We have a number of really exciting events planned this spring to bring people together – at the moment we’re still planning for them to happen, whether virtual or otherwise, have a look and see what takes your fancy. We’ll keep you updated with any changes.
The impacts of the pandemic are affecting people mentally and physically, and life for some is incredibly tough right now. However the situation we find ourselves is also causing us to think differently about the way we live our lives and what we care about. New perspectives offer new ideas about sustainability, and so while we are doing what we can to support those affected by the virus, we must also seize these opportunities to put us all on a better path while they are still open.
At Global Action Plan, along with the rest of the sector, we are using this time of adjustment to listen, observe the potential for change and capture innovations. By working together as movements we can shape how we want our world to be in the future.
We are thoroughly encouraged by:
The examples of compassion which we are seeing through our #compassionlibrary, confirming that we care about our community and the wider world more than the media narrative usually suggests. Please share examples using this hashtag so we can continue to build on the new acknowledgement that the goodies can be as good a source of click bait as the baddies.
The enjoyment people are getting from this this low traffic, low pollution world. We are collecting insights and experiences from people in Lambeth and Southwark as well as UK wide through our #buildbackcleanerair campaign in partnership with Guy's and St Thomas' Charity. Please take part and share your insights across our four clean air issues.
Young people’s passion for climate action hasn’t been dampened by lockdown, the first National Youth Climate Conference was hosted this week by Global Action Plan’s Transform Our World hub in partnership with Robert Ferguson Primary School with over 135 schools, education and youth organisations taking part. To fully understand the how COVID-19 has affected young people’s attitudes to the natural environment we have launched our Care for the Natural World survey for 7-18 year olds, do please share this amongst your family and networks.
We find ourselves surprised by:
The extent to which people are turning their backs on the old normal, You Gov found that 85% of people want to see some of the personal or social changes they have experienced continue afterwards, whilst just 9% want everything to go back to how it was before the pandemic. There has never been a greater opportunity for change.
The speed at which changes are being incorporated, for example Milan has announced that 35km (22 miles) of streets will be transformed over the summer, with a rapid, experimental citywide expansion of cycling and walking space to protect residents as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. Local Councils all over the UK are widening pavements and introducing increased cycle paths as we speak, changes that should be hard to reverse.
Sadly we less surprised to see online fashion retailers continuing to exert manipulative social pressure even in a time of lockdown, running adverts such as "7 different social distancing occasions and what to wear to them".
Pandemic analysis suggests that the next stage is one of regeneration, a time of revaluation ahead of the new normal. We have been thinking about the new leadership opportunities which are emerging for all us both within the sustainability sector and more broadly.
If we are to ensure that the future is a better one, we need to be an even stronger environmental movement, with more followers, advocates and changemakers (for more on this, read this series of posts by our Senior Partner, Chris Large). In the spirit of hope, which will be so key to this regeneration, we’d love to hear your thoughts on what we can all start work to change right now, so they’ll be no turning back when the time comes.
And in the meantime, whether we are choosing to or not, millions of us have made radical shifts in behaviour unthinkable even weeks ago. Realising that it can be not only achievable but enjoyable to live sustainably is the first step to changing the future for our planet.