'After 50 years talking about the climate it's time for action'

St Jude's Church in Hampstead Garden Suburb

St Jude's Church in Hampstead Garden Suburb - Credit: David White

As we approach the festive season, I’m not so sure we are all feeling particularly jolly.

A short film about Hampstead Garden Suburb made in 1975 recently surfaced. It makes for fascinating viewing. Apart from the clothes, cars (and RP!), a time traveller wouldn’t really notice much change to the "look" of the Suburb; a testament to Henrietta Barnett’s vision and the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust’s fastidious caretaking. But, what really struck me watching this film, was the concern about air pollution.

Back in the '70s, residents were protesting about the pollution caused by heavy traffic on the Lyttelton Road dual carriageway (which forms part of the A1) and yet we are still talking about this almost 50 years on….

Climate change issues weigh heavily. On a very granular level, in just the last few days on my morning dog walks, I’ve seen the temperature fluctuate from 13C down to -2C and back up again. In fact, yesterday it was -1C and today, as I write this column, it’s back up to 12C . Total madness.

Shelley-Anne Salisbury

Shelley-Anne Salisbury says it is time for action to deal with climate change - Credit: 1000words.co.za

To paraphrase the president of COP26, Alok Sharma, it’s time for action not words. In response to this call to arms, a local energy committee has been formed by a group of local volunteers. They’ll have their work cut out, but everyone agrees, the time to act is now if future generations will be able to enjoy all that our wonderful Suburb has to offer.

And now, just to pile on the misery, Omicron , the latest Covid variant, has joined us in time for Christmas. Whilst we wait for the scientists to discover the transmissibility and potency of this unwelcome guest, we are facing more uncertainty, much like we faced last Christmas. No wonder we are all feeling a bit down.

We had hoped 2021 might bring some respite and normality, and it did up to a point, but, we still have a long way to go. Covid is only part of a host of problems. Sharma is right, we need action, not words and most definitely not just wishful thinking.

Shelley-Anne Salisbury is a mediator, writer and the co-editor of Suburb News, themediationpod.net