferencing. Staycation holidays and less foreign travel are not really painful changes for most of us, but if continued will help to protect the future.