We are lucky to live in the Forest of Dean, one of the most beautiful and friendly of Britain, and a place that has changed so much from its industrial past.
It is with unspeakable sadness that we have witnessed an unprovoked and unjustified invasion of a European country with its devastating impact on the lives of millions of innocent people. At this dark time, our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people, whose lives have been turned upside down by this dreadful act of aggression.
TheWe have already seen disastrous loss of life and countless displaced people. The Green Party is calling for the government to step up and follow EU leadership in granting asylum for all Ukrainians and establish safe routes for people to come here. We welcome all efforts to provide sanctuary and asylum to those Ukrainians who wish to come to the UK.
The Green Party has also urged the government to make it a key national security objective to focus on eliminating our dependence on gas following Russia’s invasion.
Green Cllr Sid Phelps and Forest of Dean District Council have started planting 149 trees along Harbour Road as part of the Destination Lydney Harbour regeneration project.
One of the most timely, and possibly greatest achievements was to have proposed and gained unanimous support for the council's declaration of a climate emergency, targetting reducing our district-wide carbon footprint to net zero by 2030 and working to combat climate chaos and help provide a better future for the next generation.
Greens are very capable of holding high office and both Chris and Sid have worked as cabinet members for a variety of important portfolios with notable success.
These have included environment, climate, wildlife, heritage, culture, flooding, strategic planning and oversight of waste, recycling including litter, fly-tipping and street cleaning; environmental Health including pollution, contamination, nuisances and licensing of all food outlets; all the while supporting the Forest Economic Partnership where their goals align with Green principles.
Greens have also introduced the concepts of One Planet Development (OPD) and the potential of designating the Forest of Dean as a Biosphere Reserve.
Greens have worked cooperatively with sympathetic Councillors from other groupings to successfully champion the Council in all sectors whilst maintaining tight control of the budget under the continued and enforced austerity regime and local government squeeze imposed by Government.
We now stand at a crossroads.
One way is to choose to support more of the tired old rhetoric, based on values and beliefs that should have passed into history before the dawn of the 21st century.
The other way is to recognise that there are alternatives, we do have power, and we can have a bright and optimistic future, if we choose to work together for the common good.
The Green Party has two influential County Councillors and six hard working District Councillors making a real difference in the Forest of Dean.
We have all become very aware of 'climate change' and the urgency of dealing with a potential catastrophe for our planet.
We are probably aware that Greens have been campaigning about this for decades. There have been entrenched commercial interests that have tried to resist change, and cloud the arguments - the 'climate change deniers'. As we get closer to the point of no return, and the reporting of the subject becomes more mainstream, the Green perspective and argument is seen to be vindicated.
We are also aware that Greens have been campaigning about animal welfare, and the protection of the natural environment for decades, indeed, the Green Party in the UK was once called the 'Ecology Party'.
This knowledge may leave us with the impression that the Green Party is something of a 'single-issue' party. A pressure group campaigning on behalf of animals, nature, the environment, and the planet. This would be honourable enough, but it represents a misguided idea about what the Green Party is about.
The problems of environmental degradation have a fundamental root cause, and that is that we have developed a society that tries to operate in a way that goes against the grain of nature. Not only does it go against the grain of nature, but it goes against the grain of humanity as well.
The problems of people in our society and the problems that we inflict on the natural environment all stem from the same root cause.
So the Green Party has interests and solutions that are much wider than the most widely publicised campaigning on nature and the environment.
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