A VIGIL has been held in Newbury town centre in solidarity with those affected by the fires in Australia and floods in Indonesia.

About 50 people attended the vigil in Market Place on January 10. A minute’s silence was held after speeches from local activists. 

Pam Cooper, who organised the event, said: “We can think globally and act locally. Let’s send a good strong message to Boris and Trump and Scott Morrison [prime minister of Australia].

READ MORE: No changes to plastic recycling until at least 2022

“The world doesn’t belong to them and it doesn’t belong to us, either. We’re borrowing it from the next generation, and we need to protect it. 

“We’re going to pass it onto our children, who are going to very quickly tell us that there is no planet B.”

The unprecedented fires in Australia have destroyed entire villages and caused thousands of people to leave their homes. The fires have reportedly killed 1 billion animals. 

READ MORE: Climate emergency action plan for West Berkshire revealed—have your say

Sarah Mackfall also addressed the vigil, and said local crafters were making pouches for rescued kangaroos and koalas, to send to Australia. She said: “Let’s let them know we’re thinking about them.” 

The vigil was also for those affected by the recent floods in Indonesia, which have reportedly killed at least 66 people and displaced more than 36,000 in Jakarta, the capital. 

Both the fires in Australia and floods in Indonesia have been linked to the climate emergency, and scientists predict more wildfires and extreme floods will occur as global temperatures rise. 

Councillor Carolyne Culver (Green, Ridgeway) urged everyone at the vigil to take part in the public consultation on West Berkshire’s Council environment strategy. 

The strategy is an action plan on how to address the climate emergency and get West Berkshire to carbon neutral by 2030. She said: “This is your chance to influence what happens in West Berkshire.” 

One attendee at the vigil, Kate Green, said she has a brother who lives in Australia and has been affected by the fires. She said: “We can’t get there but we can raise awareness. And raising awareness is free.”

The public have six weeks — until February 21 — to tell the council their views on the action plan to address the climate emergency. After taking on board those views, the strategy will likely be given the green light on April 30. 

The public consultation and full draft environment strategy is available on the council’s website.