It’s a common stereotype that Brits like to talk about the weather, so I’m sorry to have started my column this week doing just that.
But the unusually warm weather we’ve had in October and November combined with the extreme rains of recent weeks is very concerning.
We can no longer simply say that climate change is coming, it’s well and truly here. Staff at Brighton and Hove City Council are doing their best to catch up in flooded areas and are looking at ways to prevent flooding in the future.
And in the long term, we continue to act to tackle the climate crisis.
There are many solutions to the climate crisis. I have been very inspired by the action of our city’s schools, which you can read about on our new website ourcityyourworld.co.uk.
We are also taking action on air quality and the latest figures showing a reduction in pollution in North Street are really encouraging.
Next week, councilors are being asked to approve the city’s Lowlands Development Plan, which is a real step forward to ensure the protection of our ground and aquifer for future generations.
The Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting last week showed that if you want climate action, you need to vote Green.
Labor and Tory councilors joined forces to block further action on air quality, kerbside parking and cycle parking.
This comes on top of previous combined votes to delay the introduction of food waste collection and, most notably, start the cycle lane on Old Shoreham Road.
Acting on our climate crisis is not an option – it is a necessity – but Labor and Conservative councilors seem unaware of the urgency required and unable to take the necessary measures.
The weather we have had is so uncharacteristic for November, I can hardly believe we are now well and truly into the Christmas season.
The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councilor Lizzie Deane, has switched on the lights on the Palmeira Square Christmas tree.
This tree is in my neighborhood and my thanks go to the city hall staff and volunteers who make it possible every year.
Last week also saw the start of the second year of the Christmas Festival. Although I know that last year raised some complaints and concerns, I really love that we have a Christmas Festival in the city.
On Thursday (December 1), a tree will go up in Jubilee Square, which is being organized by Martlets, our local hospice, and will be a space for families to remember their lost loved ones.
In that same place, last Sunday (November 20) a vigil was held on Trans Remembrance Day. The hate directed at trans people, especially trans women, worries me.
I was very pleased to see this week that the Health, Overview and Scrutiny Committee has continued the conversation about trans health care in the city. The following is a joint letter that Councilor Steph Powell and I presented to the committee in April.
A further update on the proposed Sussex Gender Service will be presented at the next committee meeting in January, which I hope will address some of the concerns outlined by the trans community, including Project Clare, about the project so far.
We are just days away from the World Cup, with England being held to a draw by the USA last night. I’m a football fan and loved that we had plenty of opportunities to see our brilliant Lionesses in town earlier this year.
Since the Euros, I have become one of thousands who have chosen to continue this support of women’s football, and now have a season ticket for Brighton and Hove Albion Women.
But I cannot in good conscience participate in the men’s World Cup this year because of the human rights abuses of the Qatari government.
Instead of celebrating the World Cup, I’ll be supporting men’s and women’s grassroots football closer to home, and I wish the Albion ladies the best of luck in their Conti Cup match tomorrow (Sunday 27 November).
One such human rights issue in Qatar is the treatment of women. Amnesty reports that women in Qatar need men’s permission to make life decisions, such as marrying, studying abroad on government scholarships, working in many government jobs, traveling abroad up to certain ages, and receiving some forms of attention to reproductive health.
Unfortunately, we also know that the World Cup can lead to an increase in violence against women. A Lancaster University study in 2014 showed that reports of domestic violence increased by 26% when the national team won or drew, and by 38% when the team lost.
It is an important reminder for us, especially as yesterday (Friday 25 November) was the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, that more needs to be done to make women feel safe both in the UK and around the world.
Councilor Hannah Allbrooke is Brighton and Hove City Council’s Deputy Green Leader.