Climate conference vs climate action
November was a big month for the climate. But while the world’s leaders gathered at COP26 to debate and plan climate policy, we’re keen to see real action as well as words. We need actions on the ground to build a decarbonised economy and revive thriving natural habitats.
Communities are leading the way
While global commitments and policy change are crucial at the macro scale, we also need to see change happen at the local level. But the good news is that much of the change we need to see is already happening in our communities.
In a study published earlier this year by IPPR, Luke Murphy said: “Under the radar there are already flourishing and transformative community initiatives to pool resources and create shared low-carbon energy, housing and natural assets … These groups have shown that they can increase community wealth and create thriving places while addressing the climate crisis.”
The report found that these community initiatives are not being properly recognised and measured and so their environmental impact is being vastly underestimated by policymakers.
It’s time to celebrate and support these unsung initiatives. Many of the climate solutions we need are happening already – we just need to invest in them to amplify their impacts. We heard from 5 community initiatives, recently funded through ActionFunder.
5 community initiatives with impact
“One of the major issues about climate change is that people feel helpless and powerless to make a difference.
Community projects are able to work with people practically and demonstrate how they can make a positive environmental difference in their own lives and their own communities.
We learn together, we work together, we change together and thus together we can make a difference. This can be an empowering experience.
Over the lifetime of the Shed, we have recycled, reused or are storing over 100 tons of wood and other materials.”
“To become carbon neutral will require a huge national effort. So, local organisations need to provide ways for people to have an impact and galvanise them to get involved.
Change has to start where people are, with matters that affect them and are important to them.
Our work addresses isolation, health inequalities and poverty, all through environmentally-focused community projects. We serve affordable healthy, home-produced food. We up-cycle clothes, furniture and bicycles, help people learn to cycle and provide bike mechanic services. We also run training courses in sustainable construction and nurture environmental connection through education groups, courses, conservation groups and environmental art projects.
Additional funding would enable us to provide more opportunities for outdoor play, nature engagement, sustainable construction and environmental education. We are currently fundraising for a “Farm to Fork” project and hoping to add an accessible outdoor play area to enable inclusive nature engagement.”
“We believe in the saying by Aristotle ‘Give me a child until he is 7 and I will give you the man’.
Children today are being brought up in a digital age and playing in the woods is not a normal event for most of them.
We endeavour to get our young people to become interested in woodlands, nature and the environment, by giving many young people the chance to appreciate nature.
Currently, we have three activity areas being created: a forest classroom, a fairy grotto, and a group activity area. Bird boxes, bug hotels, and fire pits have already been installed. With funding, future plans are to convert two islands – home to toads, frogs, birds, kingfishers, foxes, and a badger set – into a wetland. We will also plant thousands of wildflower seeds to increase insect biodiversity.”
“Community-led initiatives are crucial because everyone can make a difference. We have enhanced 30 acres of woodland and chalk meadows into a thriving habitat for many threatened UK species, especially insects.
Our 30 acres are proof of the enormous biodiversity you can protect and improve with care and attention, even in central London.
Our site is providing a nature reserve for the future. We also work with nearby developments to create more environmentally friendly green spaces and wildlife corridors, through careful habitat management.
We work closely with local residents and community groups as partners – if the community is involved they will help to protect the site for future generations.
With more funding, we could help more green spaces combat climate change through better planting, design, and increased biodiversity.”
“By sharing our horticulture and environmental knowledge, we enable people of all ages to better connect with their community and environment.
We believe that by engaging individuals at grassroots levels we change thinking and therefore change what we demand from local and UK-wide governing bodies.
If you can slightly change an individual’s habit and replicate that across boroughs you start to get a real shift.”
We’re calling on businesses to support more projects like these through ActionFunder. To see more projects working to fight climate change head over here. To start supporting them, register your interest or book a demo of ActionFunder.