Insights from a Greenbelt Volunteer

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Liz Harding

What a full weekend! Over three long hot days, I alternated between manning the Hope for the Future stall and exploring the talks, music and art of Greenbelt. It was hard work but good and I had interesting conversations. One couple had not flown for 14 years before a tour of the northern hemisphere last year, now they were going to stay grounded for another decade before a Southern Hemisphere tour. I helped a 5-year-old write a message to her MP and I spoke to a teacher interested in booking a Hope for the Future workshop who was keen to address the issue with her school students who were not allowed on the climate strikes.

Being in the stall was fun. I was a little worried about my lack of political knowledge, though I had volunteered for Hope for the Future for a few months earlier in the year, I worked on their public events, and had little knowledge about parliamentary politics. 

Thankfully, the person on the stall with me usually did or I could just admit I was probably the least politically aware person on the Hope for the Future Greenbelt team but if “you just pop your name on our sign up sheet, we can get back in touch and a member of staff can help to answer your question” (we had no signal so Google was no help!).

I slept very well at the end of each day. The only thing to consider if you are thinking of volunteering is that you probably won’t get to see all the talks you like. However, you would get hours free each day to snooze in the heat, listen to talks and enjoy the yummy food at Greenbelt and you’ll get to meet and engage with people of all ages and backgrounds about climate change. We had more than 100 people sign up for a HftF email about the work we do and how they can get involved. If even a fraction of those people contacts their MP about climate change, we'll significantly raise climate change’s position on the political agenda, something it felt great to be a part of.