Some say the public can’t afford to care about climate change right now, but the truth is it's already hitting people in the pocket. Lots of organisations in Notts agree, and that's why they're 'Uniting for Warm Homes' on Saturday 18 November. Campaigner Alice Bayes talks us through why she wants local MPs to take action...
I set up Climate Action Notts in 2020, with the help of national charity Friends of the Earth, because I was so frustrated with how the focus of climate action is too often on ordinary people’s home lives, instead of on the many more significant actions that policymakers, like our MPs and local councillors, ought to be taking. Every time we’ve had a campaign, whether it's about lobbying our MPs on the shocking state of Net Zero, or asking our councillors if they really want to invest other people’s money in fossil fuels, it’s been focussed on asking those in power to do their bit.
And our latest campaign is no different. I’ve noticed a tricky misconception in the UK right now that with the cost of living continuing to sky rocket, climate campaigners couldn’t possibly expect ordinary people to be environmentally minded about their energy. But the truth is, they’re one and the same - they’re both a result of fuel poverty, and the government’s inaction on it.
Climate Action Notts’ new campaign is called United for Warm Homes, and it will lobby MPs to take action on both the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis, by really and truly tackling fuel poverty.
We will be calling on MPs and General Election candidates to pledge their support for three asks: emergency funding for those forced to choose between heating and eating, an insulation scheme for those homes which are quite literally costing the Earth, and a move away from unreliable fossil fuels towards cheaper, greener renewable energy. Because ultimately, I really believe that it shouldn’t cost us the Earth, in either sense of the phrase, to have warm homes.
Sneinton was labelled the coldest neighbourhood in Nottingham, almost ranking in the coldest ten percent of the whole country
If you, like me, want to show your MP that you want their name on the list, join us at Tiger Hub Community Cafe in Nottingham on the Saturday 18 November between 11am and 2.30pm. All eleven Notts County MPs have been invited, alongside our nearly twenty pledge partner organisations. We’ll be enjoying affordable and warming food, assembling our community quilt of supporters, and hearing from local activist Alan Simpson at around 1pm. All ages are welcome to drop in and add a message of support to our quilt. Drop in and craft/chat/sip with us to tell your MP you want to see Warm Homes for Notts now!
Many would question if this issue applies to us. Unfortunately, the research says it does. Friends of the Earth studied fuel poverty across the UK, and the results for our area are staggering. For those with the NG1 postcode alone, the average energy bill is £1,980 a year, and a whopping 15% of their bills could be lowered with solid wall insulation. FoE determined the 100 coldest neighbourhoods in each region of the UK, and almost a third of the whole East Midlands list are in Nottingham. Sneinton was labelled the coldest neighbourhood in Nottingham, almost ranking in the coldest 10% of the whole country.
So once we understood the gravity of the situation, we realised that this campaign needs to be a little different. We’re working hard to build a united but diverse coalition of local groups who support this campaign. With Friends of the Earth’s guidance, I really tried to focus on reaching out to groups who aren’t traditionally focussed on environmental topics, but who support the need for action on fuel poverty. I’m proud to say you can find the logos of everyone from Notts Trade Council and Keep Our NHS Public Nottingham, to Shop Zero and The Beestonian, on our poster. They, among several others, have all committed to support the campaign. It’s been really encouraging to see groups such as these, who may have preconceived notions about climate action, coming together to unite for warm homes, and we hope they will join us on the 18th.
Of course, the work is not over yet. MPs need you, their constituents, to demand action before they may take notice, and we’ve promised them a diverse yet passionate turnout at Tiger Hub. Even if they can’t attend, we’ll make sure they know their constituents want Warm Homes now! Together, we can make sure warm homes are accessible to all, without breaking the bank or the planet.
Book to attend United for Warm Homes event at Tiger Community Hub on Saturday 18 November or sign their petition here
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