1 October 2019 | OPINION
January 2018 – the Government under Theresa May announced its 25-year Green Future environmental strategy. The policies were wide-ranging, from improving our air and water quality to protecting our biodiversity, while building sustainability into all we do. The vision was to leave our environment for the next generation in a cleaner and safer state – a tall order indeed.
Conservative environmentalists – along with others from all walks of life – started their own initiatives. In Maidenhead we founded Maidenhead Matters, building on the age-old principles of reduce, reuse, recycle. We started Reﬁll in the town centre, held endless litter picks and had a borough-wide schools’ ‘litter’ art competition to raise awareness. These eﬀorts and more meant we were fortunate enough to be nominated for a Green Heart Award by the Climate Coalition.
Michael Gove (then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Aﬀairs) stated that climate change policies are one of the few hooks which could encourage a young person to switch party allegiance; indeed, Maidenhead is full of young Tories who proudly campaign alongside the older generations.
We have been carried along by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet eﬀect, reaching unprecedentedly into all corners of society. Soon after, Greta Thunberg’s powerful words sent even more of the masses to join the throng of climate change protestors. Many of our councils have signed up to Climate and Environmental Emergency policies and are left with the question “what now?”
Tories For Climate Action (TFCA) is a campaign group for Conservatives committed to ﬁghting climate change from a green capitalist point of view. As councillors within TFCA, our aim is to share best practice tips and help each other to overcome the challenges when delivering a healthier and sustainable society for all, alongside the wider group’s vision for opposing the overwhelming narrative in the media and in public perception that only the left care. We are active in engaging in policy debate and discussion – only pragmatic, pro-business policies will be wide-reaching enough to solve this momentous issue.
Our new social media campaign is an invitation to individuals to improve their immediate environments through minor lifestyle adjustments; impactful if many take part, and we are excited to see participation in our ‘100 Ways to Improve Your Environment’.
While these small suggestions are a far cry from the full-throated demands that are required of us to achieve our goal of restoring and safeguarding the environment for generations to come, we are hopeful that this initiative will spur the inactive among us into action. After all, the other option – to do nothing – is no option at all.
“Our focus must shift from minimised social and environmental impact to providing long-term social, environmental and economic value. Sustainable development requires us to think harder about why we are building, for whom, and how their need might evolve over time and be met in other ways.” – Jo Da Silva, ARUP
Forums such as TFCA, where we can share our successes and our failings, and learn from both, are invaluable. Somewhere, a few clicks away, someone else is looking at how to ensure grey water is reused in more developments, or how to build sustainability into all projects while utilising our limited resources – the ability to collaborate on projects such as these boosts eﬃciency and, ultimately, leads to success.
As Conservatives we can and should be international leaders in reversing and adapting to the reality of climate change. TFCA is, as a campaign group, aiming for the party to adopt innovative strategies conducive to economic and societal strength. We must also remember the electorate is only becoming more and more environmentally-conscious – we Conservatives have to appeal to that vote.
Tories for Climate Action is a fabulous, energetic group and we would love you to join us. If you are interested, please follow us on Twitter and DM us!