People worried about this summer’s extreme temperatures and ongoing drought are invited to attend a community climate conference in Cambridge.
Large parts of Cambridgeshire are predicted to be under water by 2050, with sea levels expected to rise by 35cm as the polar ice caps continue to melt, according to research by science organization Climate Central.
Most of Fenland and east Cambridgeshire could be submerged, including Wisbech, March, Whittlesey and Manea, while Peterborough city center and its railway line would also be badly affected.
Scientist Dr Charlie Gardner will speak about the unprecedented heatwave and other climate impacts at the event in Cambridge Junction at 3pm on Sunday September 4.
Dr Gardner, 43, from Norfolk, has witnessed the devastating effects of climate change and biodiversity loss during 17 years of conservation work – but said the rate at which extreme weather events are happening now is alarming.
“We are seeing record-breaking temperatures,” he said. “This country has simply never been so hot in all of human history.
“The rate of change we are experiencing has surprised many scientists. It has happened faster than models predicted – and in many ways, so the storms are getting worse, the heat is getting worse, the floods are getting worse. are getting worse. Everything is happening faster than expected.”
Dr Gardner, Associate Lecturer and former Senior Lecturer at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent, will lead the discussion, and there will be short presentations from people in Cambridge affected by the climate emergency, including a teacher, grandmother, and a university student.
Free vegan food will be provided and an opportunity to chat, so people can have their say on climate issues and find out what we can all do to make a difference.
Dr Gardner has known about nature’s destruction since childhood and “used to lie in bed worrying about tropical deforestation when I was six”.
While working in Madagascar, he saw how droughts caused by climate change were making farming impossible and leading to increased deforestation, as people turned to charcoal production instead.
“It’s always been so obvious to me that this planet is all we have and we treat it very, very badly,” the scientist said. “But the destruction has accelerated so much, and climate change has accelerated so much, that now I focus less on other species, and more on people.”
In 2016, while preparing to teach an undergraduate module on the implications of climate change for conservation, Dr Gardner sought out the latest scientific evidence and was shocked to see how urgent the situation had become.
“Having learned all these things, it felt so wrong to stand there in an amphitheater full of 20-year-olds saying these absolutely devastating things to them and walk away until next week,” he said. declared.
In 2019, Dr Gardner co-authored an article in the Guardian on the climate and ecological emergency and the role scientists must play in climate activism, with Dr Clare Wordley, postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge.
“I became a scientist because I naively thought that if we generated information about these crises and shared it with our leaders, our leaders would use it to make sound decisions, but of course they didn’t” , did he declare.
He is studying a masters in non-fiction writing at the University of East Anglia and plans to write popular science books on conservation and the climate crisis, to ‘communicate the existing research we already have to a wider audience’ .
Dr Gardner said he was worried about the future generation, especially his five nephews and two nieces, all of whom are under the age of five. He and his wife have decided not to have children themselves because they are afraid to bring a child into a bad world.
Jenny Langley, 66, a former chemistry researcher and science professor at Cambridge, became aware of the climate crisis 34 years ago when US climatologist James Hansen testified before a congress on global warming.
“I have cared about nature all my life and spent quite a bit of time campaigning on environmental and climate issues,” she said.
“I remember a feeling of relief when I heard a renowned scientist tell him publicly how it was. Surely now something would be done.”
Jenny recalls seeing a starling murmur above Jesus Green around the millennium, watching the birds dive to roost together, and was horrified when the murmur decreased in size over the next four years, until that he is no longer there.
“I was frustrated for a long time with the poor results of the climate campaign and I was very angry at things and felt helpless,” she said. “Finding a group of people who care as much about the environment as I do was such a relief.
“I can’t bear the thought of my two precious granddaughters going through this. But I don’t see myself just protecting my local community, I want to protect the whole world.”
Urging people to come to the conference, she added: “If you’re worried about the environment and don’t know what to do, it’s going to be the best two hours you’ve ever had.
“Charlie will very clearly explain the climate crisis we face, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions and discover ways to help solve the climate crisis.”
Julie Wyard, 63, a local primary school teacher who got involved in the climate campaign three years ago, said: “I’m terrified of what the future holds if humans can’t come together to act on the solutions we already know.
“I believe that when local community members come together to share their fears and hopes, they can become more empowered and resilient.”
*The Community Climate Talk is free and will take place at Cambridge Junction at 3pm on Sunday 4 September. Everyone is welcome and you can show up at the door.