Each of our action categories are important in their own way.
Most of the actions in the other sections involve making personal changes either in our homes, businesses or organisations. These are important and often bring other benefits such as community building or cost saving and by changing consumption patterns on a large scale we might be able to influence companies to change their production patterns. However, climate change is a planetary scale threat and as such requires planetary scale reforms which can only be implemented by governments who have the power to implement legislation that compels industries and individuals to act sustainably.
There is no doubt that collective action by individual people can be the thing that gets big issues onto the political agenda and we have enormous power as consumers and voters which we can use by letting companies and governments know how important climate change policies are to us. Public protests are not for everyone but there is recognition at the highest level that these kinds of actions over the last few years have made a huge difference in getting important issues “on the table” and into the mainstream media.
Lobbying for change can happen at many levels: from being the person at home who turns the heating down, starting up a dialogue with colleagues and bosses at work, giving ideas to your local school, contacting your local parish council or emailing your MP.
Your voice can be effective in many ways and if public or email campaigns are not for you, simply talking to friends, family and your community about the issues that concern you or things that you want to know more about can have an important impact.
Many actions in this category involve others and making connections with your local community or the wider community across your county can bring many other benefits. Friendships are forged and links made which can prove invaluable when new challenges such as flooding or Covid 19 come along. Many Use your Voice actions are free and by joining in with campaigns and receiving news you may even get to hear about grants and funding that can support you or your business directly.
You can be certain that there are many people who live near you who share your concerns about climate change and the ecological crisis. The ways in which we feel comfortable about getting involved are very personal. Many people are starting to speak out for the first time and some people have been asking for change for many years. Luckily, there are many different ways in which we can step into Action and make sure that our opinions are heard.
Your school, church or parish council may be a good place to meet with others nearby who share your concerns about the future for their children and grandchildren, and can highlight issues that you can lobby for. Hereford Cathedral has an Environmental Working Group and is part of a growing Eco Church movement. Many parish councils have declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency (check this list to see if yours is amongst them) and Herefordshire Councillors from all political parties need to hear which issues are important to the people who live in their areas. Our local MPs Jesse Norman and Bill Wiggin should (?!) make sure that our opinions are heard when decisions about national policies with huge implications for both climate and ecology are made. Contacting them directly is a very effective way to lobby for changes that can be made both individually and collectively.
The Herefordshire Green Network are very active in the county: supporting a network of over 80 environmental groups, hosting regular inspirational events and workshops, supporting the sharing of local activities, providing resources and support to local parish councils (including making this platform!), and contributing to the County Climate and Ecological Action Plan and lobbying MPs on specific issues. HGN members also receive a weekly newsletter filled with news, information and events from around the county. To find out more about joining click here.
The Herefordshire Wildlife Trust regularly highlight ecological issues and spearhead campaigns and petitions when public support for change is needed.
Many people of all ages are joining Extinction Rebellion to both get support with grief and distress that they are feeling about issues that are worrying them and join together with others to make their concerns visible. The Extinction Rebellion Marches sub group covers those who live in or near to Herefordshire