Climate action and the Women’s Institutes

“You can’t really sit back when there are these people that are encouraging us to actually act. There’s a Women’s Institute book – ‘A Force to be Reckoned With’ – and that’s what we are. And what we should be. Individuals, groups, counties, nations; we should be a force to be reckoned with.” Gill Hathaway, Federation of Essex Women’s Institutes

On a chilly Friday 13th January 2023, Zero Hour had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the  Federation of Essex Women’s Institute’s ‘Climate Action Group’ and were also joined by Derek Thomas MP for West Cornwall.  The presentations and discussion were so much more positive than the subject matter would dictate as the focus turned to the prospect of a better, more nature-full future, a surge in ‘green jobs’, and as Derek said: “A legacy we can be proud of.”

“The Prime Minister said at the start of COP 27, that the world came together in Glasgow with one last chance to create a plan that would limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. By honouring the pledges we made in Glasgow, we can turn that struggle against climate change into a global mission for new jobs and clean growth. And as we bequeath our children a greener planet and a more prosperous future – that’s a legacy we can be proud of and quite rightly the UK Government is rightly under pressure to deliver on this commitment and these assurances.” Derek Thomas MP

Following the presentation by Dr Amy McDonnell, Campaign Director Zero Hour, the discussion turned to the  Climate & Ecology Bill; why it’s needed and what we can do as individuals and groups, to further the campaign to get the CAN Bill into law.  Zero Hour’s Amanda Bishop, Partnerships Campaigner and Tina Rothery, Grassroots Campaigner share their thoughts on the meeting:

Zero Hour’s Tina Rothery who works with our individual campaigners and supporters:
It was a real insight into why and how the UK Women’s Institute has remained such a respected and effective organisation for more than a century; the warmth of the welcome, breadth of topics, knowledge of the members, excellent Chairing and delicious brownies, all exceeded expectation.

I only recently started work on the Climate & Ecology Bill with Zero Hour and it just makes such sense to campaign for this. A law that will ensure the Government is obliged to act on its commitments and promises on climate and nature, rather than just keep kicking the can down the road. What’s not to love?

There were insightful discussions from WI Members and it was wonderful to hear such encouraging conversations around bringing in more WI Regional Groups to join us.

This meeting with the WI made clear that it’s going to take all of us, working together to get this right; to halt and reverse the decline in nature and to ensure a safe, liveable environment for generations to come. Thanks again to all involved.

From Zero Hour’s Amanda Bishop who works with our supporting organisations:
The Northern Ireland, West Midlands, and Devon WI Federations already back the Climate & Ecology Bill. They are in great company with over 470 organisations who have signed up to support the Climate & Ecology Bill; including Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Co-Op, National Education Union, Friends of the Earth, Wildlife Trusts and a host of local campaign groups, international NGOs and businesses. These organisations encompass employees, volunteers, campaigners, activists, students, parents, grandparents, customers, members, subscribers, listeners. There are even organisations who themselves are an alliance of organisations.

Having the support of, as well as working with, such a variety of organisations helps us reach people who may not have heard of our campaign but who are every bit as passionate and committed to tackling the climate and nature crises. I genuinely hope to attend more WI meetings and to see an abundance of Regional WI logos on our support page.

The final word goes to Derek Thomas MP: “So actually this CAN Bill is not about inflicting hardship or placing a straight jacket on our constituencies and communities but rather about delivering, levelling up in real terms: levelling-up skills, health, equality, food and energy security, mental well-being and knowledge and educational attainment. These are the reasons I support it.”

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