A team of Progressio supporters joined the "Green is working" demonstration of over 250 people from other NGOs, community groups, unions, and businesses last Thursday. It was organised by the ‘Stop Climate Chaos’ coalition as a press stunt to demand that the Government takes the green economy seriously, so we lined up outside the Treasury Office wearing green hard hats!
This was the first protest action I have taken that was not a march, consequently I was surprised how much more relaxed the atmosphere was. Everyone was very welcoming, and people were keen to hear about Progressio and its work. It was great to meet representatives from so many organisations, both to briefly learn about what they are also doing for the cause, as well as generating a genuine spirit of unity.
Whilst we were outside the Treasury, we formed a line of solidarity wearing the distinctive green hats, along the front pavement – with the enormous “Green is working” banner behind us. The main impact was not what anyone was saying, but that this image of a crowd uniting for the green cause generated attention. The Green hats were taken on and off, raised in the air or whatever the photographers requested.
We had the Progressio banner and t-shirts for everyone to see, and be photographed in. There was also the opportunity for more exposure than anticipated, as we ‘moved on’ to stand on the corner of Westminster Street – with the banner and our hats, before everyone went their separate ways back to their offices in the capital.
Most importantly, we represented Progressio at this event because it is poor communities who suffer the most from the effects of climate change; they are being hit first and the hardest. However, our organisation is working to alleviate this impact, as the development workers help people to protect their environment. They are also working to ensure they have fair access to natural resources, and we make sure that policy-makers hear their voices, whether that is on a local or global level.
I have been reading about Rhoda Khumalo who lives in Zimbabwe, and she bought a solar panel with the proceeds from her drought-resistant cowpeas. "The solar panel made a big difference. I no longer have to buy paraffin which is expensive, we can listen to the news on the radio, and my children can now read under the lights at night." Her story is inspirational, so we should all do our bit for the environment.
As this demonstration showed, this is a time when we need to take action on climate change. The UK government will be voting on the Energy Bill and the Climate Act in the coming months, so in order to show it is a global leader in the effort to reduce the impacts of climate change we need your support.
Photo from left to right - Islay Mackinlay, Lucy Frew, Jess Sawers-Warren, Aimee Sawers-Warren and Catherine Orchard. Photo © Daniel Hale/Progressio.