Now that we have reached the other side of the mammoth event that was COP26 there have been mixed emotions about the progress made and the outcomes agreed at the Glasgow Climate Pact. Despite this – or maybe because of this – Greener Henley’s post COP26 event ‘Together We Can Make a Difference’ hosted a full house of attendees, with all available tickets allocated. It was uplifting to get a sense of the overarching determination, passion and hope from the 40 participants at the King’s Arm Barn, bringing forth their ideas about fighting climate change, whether in the home, in nature, or within the community.
The evening began with an introduction from Patrick Fleming, Chair of Greener Henley, followed by guest speakers Ed Hopkins, from Dark Green PR, sharing reflections from his time attending COP26 in Glasgow, and Karen Feakin from Bonkers for the Planet, who highlighted simple small steps we can all take to live more sustainable lives. The rest of the evening was spent in break out groups exploring how we can make a difference around climate change in three key areas – our homes, in nature and in our community. It was encouraging to hear what is already happening in homes, gardens and around the local town; from not using peat, pesticides or herbicides, planting hedges and not fences, buying less to reduce waste, and shopping locally, through to participating in campaigns for a greener local transport system and safer cycling provision. Diet and the reduction of meat and dairy consumption – one very important issue that didn’t make it centre stage at Glasgow – was also a big topic of concern, and it was interesting to hear stories from some of the family groups attending about how the younger family members had influenced parents to eat less meat or go vegan during lockdown – and those parents have now themselves become strong advocates for this change. There were also suggestions that future events should be family friendly where possible, thus involving the wider community. Also on this front, it was great to see a mix of age ranges (other than those who were too young to be out!) at the event.
At the end of the evening people were encouraged and inspired to continue to take action, with some people wanting to get actively involved in campaigns. Before they left, people were asked to write a personal pledge on a paper leaf and pin it to our ‘Turning Over a New Leaf’ Tree, which is now positively brimming with actions!
In all it was an evening of many and various conversations around the multitude of things we can do in the fight against climate change. Ideas are already being put into action as a result of the meeting and people came forward to work both with and alongside Greener Henley to make positive change happen within our local community. Together We Can Make a Difference.
Greener Henley will continue to push for change on many fronts and we welcome you to get involved at any level – whether individually, as a business or organisation, or as part of our internal Greener Henley team – we are all volunteers so any help is most welcome. If you are interested to find out what Greener Henley has done during 2021, and perhaps more importantly what we can all do next year, you are most welcome to come along to our AGM on 14 December, 7.30-9.30pm at at the Kings Arms Barn. We will continue to hold monthly events throughout 2022.
If you have any spare time, no matter how small, and feel passionately about any issues around climate change, please do get involved in the conversation and drop us an email at email@example.com. If you’d like to receive regular updates on all the goings on at Greener Henley, sign up for our newsletter at https://greenerhenley.org.uk/get-involved/join-us/
Report by Sara Kandiah
Photos by Nick Turner