As events overtake us, we have been thinking about how we can respond positively to the lockdown, so that we come out of the other end stronger and more resilient. In a matter of days, many orthodoxies have been turned on their head, particularly the idea that the state is powerless, and that there is no money to make changes. Governments across the world have been willing to take dramatic action to tackle the virus, and we may hope that they show the same resolve with the long-term threat of climate change. The globalised system that allowed coronavirus to spread needs replacing with a kinder, more sustainable, more local way of living.
Here are some positive things we can do while we are in lockdown.
Embrace Active Travel
Walk or cycle whenever possible. The streets have never been emptier nor freer of pollution. Create the time to make short trips without the car. While you are out, listen to nature.
Cycling in London is very safe, and can greatly improve your fitness and wellbeing. London Cycling Campaign has excellent resources to help you return to the bicycle, including plenty of advice on how to make your riding technique better.
Grow Your Own Food
You would be amazed at what you can do with just a couple of square metres of garden or suitably placed window box. Runner beans and courgettes are easy to grow and will give you a great crop. Garden Organic is full of resources to help you get started, including a calendar of what you can be doing now.
Green Your Finances and Home
Change to a green energy supplier. Ask your pension provider if your pension is invested in fossil fuels and try to change to renewables. Research simple energy-saving upgrades to your home such as draughtproofing, insulation or solar panels so you are ready to go when the lockdown ends.
Ealing council offers a free Healthy Homes Ealing programme, which currently includes an energy advice and a Green Doctor telephone consultation service. The telephone consultation is an outbound service, so when a resident makes contact, they will speak to a booking administrator who will assess their interest and suitability for a telephone consultation.
Explore The Possibilities of New Connections
Many people have already reached out to neighbours. Why not use these new connections to organise collectively, on a street-by-street basis? Could every street recycle its own food waste, making useful compost? Could resources like tools, ladders or mowers be pooled? Could every street run a car pool or install a bike bunker? Could every street have its own ‘street warden’?
Imagine A Better Future
Catch up on some films and books about practical responses to the climate crisis, and discuss with your friends. Some of these are available free, some may cost a small fee.
- In Transition 2.0
- A Simpler Way
- Food Inc (buy or rent)
- An Inconvenient Sequel (buy or rent)
- The Urban Green
- On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein
- No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
- The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres & Tom Rivett-Carnac