A COUPLE of weeks ago saw the arrival of a drinking fountain in the Market Square. The fountain was the brainchild of local father and daughter Dominic and Rosie Price, who persuaded the council to stump up for the scheme. I tried it out in when in town yesterday: refilling my water bottle was straightforward, with the water both cool and pleasingly tasty.

The environment is currently high up the political agenda thanks to interventions by the Greta (Thunberg) and the good (David Attenborough). From the Governor of the Bank of England making speeches about the effects of climate change to the Extinction Rebellion protestors gluing themselves to the entrance to the Stock Exchange, concerns about the environment reach right across the political spectrum.

Last week, my fellow columnist John Glen set out the government line on the issue, stressing reassurance that the UK was doing its bit, producing a better performance in reducing carbon emissions than any other G7 country. While it is easy to argue over the numbers – John claims a 40 per cent reduction since 1990, Greta Thunberg suggests 10 per cent, independent experts say it’s complicated – he’s right that there are far worse culprits environmentally than the UK. But even so, the point of the recent protests is that however much we have (or haven’t) done, our current response is simply not of the magnitude requisite to deal with the problem.

The truth is that all of us need to do more to help the environment. Yes, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the size of the issues involved, but small changes in individual behaviour can cumulatively make a big difference. The 5p charge on single-use plastic bags has taken 15 billion bags out of circulation since its launch in 2015: could something similar happen with plastic bottles and disposable coffee cups? The UK gets through 2.5 billion coffee cups a year, and only 0.25% are recycled. And while over half the plastic bottles we use are recycled (7.5 billion), that still leaves 5.5 billion a year that aren’t. 5.5 billion.

The biggest unspoken issue about climate change is over the amount of meat we consume – and the way industrialised food producers have met (and fed) this demand. It’s staggering that the world’s three largest meat companies emit more greenhouse gases than France, and that livestock production contributes more to greenhouse gas emissions than transportation. I love my meat, but we could all eat less of it, and get savvier when we do – supporting a small, local firm like Farley’s Traditional Beef Company, which rears grass-fed rather than grain-fed cattle.

The Market Square fountain is a great idea. But it remains a drop in the ocean for what is needed.