On 22 March, Haringey Labour Party Climate Change and Environment Group hosted a community event. Our Planet, Our Borough - Haringey and the Climate Change Challenge saw over one hundred and twenty borough residents turn up for an evening of information and action planning. Communities must come together to work on climate change and to explain to voters how Labour will implement the transition to a green economy for the many, not the few.
The meeting was chaired by Catherine West, MP. Featured speakers included Leonie Cooper AM London Assembly Member; Rupert Stuart-Smith, coordinator of the UK Youth Climate Coalition; Stephen Simpson, Ph.D., associate professor in Marine Biology and Global Change at Exeter and recent consultant to Blue Planet. Other presentors were Alan Morton of the Haringey Climate Forum, Councilor Peter Mitchell and Jessica Tabois, Labour Party council candidate.
The aim of the evening was to call attention to global climate change issues, linking these to initiatives at the local level. Another aim was to serve as a springboard for a national conversation about Labour’s climate and energy policies.
Haringey aspires to be a leading voice in responding to the climate crisis. Discussions explored ideas such as district heat schemes and what to do about plastic. Ample information was presented by speakers and by materials made available by such stallholders as Tottenham trees, Muswell Hill Sustainability Group and local Transition groups.
Haringey,in common with some communities across the country, illustrates the presence of a number of groups and individuals doing what they can to bring about green living. It was clear from attendees' questions during the Q and A, as well as their feedback following the event, that Our Planet, Our Borough addressed the need to understand how actions by a local authority can play a part in countering climate change and global pollution.
To be effective locally, there is an urgent need for councillors to be fully up-to-date with climate issues. To this end,a briefing pack is being prepared to assist councillors to address climate queries. It's imperative both that local elected officials understand issues and that constitutients continue to press for urgently needed responses to the environmental crisis.
The Our Planet, Our Borough event was in the same week as Andy Burnham’s Green Summit in Manchester. Like the Haringey evening, the Manchester gathering showcased the importance of bringing local people together to work on climate change and to explain to voters how Labour will implement the transition to a green economy to benefit all.
Underscoring the relationship between global issues and neighbourhood ones, along with explaining what Labour in power can do, is a vital first step in bringing voters on board with the changes need. We hope the events in Haringey and Manchester will encourage similar ones in every constituency.