New climate group inspires action

People share their ideas at the inaugural meeting of Enfield Climate Action Forum in January
People share their ideas at the inaugural meeting of Enfield Climate Action Forum in January

Councillor Vicki Pite on how Enfield Climate Action Forum’s launch is already inspiring local efforts

Enfield Climate Action Forum (EnCAF) held its inaugural meeting in January with a huge buzz of enthusiasm.

More than 70 people turned up to a packed meeting at the Dugdale Centre; both people who want to make a difference and organisations keen to develop a forum for collective action around our shared imperative of tackling climate change. Civil society in Enfield, writ large.

The speakers kicked the meeting off by providing a thought-provoking backdrop and the audience responded enthusiastically, but the real drive began as the meeting ended and people began to exchange ideas. The room was aloud with chatter and engagement, leading one participant to say: “Look at the energy in the room. It is a clear sign that this is what is needed and how successful it has been.”

And it was. Now almost 60 organisations are interested in taking part. Bringing enthusiasts together was the catalyst; the whole much more than the sum of its parts.

From this meeting several initiatives emerged. Some are discussing how climate change might dictate a change in lifestyles, one group is working on how to engage local businesses in exploring how to reduce their carbon emissions; while there’s a team which will monitor Enfield Council’s strategy on reducing emissions as well. Then there’s the concerted effort, through questionnaires and cafe-style meetings, to map the interests and priorities of members, their friends and families; indeed, anyone who is interested in supporting EnCAF may contribute.

There is a major drive to recruit as many individual supporters as possible to join the numerous affiliated organisations – look for Enfield Climate Community Group on Facebook and sign up for the fortnightly newsletter, now coming up for the eighth edition.

Mapping interests is not an end in itself though, because EnCAF plans to build on the feedback to identify our shared priorities so that we can help and encourage each other, and our organisations, to make Enfield carbon neutral by 2030. It is our view that while national governments, global organisations and businesses worldwide must do the heavy lifting, we as civil society have a major part to play.

One of the most heartening aspects of the launch was seeing the commitment of schools, parents and teachers to taking the climate emergency seriously. We shouldn’t be surprised, after all it’s Greta Thunberg who, as a 17-year-old, has raised worldwide awareness perhaps more than any other person. Not only are students learning about the issues around climate change, they are discovering what action they can take and holding us all to account. Rightly so, it’s their future.

What’s next? A great deal. It’s not just about carbon emissions. The Earth is becoming hotter and as species die out, the biodiversity on which life on Earth depends is threatened. EnCAF will be turning its attention to how to sustain biodiversity. The stakes are high, and the time is short.

For more information about EnCAF:
Email [email protected]