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PECT sees an opportunity to "do things differently" in 2021

This year has shown the amazing work of the NHS, charities and frontline workers - and a chance to do things differently in 2021, says Carly Leonard, chief executive of Peterborough Environment City Trust.
carly-leonard-pect
Carly Leonard, CEO of PECT, says the charity has ambitious plans to make a difference in 2021

This year, we have missed out on so many things that we previously believed to be a ‘given’. We will never again take for granted being able to see our children play with their friends or overlook the chance for a hug from a family member. In 2020, many of us have lost loved ones and missed the opportunity to say a last goodbye.

However, this year has also brought communities together and highlighted wonderful acts of kindness. It has shown the amazing work and dedication of our NHS, charities, and frontline workers. It has seen streets united in friendship, and neighbours looking out for each other.

National and regional lockdowns have meant that, more than ever, we have made the most of our gardens and local green spaces for exercise and to regain a feeling of normality. The natural world has offered us solace and respite from anxiety.

The RSPB’s ‘Recovering Together’ report provides evidence of public support for putting nature at the heart of our pandemic recovery. 89% of those surveyed believe that increasing the amount of accessible nature-rich green space will help to improve people’s general health, wellbeing, and happiness.

PECT is more determined than ever to protect our natural world. Because, once the spread of coronavirus starts to slow, everything will not simply return to normal. It is an opportunity to make positive change and do things differently.

We are, with the support of our partners and volunteers, playing a part in tackling environmental issues and making a real difference to people’s lives. Beyond 2020, we want to increase our green spaces, improve and conserve habitats, boost wildlife and biodiversity, and increase education about why looking after our environment is so important. We want to understand and address the barriers to mental and physical health and encourage well-being from a sense of collective responsibility for the environment.

Our world is changing, and the health of our planet and the health of its inhabitants are intrinsically linked. In November 2021, the UK will host the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). We hope this is a chance, on a global scale, to look at the policies needed to protect the people, places, and life we love from climate change.

Here in Peterborough, we have ambitious plans to make a difference, and we hope residents will join and support us in this task. From April 2019 to April 2020, PECT helped realise an estimated saving of 11,230 tonnes of CO2e. This is equivalent to powering 3,425 houses or taking 5,237 cars off the road for a year. This is just a snapshot that highlights some of the great work individuals, communities, and businesses have achieved.

It is vital, however, that this number continues to increase and that more and more people consider their impacts and start making changes to improve them. Together, we must make every effort to reduce our carbon footprint and help to limit the impact of climate change.