Croydon residents urged to vote for climate-friendly candidates

Meeting with London Assembly candidate Peter Underwood in February. Pic: Croydon Climate Action

Croydon Climate Action is urging Croydon residents to help fight for a climate-friendly London by voting in the capital’s mayoral and Assembly election on May 6, 2021.

The campaigning group is also asking people to take “baby steps” such as using reusable coffee cups or water bottles to reduce carbon footprints.

The group, which works in partnership with Friends of the Earth, holds regular meetings with local councils, businesses, schools and communities to help ensure the future of Croydon is climate-friendly,

Katherine Linsley and Connie Muir, coordinators for Croydon Climate Action, told Eastlondonlines about their efforts to fight for a greener and cleaner London.

“Friends of the Earth created a 10-point climate plan for London, it is 10 priorities the next Mayor of London should commit to and there is a pledge based on this,” said Muir.

“All groups in London like us are trying to get their local constituency to sign up to.

“They pledge: “If I am elected to the London Assembly, I will make the climate crisis a top priority in considering all the Mayor of London’s decisions, and push the Mayor for tougher action on climate, as illustrated in Friends of the Earth’s Climate Action Plan for London.”

Claire Bonham, Liberal Democrat Assembly candidate for Croydon North and Peter Underwood, Green Party Assembly candidate for Croydon and Sutton have both agreed to take Friends of the Earth’s Climate Action Plan for London.

The Mayor of London and London Assembly represent the people living in London. The London Assembly holds the Mayor and Mayoral advisers accountable through committee meetings, site visits and investigations.

‘Human issue’

Mayor of London and London Assembly work with councils, the central Government and organisations, like Croydon Climate Change, all over London to set budgets and visions of the future.

Muir added: “The two candidates, Claire Bonham and Peter Underwood, have agreed to take that pledge, and then whoever gets elected, we will check in and keep them accountable and see what progress they are making.

“The climate isn’t a political issue, it’s a human issue.”

Meanwhile, Linsley said: “London as a whole, we’ve got candidates from all parties taking the pledge.

“Locally, we’ve interviewed the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party and they’ve both taken it. Labour and Conservative members across London have also taken it. We are apolitical so it’s really nice all parties have taken the pledge.”

The climate group has been holding online meetings for individuals interested in the cause.

Pic: Croydon Climate Action

“Our aim is to give everyone a progress update on how we’ve been doing and the preparation with how far we have gotten the London Mayoral and London Assembly Election which are taking place in May 2021,” said Muir.

“Another aim would be to find out the public’s ideas moving forward, what priorities they think we should focus on if they know of any campaigns they think we should be a part of. I think to get their input and find out what our direction should be post-election.”

 Linsley added: “I think seeing what they would like us to focus on post-election and it would be really great to see everyone again because it’s been about a year since our last meeting with members of the public. It’ll be really nice to see everyone and the new faces.”

Behaviour change

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that countries must work together to decrease emissions to slow global warming to 1.5C.

Muir said everyone had a role to play in the fight against global warming.

“In the future, I’d like to raise more awareness and show people how we can all make a difference. The climate is such a huge issue that can seem insurmountable.

I want to show everyone from all walks of life that they can tweak little bits of their behaviours to make a difference. We need change at local, national and international level.

Connie Muir

Tree-planting project

Forbes released a survey that 93% of those surveyed showed concern over the environment and 77% of individuals wanting to learn more about sustainable lifestyles.

Muir explained: “Croydon Friends of the Earth has been established for a long time, and their Chair Léonie [Osborne], who also sits on our steering committee, used to be a headteacher so she has lots of links with lots of different schools.

“Although our focus is on the political side of things and trying to get immediate change, we are also supporting Croydon Friends of the Earth with Project ACORN; All Children Outdoors Relating to Nature.

“It’s a tree-planting project that’s getting schools and schoolchildren to increase tree cover.”

Pic: Croydon Climate Action

She continued: “We are also in the process of looking into setting up a youth brand of Croydon Climate Action because we have some enquires from younger people through our website that are interested. We want to give resources about the elections and what it means to circulate in schools.”

Driving less and recycle more

Both Muir and Linsley see a role for Croydon residents to play in reducing carbon footprints.

“In Croydon, about 50% of emissions are from housing so energy efficiency and retrofitting, if you can afford to and have permission to from landlords, then that’s something that’s really important to reducing emissions locally,” said Muir.

“Driving less and using more active transport, such as walking or cycling, in the long run is key to reduce car culture and the emissions from them; not everyone can afford an electric car, unfortunately. Joining a local climate action group! Taking on some responsibility.”

Linsley said: “Talking to your friends and family, suggesting how to cut down on plastic use to that family member that doesn’t believe in climate change.

“Growing your own food is brilliant and is amazing for your mental health. It also reminds you of what you are fighting for.

“Come along to our meeting, follow our social media and vote!”

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