This spring has seen an eruption of interest and energy in campaigning about climate change, with Extinction Rebellion protests, the visit of Greta Thunberg, and David Attenborough’s TV documentary. And in the Hope Valley, a meeting to discuss what we can do about it locally was sold out and packed out.
More than 140 people converged on the Hathersage Memorial Hall on 24th June for an evening of film, talks, and discussion, hosted by the Hope Valley Transition group. Expert facilitation ensured that everyone was involved in the discussions. After an introductory session when we shared our hopes for the evening, there were five brief inspirational talks.
Lisa Hopkinson of Chesterfield Transition and the Derbyshire Climate Alliance talked about the campaigns to get local authorities to declare a climate emergency. Although this was unsuccessful at County Council level, the message has been heard in County Hall, whilst a number of Districts have now declared emergencies. Richard Dyer of Friends of the Earth highlighted the resource pack they have prepared on what local authorities can do to address climate change (more than you might think!). Tony Cooper and Cherry Anderson reported on the many initiatives that the Belper Transition group has undertaken over the years. Claire Stocks, from Extinction Rebellion, showed a brief video diary of her involvement in the protests earlier in the year in London, and Tim Birch, from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust talked about re-wilding, the great potential for that here in Derbyshire, and what this can do for the climate.
Each of the speakers then led a workshop, which members of the audience could choose from, and at which they were able to respond to questions and take discussion further about the issues they had raised. Then for the last active session, people formed groups based on geography, so that each village and community in the valley could start to discuss what they might be able to do locally.
Such was the energy, and with so many people there, events inevitably overran the timetable, but in a final round up people were invited to commit to help organise further events and campaigning, and no fewer than 34 people signed up to do so. Those local Councillors who were present also identified themselves, and reinforced the importance of lobbying Councillors to commit to taking action. The proof of this meeting will be in what follows on from it, and the Hope Valley Transition group will be meeting again very soon, together with anyone who put themselves forward to help organise, to discuss next steps. But judging by the enthusiasm and commitment shown, there will be plenty of campaigning going on in the Valley over the next few months.and years.