GLD Chair's Report 2019-20
By Graham Neale in GLD Challenge magazine 2019-20
Our executive are all volunteers, and whilst we are considering getting some part-time paid help, we are still trying to manage with whatever 'spare time' we have.
We appreciate your support, and would be pleased if you could help us develop our group. I'll be standing down as chair at our AGM, after nearly four years, I would like to thank everyone who has been supportive of our goals, especially our executive members past and present.
Environment and Climate Change have become common parlance, and whilst the wider population are waking up to the impact of their personal decisions. Sadly, relatively few people understand how we can effect change.
Many of us have been considering the environment for years, and have made changes accordingly. Pity the person who has just woken up to the issue. Should they cancel their holiday flights, ease up on dairy, stop mowing the lawn, buy a reusable bottle, sell the car, turn down the heating, wear charity shop clothes or join Friends of the Earth? It can be overwhelming! Perhaps the role of GLD has changed, it's time to stop drawing people's attention to the problems, and start setting out the solutions.
Sometimes I attend events like conferences and seminars, and I'm astonished at how far we have come. The talk is of climate change, single use, recycling, and low carbon lifestyles, but when I look around, it's like we are in a parallel universe. It seems talking about change is taking the place of creating change. We are the influencers. We need to able to show others how we can move into the new world of low impact living, while maintaining our positions on the local council, as activists, or as community leaders. We need to be brave. It's time to stop justifying our choices, the narrative has moved on. We no longer need to explain why we have fitted solar panels, or why we walk to the station, but we need to use our experiences to make those same choices easier for others. We can best understand what's stopping people from cycling by getting on a bike. Without first hand personal experience, it can be difficult to appreciate the efforts others are making. Have you ever asked for plant-based food at a conference? If not, how can you expect the caterers to provide low-impact food? If you are concerned about plastic waste, what solutions have you tried, what are the obstacles you have experienced, how can those around you make it easier to be sustainable? Did you ever take all that plastic packaging back to the supermarket, or unwrap your vegetables on the checkout conveyor belt before putting them into your bag? It's time for action on the environment. This is especially true of our elected members and candidates. It is a lot easier to garner support from those increasing numbers of voters concerned about the environment if you are taking a lead, and can demonstrate your commitment.
Finally, I'd like to thank everyone again, It's been great, we've had some wonderful moments.
Cllr Graham Neale
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