On bringing back to life collective action across the nation.

First published in August 2020.

I live in a rural village in the Brecon Beacons National Park and have fought many campaigns from grass roots. It is where you see real action but very little recognition.

This is a short piece with a simple message, action works but you have to participate and engage with your local community, in person or on social media.

In recent weeks we have started a local citizen assembly discussion, not a group but like-minded individuals seeking each other out to have a conversation on the Climate Emergency and what we can do.

All of us feel helpless in light of the last four years of no one listening to our views as, yes, you have guessed it, one issue has bought us together BREXIT.

This is not our discussion now but the consequences of the vote in 2016, the ongoing issues around whether this was a fair process and the level of trust that has been lost between citizen and government is strong in this discussion.

If we want to do something about the Climate Emergency we have to do something about government which looks like becoming corrupt and goes unchallenged. This will jeopardise local engagement and the voice of the citizen. It will also jeopardise a green recovery from COVID-19 too. We are now far removed from government so not an option and we can see how the unelected are working on the elected, which is not how democracy works.

What incompetent government looks like. / Flickr – Number 10

So our aim is simple, talk, share, act, and start the process again.

Our discussion starts with flooding right now. Our communities were badly hit in October 2019 and February 2020 with people still homeless and awaiting the clean of their properties. Some were close to very dangerous outcomes even losing life.

We all agree that the increasing weather episodes which are extreme in their nature reflects the need to address the way we live our lives to enable us to change the course of the emergency now. On an immediate, right now level we are bringing people together to volunteer and contribute to what measures should be taken in an emergency. That has to happen.

But we also want to take this further and discuss what each individual can do to address the international concerns about consumerism, waste and individual action. By focusing on this one issue we can focus minds.

The problem with the Climate Emergency as a debate is it feels uncontrollable and that adds to our despair because our national UK government also feels uncontrollable.

In a simple way we are bringing back to life collective action but in pockets and bubbles. But our hope is this will happen across the nation making it powerful and active.

We can control the amount of waste we make, we can control what we consume, and we can control the way consumption is driven by us rather than business, or conglomerates such as Amazon, Apple and the media moguls (Murdoch, etc).

So if you want to make a difference, you can. It isn’t impossible. Talk to your neighbours, friends, workmates, colleagues, and associates and find out what they think. There will be common ground, find it, and take action. These bubbles can grow and when they do, you will see local action really influencing and changing the agenda.🔷

[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 24 August 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Adobo Stock/grigvovan.)

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