Campaigning group Greenpeace, best known for its headline grabbing exploits with The Rainbow Warrior, is setting up a Huddersfield-based branch for Kirklees. Here OLLIE GRAY, 24, one of those behind the new group argues the environmental case from the Greenpeace point of view
HAVE you noticed a change in our climate? This year is set to be the hottest ever recorded.
Do you remember those thunder storms during our red-hot summer? Did you read about recent mini-tornados in Hampshire?
We are beginning to see the fall-out from years of polluting our Earth by emitting carbon into the atmosphere, and climate chaos is set to worsen.
Delicately balanced eco-systems are being pushed out of synch, causing many species to be endangered. Ice caps will melt and water levels will rise, hitting the poorest countries first.
Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina will become more common and the UK will be subject to flash flooding and freak weather conditions.
What can be done to prevent this?
There are many ways that individuals can reduce the amount of carbon that they are responsible for emitting into the atmosphere, such as using public transport, improving household energy efficiency and producing less waste.
The real difference can be made by putting pressure on the important decision makers in industry and government to affect change before it is too late. Pressure groups such as Greenpeace have a vital role to play.
I first got involved with Greenpeace during my third year at university in Liverpool. I came across the Greenpeace website and read about their campaigns.
I was impressed with the range of issues that they seemed to be tackling on a global scale. Equally impressive to me was the way in which they went about achieving change through direct action.
This could be anything from volunteers scaling the roof of a supermarket supply depot to protest against GM foods, to using the Rainbow Warrior to stop whaling boats.
I joined their mailing list, sought out the area co-ordinator and went along to the next monthly meeting where I met some really interesting people sharing a passion for their planet and environmental issues.
Now I have the title of climate communicator which involves meeting and lobbying MPs and councillors on climate change.
The UK is about to undergo a major rethink on energy and it is vital that environmental pressure groups such as Greenpeace act now to stop the government from swapping coal for nuclear power.
There is no sustainable policy on dealing with nuclear waste, which poses as great a threat to the environment as the millions of tonnes of carbon pumped out by coal power stations.
The solution backed by Greenpeace is de-centralised energy, which proposes to move power production away from one large out-of-town site back into town centres, using a combination of renewable energy producers. This would include solar panels, photovoltaic cells and micro-wind-turbines like we have on the Kirklees MBC Civic Centre 1 building in Huddersfield town centre.
Now I am a Huddersfield resident I have been involved in setting up a new Greenpeace group for Kirklees. Historically there has been strong support for Greenpeace in the area and the Green Party are well supported and have members on the council.
The wind-turbines in the town centre are a great "green" statement for Huddersfield and I feel the town could become an iconic example to the rest of the UK if we can follow the example of the council by implementing renewable technologies all over town.
There are good recycling initiatives set up here and I believe that with the help of a dedicated Greenpeace group great change can be achieved in Kirklees.
We are looking for new active supporters to join our group. We hold monthly meetings at The Head of Steam pub by the Railway Station at 7.30pm on the second Monday of every month. Our next is on December 11.
If you would like to get involved with the Kirklees Greenpeace group or would like more information contact Ollie Gray on firstname.lastname@example.org