In a bid to raise awareness of climate and environmental issues facing the local area, local residents will be holding a peaceful, family-friendly rally through Horsham on 29th November 2015 as part of the global ‘Time To Act’ Climate March taking place on that day, in advance of the COP21 Climate Summit in Paris from 30th November to 11th December 2015. This summit aims to reach a legally binding and universally agreed commitment to tackling climate change and reducing harmful emissions and marches will take place across the world in what is billed as the world’s largest climate protest.
Gathering at the Horsham Park Bandstand (near the Conservatory Café) from 11am, marchers will set off on the mile-long route at midday, taking in several stops along the route at important locations where speakers will address those taking part on different climate issues of national and local importance, from development to Gatwick expansion to fossil fuels and air pollution.
The Horsham District – a largely rural area – already has two Air Quality Monitoring Zones, with other villages under observation. Despite this, in 2013 almost 1-in-20 adult deaths in the District were still directly attributable to air pollution. With vast areas of West Sussex licensed for oil and gas exploration, along with the prospect of new roads, large urban developments and the risk of further expansion at Gatwick Airport, the threat to the health and well-being of local residents is clear.
One of the aims of the march will also be to ask West Sussex County Council to divest its multi-million pound Pension Fund, which currently holds large investments in fossil fuels, tobacco and the arms industry – including nuclear weapons manufacturer BAE Systems. In addition to being contrary to the Council’s ethical investments policy, some of these investments are in companies that are active within West Sussex, such as oil exploration company Celtique Energie, which currently has a drill site at Broadford Bridge, near Billingshurst and has previously sought additional sites near Wisborough Green and Fernhurst.
One of the organizers of the event, Martin Dale, said: “This family-friendly event aims to not only raise awareness of these important issues amongst our elected representatives and onlookers, but also, as just one of many marches taking place across the world, to apply pressure on world leaders heading to the COP21 Climate Summit. Everyone is welcome to bring along their own placards and banners, and we encourage children to get creative! We wish to make sure that Horsham puts on a good turnout.”
Anyone who cannot make it to the main London event, but who wishes to stand up for the environment are invited to attend this peaceful event. There is no need to register to take part – just show up on the day.
Anyone else wanting more information about the event can join the Horsham Climate March 2015 group on Facebook.