Saturday, December 9, 2023



Climate change has rarely, if ever, been the focus of this column over the past 20 or so years –  perhaps because it always seemed a global crisis rather than one that could be tackled at village level.

Halting the march of bricks, concrete and Tarmac over our green fields was seen as more within our remit than preserving the surface and atmosphere of the whole planet. On reflection, however, they are the same thing: saving our fields will help to save the planet in very many ways.

We have been, perhaps inadvertently, putting into action the idea Mary Green, in her Country Diary column in this magazine, promotes: that we should “think global and act local” in all of our dealings with nature.

But her 10 suggestions take activism even further down to the individual level, showing ways every one of us can do something, no matter how small. (One of them, no-dig gardening, is covered in more detail by Hannah Genders in her column in this magazine.)

The point of “acting local” is that even if the result of that change by an individual is vanishingly small, it is also a powerful sign that another person has added their voice and put their tick in the “Yes” box to the question: Do you want to save the planet?

It’s hard to believe that anyone would tick “No”, but individuals, corporations and governments across the world must be doing just that every day, otherwise we would not be facing the crisis we are now witnessing in our global climate.

We hope 2020 will be the year individual actions really start to turn the screw on those who do not care about, or for, the planet.

Greta Thunberg began missing school, aged 15, to stand outside the Swedish parliament holding a sign saying, in Swedish: “School strike for the climate”. That was in August 2018. In a very short time, her individual activism has carried along people around the globe.

We can’t all be Greta Thunberg, but we could try a few of Mary Green’s suggestions; we could get on board with the Cleaner, Greener Alvechurch initiative, which is making its own small changes; we could support the Worcestershire Pollinators, as have a few people in Barnt Green, with a vision to create pollination corridors through and between our villagers; we could eat less meat.  We can do a little a lot.

With each small thing we do, or don’t do, we are making a tiny difference; and with each other person we tell about what we are doing, and why, we could be starting to make a much bigger difference.