Climate Emergency Service
We need to set up a nation wide organisation to:
Prepare for and deal with climate emergencies.
Co-ordinate and prod the various branches of government to work closely together in the face of Climate Change (CC)
Back and promote the findings of specialist scientific CC research groups and their suggestions for public policy.
Promote public awareness and education concerning CC.
Provide membership , local, regional and national for all across parties who are concerned with and want to prevent catastrophic CC.
The emerging crisis in climate change and the emergencies and extreme weather that result from it, can be seen both as a threat and an opportunity. The threat is to our safety, economy, way of life, our very future. It is worse than the threat of war or imminent invasion, but like such threats, it can also stir us to develop the abilities and the spirit we need to face it. It can spur us to work with and for others, to co-operate, to accept risks, challenges and difficulties and to get involved. In short it can help us develop through practical action a vivid sense of our mutual interdependence and common humanity.
In the face then of the inevitable speeding up of climate change and with it the certainty that we can expect a sharp increase in “natural disasters ” – flooding, drought, hurricanes and extreme weather – together with the increased likelihood of epidemics, the Liberal Democrat leadership should campaign for the setting up NOW of a CES.
The CES should recruit and encourage a wide range of volunteers to work for it either full or part time as well as encouraging local volunteer members. This should include:
Specialists in people and logistics management
Former defence service personnel – all ranks.
Former and current health professionals
Immigrants and new citizens
Long term unemployed
A proportion of those sentenced to carry out Community Service.
Those retired with useful skills.
as a form of National Service for a year for all school leavers. To be a mixture of education about CC and practical work on CC projects,
The service should become a powerful tool for raising general awareness of the dangers posed by climate change and practical understanding of the possible and likely emergencies that can be expected as a result.
It should train and provide a large number of volunteers with a range of practical skills and relevant understanding so they can be called up to serve full time with relief work during emergencies. Rather like the TA the service should be seen as a valuable form of national service and should attract payment commensurate with skills and time devoted. Those called up to serve during an emergency should have employment protection.
The service will need to be multi-skilled and flexible providing opportunities for a wide variety of very different volunteers to offer full-time, part-time and emergency service.
In return it should provide valuable skills and training for those preparing to enter the world of work.
It should provide an opportunity for personal challenge and for experiencing a deeper sense of belonging to British society. It should be an integrating force which should work across social, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and gender divisions in providing volunteers with a wide range of opportunities to be of service.
Service in the CES should become a source of pride for participants and something that employers will value in employees and prospective employees as showing a commitment to service, the capacity to work as part of a team and the ability to develop practical, organisational and leadership skills.
The service should also be used to speed up and carry out surveys on local environmental risks (flooding, storms, etc) and for promoting energy conservation projects in order to reduce the impact of climate change emergencies on local communities.
The CES will need a highly skilled and charismatic Director General to lead it and get it going. It will need top management of the highest calibre. It will need to be non-partisan and get cross-party support, and be able to mesh in with local and national government plans and initiatives and have a co-ordinating and leadership role across government in promoting the adoption of Climate Change related policies.
Inevitably as it develops the service will require very careful planning and massive funding, but compared to the alternative – an unprepared public rushing around like headless chickens or suffering passively in the face of mounting crises, it should simply come to be seen as a vital branch of government.