Despite the coronavirus outbreak, the Oxford City Council is recognising Earth Day 2020 to raise awareness for the ever-increasing climate change that is taking place. 

Earth Day was established as an annual environmental event first celebrated in 1970. This year, the theme for Earth Day is climate action. 

Oxford City Council has been regularly involved in promoting its climate efforts. In January 2019, they unanimously declared a climate emergency and in order to consider new carbon targets and new measures to reduce emissions, they agreed to establish a Citizens’ assembly. 

In April, the Oxford City Council continued its efforts by setting the goal to reduce its own emissions to reach net zero by 2030 which would be 20 years before the government deadline of 2050. Following this, Oxford hosted the Oxford Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change in autumn which made a series of recommendations. 

In response to these suggestions, the Oxford City Council outlined a climate programme which they would use to address the climate emergency. The programme was designed to address the key sources which contribute to gas emissions in Oxford. These include the following: buildings, transport, biodiversity, offsetting, recycling & waste and renewable energy. The City Council accounts for only around 1% of total emissions. 

The Council’s climate change combat strategy also includes parter organisations which will help work towards the same common goal, including the Oxford Zero Emission Zone, Energy Superhub Oxford project, and Connecting Oxford.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford said: “Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and for 50 years our communities around the world have been celebrating this important day. A day to raise awareness of the importance of forging a fairer future, and healing our planet. We can’t all join together within our communities to celebrate this important day because we are responding to the coronavirus crisis, but there is strength, energy, and momentum growing within our communities as we are addressing both the climate emergency, and the coronavirus crisis. We will bring in the Oxford Zero Emission Zone, take forward the recommendations of the Oxford Citizens Assembly on Climate Change, and continue to reduce our own emissions. I look forward to joining all our communities once the lockdown is over and continuing the work we have started.

Anvee Bhutani

Anvee Bhutani is the former Managing Director of The Oxford Blue, having also held a variety of roles on the editorial and business teams. She is a penultimate year student at Magdalen College reading Human Sciences and is originally from San Francisco, California. To reach out to her, please email [email protected]