By Jamie Sims
On Saturday 30th July, Hope for the Future joined local climate and nature groups at the Forest for the Future installation in Derby. We talked to lots of constituents, giving them advice on how to engage their elected representatives. There were also a range of speeches from groups like Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Earthed Up, Trees for Derby, and Derby Climate Coalition. Derby has already faced major impacts from climate change in recent years, underlining the need for the town to be a leader in calling for positive change and action. Extreme heat has led to wildfires in the High Peak moorland, while heavy rainfall has caused flooding. At one point the River Derwent rose to such a high level that Derby city centre almost needed to be evacuated.
Omar Aslam, the Youth Mayor of Derby, gave a great speech highlighting the importance of action on climate change at a local level:
As a young person I worry about the impact of climate change and the earth’s global temperature rising, resulting in ice caps melting and possible extinction of animals.
We have already experienced flooding locally, with the risk of serious injuries and loss of life. It also has a devastating effect on the economy, affecting many businesses. As a city we must act now, and it's the small changes such as reducing global carbon emissions, use of less plastic, and eating locally produced food that will start to make a difference. Personally, I cycle to and from most places, as it's a hobby that supports and reduces the global carbon emissions for our planet.
We must act now. Come together as a team, as a city. We have one planet, and let’s protect it. We need to act now, regardless, anyone can make a huge difference.
Thank you, and hope to see a greater, greener Derby.
Engaging with young people is a very important part of our work. It is wonderful to see young people who are really passionate about the climate and getting involved with politics. The nature trail also helped us engage with families and children. As the Fridays For Future school strikes have shown, younger generations can be a powerful force pushing for ambitious action on climate change.
Our event in Derby was part of an ongoing series of events in key constituencies across the country, aiming to equip community members with the knowledge and skills they need to communicate the urgency of climate change to their MPs and councillors. Other events will be held in Kensington and West Bromwich, focusing on issues of air pollution and fuel poverty.
The UK will have a new Prime Minister and government next month, so we now have an opportunity to hold the government to its promises on climate and nature by showing that this is an issue that matters deeply to constituents.