SECA Annual Event – Meeting of Hope

It was the first time I had been to a SECA meeting, and it was inspiring to see over a hundred people working together for change.

We arrived in Brighton in an electric car, (my first time in such a conveyance), for the annual South East Climate Alliance or SECA meeting, the aim being to bring councils and communities together to address the issues related to climate breakdown and share successes and suggestions.

During the afternoon, we had the opportunity to choose one of eleven topics to discuss more fully and I chose CAGNE: COMMUNITIES AGAINST GATWICK NOISE EMISSIONS. The reason I chose this group was due to an anomaly I discovered during the pandemic.

I’ve lived in local ancient woodlands for around twenty years and each spring, for the first ten to fifteen years, the tits would stop feeding on my sunflowers when there was an abundance of caterpillars hanging on silken threads from the trees which coincided with the hatching of the bluetits and other small birds: a beautiful expression of nature’s synchronicity.

Shifting base lines quietly pass us by and I can’t remember exactly when I noticed with sadness that the birds continued feeding on my seeds all summer long.  My conclusion was lack of insects!

Then Covid 19 arrived.  The planes stopped flying, the cars stopped driving and that spring there were more than enough insects to enable the birds to have two or even three broods.

Happily, this occurred the following spring too which made me realise how easy it is to get used to a new normal. I had all but forgotten that constant plane noise! I had a lightbulb moment and the dramatic insect and bird decreases suddenly made sense. The insects are highly susceptible to the new normal- their microscopic breathing pores blocked by the particles in air pollution.  Before the pandemic there were 285,000 flights out of Gatwick p.a. (every thirty seconds a plane flying over) and if the second runway goes ahead, that will rise to 382,000, adding one million tons of CO2 per year.  And no tax is paid on aviation fuel.

SECA is full of such information and I suggest that if you care about making a difference to the future of your children and the generations that follow, see their website. A true democracy listens to all of the citizens and everyone holds a piece of the puzzle.

We all have a voice. To care is such a simple choice.

By Clive Cobie