How to Inspire Your Local Officials to Embrace Green Solutions to Public Problems
The national desire to go green and minimize waste is strong. Data collected by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that 74% of adults are worried about climate change, making it the second-largest concern amongst Brits today.
However, campaigning for change can be difficult. It’s easy to feel like a small voice in a big system when you approach your local council, and you may be unsure of where to start.
Fortunately, plenty of climate advocacy groups around the U.K. are ready to help you make a difference and inspire local officials. You can even run for the Green Party in your local borough if you want to maximize your impact.
Data from the ONS shows the recent cost of living crisis has relegated the importance of climate change in people’s minds. While this is entirely understandable, it’s important that local officials continue to take an eco-friendly approach to public policy and problems.
Hosting climate advocacy events in your area can drum up support for green solutions. A well-attended event will show local officials that folks in your area continue to care about the climate, too.
Consider working with a larger green-advocacy group in your area before you put in planning permission for an event. The biggest climate groups, like The Climate Coalition and Extinction Rebellion, can help you coordinate events and may have access to funding to help the day go off without a hitch.
Whoever you work with, be sure to contact your local council early. You’ll need their permission if you want to host an event in a space like a park or in a street. Oftentimes, your local council can help you with risk assessments and they may help you attain a license to sell food and beverages at the event.
You’ll need to coordinate effectively with vendors if you do decide to sell food and drinks at your event. Try to research your potential vendors before making any bookings and opt for folks who embrace a green, clean approach to their business. When reaching out to vendors, be clear about the purpose of the event, as you don’t want to accidentally hire climate skeptics to man your stalls and stands.
Research and Planning
Fun, eco-friendly events can raise support for green solutions to public problems. However, many local councils would prefer to ignore the climate crisis due to the costs associated with going green. So, if you want your local leadership to adopt an eco-friendly approach, you may need to do some of the legwork yourself.
For example, if you live in an urban area and have problems with rats, you may need to look into natural pest control. Reporting a pest problem online is easy, but most councils take a heavy-handed approach to destroying the animals. Instead, research solutions and advocate eco-friendly fixes like rat-repellent ammonia pellets, cloves, and mothballs.
If you’re unsure of the biggest issues facing the public, consider gathering some data yourself. Knocking door-to-door is a great way to meet folks in your area and promote the green cause. You’ll likely find that public health issues like air pollution, congestion, and unsafe housing development have folks seriously concerned, too.
Promoting Public Health
Many green issues intersect with public health concerns. This makes sense, as pollution and traffic are a threat to human life and the natural world. While you probably can’t crusade against all cars and developments in your area, you can bolster support for green solutions by promoting public well-being.
If your town or village is experiencing a boom in development, you may want to foreground the importance of shade and green spaces. Green design is vital for the future of our country and plays a crucial role in promoting health in your area. Green design also provides plenty of shade, which reduces the risk of UV light-related conditions like squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Advocating for green design will also garner plenty of support from local people. This can be helpful if you’re considering a run for local government yourself, as you’ll need robust, people-first policies if you want to win your local council.
Running for Local Government
The national political scene is volatile at the moment. Folks are voting for new parties and many Green Party leaders are winning seats in Labor, Lib Dem, and Conservative strongholds. If you want to maximize your influence within local politics, it may be worth running for election yourself.
If you’re new to local government, consider signing up to help your local Green leader. Then, once you’re ready to run, draw inspiration from successful candidates like Storrington and Washington’s Joan Grech. Joan Grech recently won the seat for the Green Party in her area by advocating for public health, increased biodiversity, and increased traffic limits.
Grech explains herself that the “District Council, as a Planning Authority, should undertake to impose conditions on planning applications,” and that these limitations should aid “climate change, biodiversity gain, and the health and well-being of residents”. This holistic approach won Grech the seat in her area and underlines the popularity of policies that protect people and the environment.
You can learn from councilors like Grech by promoting policies that take a similar approach to public health and climate change. Build your popularity by campaigning door-to-door in your area and be sure to get your name out there with plenty of green community engagement.
Local officials are always keen to make policy changes that are popular with their constituents. You can inspire folks to take a green approach to solving problems by drumming up support for eco-friendly initiatives. Host a few fun climate advocacy events and research solutions to pertinent issues in your area. If you still feel nothing is being done, get in touch with your local Green Party and lend your support to the cause.