Heatwaves and pandemics: a new normal that needs to be addressed.

It’s strange to ever consider positioning anything that is quite clearly an abnormality as the opposite, but as humans- a species known specifically for its ability to adapt- that is what we do. The heatwave we’re seeing right now could soon fit that category, as regrettable as that sounds.

Throughout the winter we talk about how unfit-for-purpose our buildings are, particularly our old and badly insulated homes, because of how cold and inefficient they are to heat. In summer, we have the inverse problem, wherein their poor insulation makes them behave like tin huts- locking in heat and causing us to roast during the day while we toss and turn at night.

Insulating our homes will have a twofold effect, saving us the headache of drying up in summer while avoiding the frightening cost of bills to stay warm in the winter.

It’s overwhelmingly the poor and elderly who suffer these conditions the most in the UK. Be it for their age, which leaves them weaker in resisting these extremes in temperature, or for their lack of options financially to do something about the problem.

On the frontlines

Our Green Doctor service aims to tackle the problem by offering people FREE advice on how to tackle the energy crisis, helping them access schemes for vulnerable people while advising them on choices like switching energy providers; installing low-cost insulation solutions, like draft excluders, and advising on bursaries that can help improve home insulation, can make a real difference.

Often our Green Doctor will find that the vulnerable clients he assists need help on more than just one front; he’ll end up referring them to our SMILE befriending service, which aims to tackle the effects of loneliness and isolation, or as one of our befrienders puts it, it ‘aims to make people smile.’

We find that the vulnerable people our service help suffer from a range of issues that feed into each other, meaning there is significant overlap in our organizational aims and the outcomes of our work. The pandemic put a strain on our work, making it much more difficult to perform but all the more important to undertake.

As we watch the effects of climate change take effect, and the increasing inequality of our society wreak havoc on social stability, it is important that remember what is important: prioritizing future wellbeing over short-term fixes and profit motives.

Our commitment

Working in the non-profit sector, it seems hardly surprising one would have such a forward-thinking mindset. Too often we see complacency and laziness at a structural and institutional level lead to avoidable problems- a general lack of preparedness and ambivalence that pervades too much of vital decision-making in our world. Whether it’s a lack of preparedness to deal with a pandemic, or it’s in the slow efforts to tackle the climate emergency. Too little is done, and too late.

We want to challenge those mindsets and encourage people to get involved and raise awareness of the issues affecting their community. Volunteer with us for the SMILE project, or spread the word about the Green Doctor service. Get involved in our woodland preservation efforts and help us maintain our local green spaces.

Read more about why we at Groundwork care so much about maintaining our Green Spaces here.

Email me at matthew.thomas@groundworknottingham.org.uk if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

Matthew Thomas, Comms and Marketing