Gary steps up his climate change campaign after vigil

Gary Peatling has set up a Facebook page to persuade South Holland people to take a stand on climate change.
Gary Peatling has set up a Facebook page to persuade South Holland people to take a stand on climate change.
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Spalding’s Oxfam manager Gary Peatling stepped up his campaign against climate change after staging a vigil in the charity shop on Sunday.

He started a Facebook page – South Holland for the Climate – and hopes residents will nail their colours to the mast because he believes climate change “is the responsibility of everyone”.

Climate change is the responsibility of everyone

Gary Peatling

He wants residents to call on elected representatives, governments and communities the world over to join forces to preserve what he calls “our most precious inheritance” because climate change is happening now.

Sunday’s vigil was held in darkness on the eve of the UN’s conference in Paris – known as COP21 – with nearly 150 global leaders expected to try to agree a deal to limit carbon emissions.

On his Facebook page, Mr Peatling says: “The United Nations Climate Conference in Paris forms an opportunity for the world to renew and extend its commitment to ensuring our fragile environment is passed on intact to our children and future generations, and to helping the poorest and neediest among our fellow citizens of the world.”

Mr Peatling says the Spalding vigil was organised under the umbrella of Avaaz, a global network comprising 42 million activists, rather than Oxfam itself – although Oxfam is interested in climate change and had been sending out tweets for a week.

He began the four-hour vigil alone, although a handful of visitors dropped in during the evening with words of support.

Mr Peatling told us: “My particular interest in climate change was focused when I spent some time in Southern Africa five years ago. I was there as a volunteer development worker and spent six months in Angola.”

He said there is evidence in Angola – and other countries – of desert encroachment and climate change is something we should be worried about now and not because it’s something that might happen in the future.

“In some places it’s getting harder to farm because of desertification,” he said.

• US president Barack Obama told the UN conference: “I came here personally to say the United States not only recognises the problem but is committed to do something about it.”

And UK premier David Cameron said nations should be taking action “instead of making excuses to our children and grandchildren.”