I’m doing OK; thanks for asking! Life’s rollercoaster has been a little extreme at times this year and I’ve been missing from this little virtual green space for too long but today…….today is a good day.
Its been a big year on climate change issues at home and in the wider world. Exhausting, depressing at times and joyous and hopeful in others!
At home, our new solar panels were installed, we’ve grown more veg this year and tried out lots of meat free recipes, tried (and failed so far) to reduce my school run by applying to move my son to a more local school. I’ve followed the progress at COP26, The Earthshot Prize, #100 possibilities from the Global Footprint Network and Countdown and the Count Us In movement. I was inspired by the opening of a climate hub in Taunton where I live, Somerset Wildlife Trust launching Team Wilder, and the Insulate Britain campaigners raising the issues that transitioning to low carbon heating will be pointless unless there is a massive investment in insulating buildings. Looking back my head is starting to spin again!
The big success came in the form of finally replacing the old house roof with a new roof (better insulation) and solar panels. We are now connected up and learning to use the power available to us through the panels as well as storing electricity through the Powerwall we had fitted back at the start of the year with the car charger. Don’t the cedar shingles look fabulous?!
Following COP 26 and all the announcements, stories from island nations, and listening to politicians defending their country’s ‘right’ to a fossil fuel based economy was hard work. Disappointment, frustration……….. The glimmer of hope remains that this could still be the turning point for governments towards protecting our beautiful planet. As the US Climate Envoy John Kerry was quoted ‘One conference was not going to solve the problem’. But still, the effort feels like it hasn’t yielded what was hoped for……….
I have marvelled at solutions put forward by the Earthshot Prize finalists.
I have listened with hope to speakers at the Countdown conference in October before COP26.
I have tuned in to climate change podcasts this year to educate myself but in doing so I’ve realised that there are many people around the planet making changes, inventing new tools – we are very much not alone and climate change action is being taken, the media just hasn’t learnt how to report it yet.
I joined (virtually) Somerset Wildlife Trust’s launch of their Team Wilder campaign to engage communities with restoring nature and the showcase of projects that local groups were already involved in. Fresh ideas for local projects and groups already taking action were truly inspiring to listen to.
I signed up for AimHi Climate Course (which was fantastic) – enlightening, full of hope and empowering. I feel much more able to to challenge the status quo and ask questions locally about what actions are being taken.
My final stroke of encouragement was to stumble across a new climate hub which has just formed in Taunton. The hub is occupying a small corner of a pop up shop in town until Christmas. I feel upbeat, this is a focal point for questions and sharing advice and feeling part of a community of like minded people rather than an isolated individual trying to ‘do the right thing’ without any conscensus of what the right thing might be!
I love this time of year, not just Christmas sparkle but the chance to get off the hamster wheel and reflect on what has passed and plan for what is coming next year. A good New Year often comes from a good plan.
My efforts to date have very much been centred on my individual actions to reduce my impact on this planet in order to reduce my carbon footprint. These actions are necessary and I see them as a way of finding ways for my children to live life sustainably. But the AimHi Climate Change course has focused my attention – as an individual I have a voice, and while I don’t see myself as a placard waving, shouty, crowd loving person I can hold decision makers to account with questions and by raising expectations. Government headlines of ‘Build Back Better’ and promises of ‘Green Jobs’ are just hot air unless the rest of us expect those things to happen. Lip Service is no longer good enough.
So, the plan? Next year I want to find community action I can join. The idea of campaigns or local projects to promote sustainable solutions or restore nature is something I find quite scary. I don’t know if I have always felt this hesitant of working with other people or whether the pandemic has introduced a fear of being social. But, as a team we can achieve so much more – what is the phrase? a team is often better than the sum of its parts?
I hope all of you find some peace this Season to enjoy catching up with loved ones and looking ahead to a Happy and Healthy New Year.
It’s so lovely to hear from you again, Sarah! Your solar panels and cedar shingle roof look amazing! I totally agree with the rollercoaster year, it’s definitely been one of highs and lows for everyone determined to do whatever they can to tackle climate change and prepare for a very uncertain future. While I continue to search out ever more ways I can do things as an individual, I have also found myself becoming more of a campaigner this year, supporting climate /environmental action organisations and activities and lobbying those in power. It’s easy to feel like a tiny, insignificant drop but I still believe every action we take counts for something and it is possible to be part of a vibrant community without being in social contact (something I’m not a natural at, either!). Good luck with your new projects, I hope you will have time to report back occasionally, they all sound so interesting. Have a wonderful, healthy and peaceful festive season!
Thank you! I’ve totally missed being here! The roof and solar panels took a great amount of energy and determination – we had delivery delays and wood, in particular, being out of stock as well as the roofer taking a break to welcome his baby daughter to world! But the shingles look as though they glow when the sun is out which makes it worth the wait. But definitely time to start looking outward and joining new activities.
I find it very interesting that my outlook has evolved and I’m now actively looking for opportunities in the community. I couldn’t have imagined doing that when I first started but now it feels like a natural step. The AimHi course I completed calls their delegates ‘change makers’. I feel more prepared to go and argue the case for the environment now – I’m not just some random concerned person – as the media has environmental campaigners pegged as – I can bring about change! Its a very empowering feeling.
LikeLiked by 1 person