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5 Minute GAP - Tessa and Bryony talk about Clean Air Day and the power of your voice


Clean Air Campaigns Lead, Tessa Bartholomew-Good, and Marketing Manager, Bryony Aylmer, talk about how Clean Air Day is different from other campaigns, why it's exciting to work on, and how there is power in everyone's voices.


For more information access to resources and information on how you can get involved, visit the Clean Air Day page.


"We Share Freely". The change we want to see in the world is bigger than we are. So, we're sharing our knowledge, resources and ideas to help more people and organisations take steps forward towards our vision of a green and thriving planet, where everyone can enjoy happy and healthy lives within the Earth's limits.


As part of this, we're launching our new "5 Minute GAP" series, a collection of five minute conversations that will share how we work and what we're working on. We'll talk about what we're trying to achieve and why, how we function as an organisation, and the thinking behind our plans and strategy.


We'll be regularly sharing these conversations, which will feature different members of our team and trustee board, as well as external experts.


We hope you enjoy listening in to our chats, getting to know our team and finding out what makes us who we are. 



Audio only version:


If you prefer to read rather than watch, the transcription is here: 


Tessa: Everyone in the organisation kind of talks about Clean Air Day as this you know, it's the biggest campaign we run at GAP. It's the biggest air pollution campaign in the country. And the more I kind of understand and see it shape, I can really see it being something that yes. Is something that GAP owns and runs and organizes. And there's a lot of work that we do behind the scenes. But what I think is really cool about it and different from campaigns that I've run in the past is that it's also owned by everyone else. So the local authorities who use our resources or the businesses who are deciding to, you know, do something around air pollution, they are also owners of Clean Air Day.

And I think that's what's been really cool to see. You know, at first I kind of was just this abstract idea. And then as I've talked to more supporters and understood what different people do with different events, different communication to their own constituents or customers that you can really see it, they they feel pride in it as well. Which is really cool to see.

Bryony: It's quite a unique model, really, because it's not direct to public. We are kind of the catalyst to encourage others to do it themselves. So all our resources that we publish, there's something for everyone to get involved with. And it's not us explicitly telling them what to do. They take it and make it their own, which I think is quite nice. And as you say, the sector and the public can take the day for what they like... for their own.

So it's really a joint effort. And I think in the past, that people kind of think because the government is not doing anything about air pollution, it's not a big deal. But as kind of Clean Air Day shows and the kind of stories and reports that we release on the day, it really is a huge problem and I just feel quite proud that we tackle that.

Tessa: Yeah, definitely. And and having come from government working on government campaigns and kind of seeing how inside that influence happens, like we know at GAP we talk about all the time that like the way you make big changes is by changing the system, by changing, you know, policy, by those big top level things. But actually, in order to get to that point where policies are being discussed and being, you know, even considered, you really need to bring people along with you and you need to be able to have that kind of almost "consumer demand", if you use business terms, to show that people want this change. 

And we've seen different examples of where when you don't bring people along with you, sometimes it doesn't work as well. And I think it is it is really interesting having come from government and now kind of influencing government in a different way to see the power of a campaign that is, you know, so really kind of connected to all these different types of organisations and how powerful that can be.

Bryony: Yeah, it is like a chicken and egg scenario. Sometimes you're like does government go first or do we need to show that the public really want this? So I think it's a case of balancing both quite well and Clean Air Day itself kind of is a good moment acts as a catalyst, really. It's not just that day that we're working on air pollution, which sometimes people think we are like as, you know, working on it all year round.

It's just a moment to almost celebrate and draw attention to it. And it is an important moment to get government to pay attention to it. I think there is obviously much more power in numbers. So if everyone kind of used their voice or I mean, for example, even myself, when you're kind of filling out form or sending a letter to an MP or posting about something, you kind of feel like "I'm just one person".

But if everyone does a little bit or does something, then the kind of people high up who can do system or implement system level change have to kind of take note, they have to notice what's going on. If we can provide them with the tools to do that, to make it as easy as possible, which is what we obviously do, with our resources and our template letters and kind of social media packs and things like that, then we've done our job.

Tessa: Yeah, I was really excited to see that when I came in: all of the different kind of template letters where we make it so easy for people to download a letter have like an introduction of why air pollution's important, a list of kind of suggestions that people might be able to ask from their local councillors or MPs, kind of do all the hard work for them.

But people are able to then personalise it because it made me think of one of my first ever jobs I worked for like a local councillor, and I was the person who had to open all those letters and I just remember, you know, I was so young and I didn't like I didn't really know much about government at the time, but I was interested in it. And, you know, those letters get opened by someone and those letters get collated into piles of themes and it's not, you know, those are actually looked at by people which as you say, like that's how if you can get enough people asking for similar things, that's how you can get decision makers to realise that it is a priority.