Show the Love This February

February is the month for the Climate Coalition’s Show the Love campaign.

You can record signs of an early spring in your neighbourhood on the Nature’s Calendar Worksheet. You can make a green heart and wear it – or share it with the hashtag #showthelove.

And you can write to your MP, using the postcard which you will find in your February WI Life: we need to remind our MPs of the importance of sticking to ambitious targets for clean energy, especially as a recent report has found that the Government’s policies and proposals will need to be firmed up as a matter of urgency – and supplemented with additional measures – if the UK is to meet its legal targets.

There are things we can do as individuals, as well as pressurising our MPs. Do you still have your copy of the Climate Vision 10 Pledges for reducing our carbon emissions? Spreading them round amongst our friends is a good place to start.

On 27 January, WI members Gill Keeble, Jan Shearn and Pippa Stilwell attended a Climate Vision event in Truro which told the story of a cycle trip from Paris to Bonn, to attend the 23rd Annual Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (known as COP23) last November. This conference was the next step for governments to implement the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement, and to turn aspirations into achievable targets. Like the Paris Summit, this conference was chaired by a woman, Patricia Espinosa, and it was hosted by Fiji, a small island nation which can expect to lose most of its land in the next decade or two without immediate and radical action to slow climate change.

The cyclists, Euan Macphee, Roger Creagh-Osborne and Ewan Jones, all of whom had previously cycled to Paris for the 2016 climate summit, attended a number of events at the conference, many of which told human stories of the people living on the front line of climate change. They also reported that there is a new generation of climate scientists, often young women, who have the skills and imagination to communicate climate change in all sorts of accessible ways which illustrate what is happening to our oceans, our atmosphere and our weather systems because of our excess carbon emissions. The cyclists described how activisism becomes artivism – reframing the way people see things, for example illustrating the effects of water depletion by showing a boat in a dried up lake. Encouragingly, there were plenty of Americans at the conference, under the banner ‘We Are Still In’ – The US cannot leave the Paris Agreement until 2020, and many cities and states intend to remain signed up whatever happens.

A key message was that although governments need to act, individuals can do a lot, not only by engaging their MPs, but also by getting involved in local issues and changing perceptions from the grassroots. Luci Isaacson from Climate Vision suggests that we can open a conversation about climate change simply by mentioning flooding in Cornwall (Coverack, Boscastle, Zennor) pointing out that, although our local disasters are partly to do with drainage problems and geology, these issues that are made much worse by extreme weather events precipitated by climate change.

What else can we do?

– Pippa Stilwell, CFWI Climate Ambassador

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