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‘Hiding under duvet won’t end climate crisis’

Mothers join forces for a series of workshops over the winter and spring months

26 November, 2021 — By Anna Lamche

Rachael Swynnerton, left, and Eilidh Murray

TWO mothers have organised a new free programme of events in a bid to encourage people to take more interest in the climate crisis.

Rachael Swynnerton and Eilidh Murray have joined forces to create “Nurture” – a series of workshops which aim to get people working together in Islington.

“We are coming at it from different stages in life. Rachael has got a young family, and I’ve got a family but they’re a heck of a lot older,” said Ms Murray.

“And we are both learning from the children – and we both want to protect the children. I personally feel so guilty about what my generation has done. We’ve really screwed up big time.”

Nurture will launch on Tuesday with a keynote speech from David Saddington, who heads the COP26 Nature Campaign for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and spoke at Glasgow’s recent climate summit.

Workshops will be held online and in person over winter and into the spring months.

Some sessions will focus on big environmental topics while others will offer seasonal walks and practical gardening tips.

The programme is open to adults and children alike.

For Ms Swynnerton, it is very important to take an intergenerational approach when tackling climate change.

“It’s profound what you notice when you see the world through the eyes of a child,” she said.

“They naturally love it, care for it, are curious about it. It’s reminded me that as adults, we get really disconnected from nature.”

In Islington, discussion of climate change can get tangled up with the debate on low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), but for Ms Swynnerton, “it’s important to remember that with LTNs, that’s just one part of the jigsaw puzzle. What I think we’re thinking is there has been a bit too much focus on that,” she said.

“People can engage with [climate change] in different ways, through thinking about diet, or planting and growing food, and tree planting,” Ms Swynnerton said.

“I think people have started to realise climate change is going to happen, and that’s quite a fearful situation.

“But if we can say there are already solutions, we hope to engage people on different levels.”

Ms Murray said: “We’re focusing on things people can do at home. Could you make small changes that if everyone did them would make a big difference? I don’t want to be lying there in my last minutes and thinking: oh my gosh, we’ve got this climate Armageddon, why didn’t I do something?”

She added: “It’s very easy to get daunted by the COP flop and leaders not doing what they said they were doing. With this feeling of impending catastrophe, it’s very easy to say ‘let’s get under the duvet and it will go away’.

“But it won’t. You can do things: and that empowerment is one of the main drivers of the workshop.”

More information at: https://inspiringsustainableislington.org/

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