The evidence is clear: the planet is facing dangerous levels of warming due to man-made emissions and the UK is now one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.
Groundwork believes that the needs of local communities must be central to the solutions to both problems. While political leadership is needed, sustainable solutions require the consent and participation of people from all walks of life.
We know that the negative effects of climate change and environmental damage impact first and worst on those who have the least power in society and who contribute least to pollution. The transition to net-zero carbon emissions must tackle, rather than entrench, this inequality and provide a springboard for better work and healthier, happier lives in the places that need it most.
Society’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must have environmental commitments at its core. This includes the creation of high-quality green jobs and the promotion of a circular economy. It includes investment in energy efficiency and renewables, the provision of high-quality green space accessible to all, improvements to air quality, creating and improving habitats for wildlife and other green infrastructure to improve the natural environment.
Delivering a green recovery also means building the resilience of communities to cope with the effects of a changing climate, such as floods and heatwaves. As the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated, volunteer efforts can help communities plan for and respond to emergencies, bridging the gap between individuals and the emergency services.
Community-led initiatives don’t just meet immediate need but can build long-term sustainable behaviour change; evidence from our programmes indicates that, with the right support, local community organisations can engage a wide cross-section of people in improving local environments, campaigning for change and promoting individual awareness and responsibility.
Groundwork is committed to supporting and facilitating pro-environmental community action and building the social infrastructure it needs to thrive. We know that creating sustainable change is a long-term mission but that through working together and listening to one another, we can create a future where every neighbourhood is fairer, healthier and greener.