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A week of action for a fairer world

Read about the inspiring community events that Fairer World Lindfield held during a week of national climate action.

Billie Anderson | 08 Feb 2022

Members of Fairer World Lindfield at a local green event. Image credit: Peter Desmond/ Fairer World Lifestyle

Last autumn, as many of us were looking ahead to the UN climate talks, people across the UK took part in The Climate Coalition’s Great Big Green Week and held all sorts of events to get their local community engaged with climate change. I was delighted to speak at one such event organised by Tearfund activists Chris and Peter who run Fairer World Lindfield.

Here, they speak about the events they ran during that week, and share what inspired them to take action.

What is Fairer World Lindfield – and where did the name come from?

Fairer World Lindfield is a climate and ecological action group based in West Sussex. The initiative emerged in November 2019 from our work to get Lindfield accredited as a Fairtrade Village. Since then, we’ve built on this momentum to highlight the environmental and social impacts of climate change. The word ‘fairer’ reflects our support of Fairtrade as well as our pursuit of climate justice.

What events did you hold in the lead-up to COP26?

In September 2021 we took part in The Climate Coalition’s UK-wide Great Big Green Week. We organised eight events over five days with the aim of raising awareness and encouraging action on the climate and ecological crisis. We held six of the events on Zoom, covering a wide variety of topics, such as: a briefing on COP26, a vegan and vegetarian cooking demonstration, green energy in the home, a talk on climate justice by Tearfund, tips on living more sustainably, and a climate movie, The Race is On. The two live events were a guided nature walk around Lindfield and a visit to our local organic dairy farm.

Members of Fairer World Lindfield at a local green event.

What was the response like?

We were pleased to see that all the events were well attended and that people were encouraged to embrace change. One talk that drew a lot of attention was by podcaster and author Jen Gale on her book The sustainable(ish) living guide. The ‘ish’ seemed to make all the difference, encouraging small changes in daily life that are within most people’s reach, without weighing people down with guilt. We reached a wider audience by inviting shops in the village high street to dress their windows in a green theme. This not only engaged the retailers but also appealed to shoppers passing by.

Here’s what two Lindfield residents had to say about the events:

‘The talks during Great Big Green Week were really informative and inspiring, and I was impressed by the range of events that had been organised by Fairer World Lindfield.’

‘Lots of people will have had their thinking on climate change altered or refined by attending the events run by Fairer World Lindfield during Great Big Green Week.’

How did you use your events to shape your community?

One of our aims for Great Big Green Week was to build on the engagement with policymakers we’d undertaken in the last two years. We’ve used many different approaches including emails, letters, phone calls, online and face-to-face meetings to engage with all levels of government. Hope for the Future, a climate action charity, ran a training course for us on lobbying policymakers, which emphasised the importance of building personal relationships.

For our opening event, we invited two Lindfield parish councillors to give a talk on their latest climate action plan. We also held a tour of a local organic sustainable dairy farm, which was attended by our MP as well as five representatives from county, district and town councils.

Members of Fairer World Lindfield at a local green event.

How did church and community groups get involved?

Throughout the week, we engaged with local community groups and churches who were all supportive of our activities. A few years ago, our church, All Saints Lindfield, formed a group called ‘Caring for God’s Creation’, which links with the village community on climate action. Since it started, the group has organised talks by Ruth Valerio from Tearfund and Ruth Bushyager, Bishop of Horsham, to help the church family learn how to put their Christian faith into action. There is now a page on the All Saints website dedicated to resources and events on the Christian response to the climate and ecological emergency. As Christians, we feel it is imperative to take responsibility for the problems we have caused to the people in the Global South, particularly as we strive to live out Jesus’ call to love our neighbour.

As a climate action group, we try to encourage people to use their voice, whether that be through writing to global companies or local councillors. One action came from eight-year-old Esme, a local resident, who attended a surgery with her MP to raise her concerns about climate change and planning issues. Esme has now been invited to be the representative for seven- to 11-year-olds for Mid Sussex at the Children’s Parliament and took part in a debate last October.

What’s next?

We are hopeful that our future activities, particularly our monthly climate cafe events, will help people engage further in the environmental and social issues of the climate and ecological crisis. We hope to inspire people to take action for justice by asking the question, ‘Is it fair that those in the world who have contributed the least to this problem will suffer the most?’

 

Please pray:

  • Pray for Fairer World Lindfield as they continue hosting events on climate justice and engaging with their community. Pray that they will have an impact on policymakers and local leaders.
  • Pray that the actions by community groups like this will make a real difference for people living in poverty.
  • Invite God to speak to you about the next steps for your own community’s journey into climate action.
Why not save the date for Great Big Green Week 2022 now and start planning your own events between the 24 September and 2 October 2022 to get your town involved?

  Billie Anderson

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