As we step into this ‘decade of climate action’, we have been reminded, through floods, fires, earthquakes, volcanos and acts of aggression, that the work of politics does not end with the General Election.
For many of us, years of concentrating on greener lifestyle shifts and ‘tactical voting’ in the outdated first-past-the-post electoral system, will have led us to the conclusion that despite our best intentions and utmost actions, each effort made is compromised by our society’s broken systems.
Yet through this narrative, which tells us change can only be forged from the top-down or bottom-up, we have leapfrogged over what is perhaps our most powerful tool as citizens. A politics of belonging, held in our towns, boroughs and villages, where swift and impactful change can be meaningfully made through collective participation.
Throughout these islands, grassroots projects percolate with solutions to climate catastrophe and rising inequality, offering living examples of The Green Party UK’s Green New Deal in action. Each one acts as a thread, tailor-made for its community, weaving together a just transition towards carbon neutrality while enhancing community ownership of the local economy.
The strength and longevity of these projects rely on support from their local councils. As residents, during the Local Elections on 7 May, we are offered the opportunity to aid them further. By putting people in positions of power who are not only willing to ‘declare a climate emergency’ but who are armed with a plan to transform those words into honest action.
Though community change might seem futile at first glance, history has taught us that true transformation is the result of an accumulation of seemingly small acts which interconnect to empower revolutionary shifts first locally THEN nationally.
Putting Greens in local seats is a genuine possibility. While voter turnout in the 2019 Local Elections hovered at just 60%, the Green Party still managed to gain nearly 200 new councillors. This rise, along with the grassroots work of Extinction Rebellion, l245 of 408 local authorities declaring a ‘climate emergency’ later that year. Half of which set targets and outlined plans to reach zero emissions in their community by 2030 or earlier. With your help, we can turn the tide for councils lagging behind, further empowering change from the roots of the system so it might spread to our collective crown.
All of this has inspired me and a group of online creatives working in the space of environmentalism and social justice to lend ourselves to this movement. Over the next seven weeks, we will be ‘taking over’ The Green Party’s Instagram page, to enhance education on Green Party UK policies and share examples of inspiring projects that have transformed local communities and their elected councils.