July 2020 Meeting Notes

 Dear friends and supporters

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the work of Sheffield Friends of the Earth. We all recognise what an important time this is for the environmental lobby to be as active as possible  - but we also recognise how hard this can actually be for individuals.  For those who feel their key contribution currently is to be armchair activists (nothing wrong with that!) there are a number of links in this email to petitions and information pieces.  Please click through as takes your particular interest.  

For people who would like to be more involved in learning about and contributing to a variety of issues, please come along to one of our monthly meetings – currently on Zoom to make it super easy!  Held on the 3rd Monday of every month 7:30 – 9, the next one is Monday August 17th 7:30-9pm.  Full details will be sent out later in the week.  We are also pleased to tell you that we have an extra event this month – a meeting with Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Hallam (and a key member of the local ‘Labour for a Green New Deal’) who is meeting with us at 7:30  on Monday 24th August to discuss Friends of the Earth’s policy proposals for a green and fair economic recovery.  Again, more details later in the week – so please look out for the email.

Updates from July’s meeting

a) Campaign to Double Tree cover in England

It was great to have Guy Shrubsole from National Friends of the Earth at our last meeting to talk to us about the need for more trees and the alarming lack of ambition in the UK government’s recently published Tree Strategy for England.  Friends of the Earth's new research shows there is actually enough suitable land in England to triple existing tree cover across the country but that England's biggest landowners in particular are not growing enough trees. Click here for the national petition urging the government to double tree cover in England. 

For those of you keen to play an active part in nurturing trees locally – there is a great opportunity to help out with Sheffield’s street trees.  Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust are co-ordinating the allocation of volunteer Tree Wardens 🌳 across the city to keep an eye on ones in your own locality.  Sounds interesting/fun?  Click here for more information.

b) School Strikers and local ‘Build Back Better’ initiatives

We were really impressed by the passion and knowledge of Molly, a local leader in the school climate strikes group, who spoke to us at the last meeting.  She expressed their views with such fluency regarding the challenge of the climate crisis and need for young people to speak out loudly to force authorities to pay attention to them.  The school strikers are also part of an initiative gathering steam locally and across the country -  Green New Deal UK https://www.greennewdealuk.org/ A local hub is being set up and over 100 of us were part of a ‘visioning’ event two weeks ago about ways to influence Sheffield City Region and the local councils to ensure a green and fair recovery.

Sheffield Friends of the Earth lead Climate Campaigner, Richard Souter, represents us at many meetings with local and regional councillors and officers and is a key link with Green New Deal South Yorkshire.  This is quite a heavy demand, so please email admin@sheffieldfoe.co.uk  if you think you could help out (initially in a supportive capacity if that’s better for you)

Another key player locally in South Yorkshire is the newly established Rotherham Climate Action, led by Helen Francis who is still also a member of Sheffield FoE (despite being Rotherham based!)  If you live in Rotherham, check out their information on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or via email rotherhamclimateaction@gmail.com

Other campaigns which might be of interest:

Highway Code consultation – good news for cyclists?

For those particularly interested in active travel measures, principally cycling & walking, did you know a major revision is being planned for the Highway Code?  Its brilliant key principle is that  ‘the road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others’ Go to highwaycodeconsultation to contribute to the consultation – and remember that far more people who OPPOSE any changes tend to respond to consultations than those who support them.  Your voice is needed!

Moving investment away from fossil fuels

Two campaigns are worthy of your attention if you are concerned that your tax/pension money is being spent on things you disapprove of.  Nationally Friends of the Earth are calling on the government to stop funding fossil fuel extraction abroad click here to add your voice.  

Locally there is a call out to any South Yorkshire residents, particularly those whose pension is invested with the South Yorkshire Pensions Authority (eg council employees, including school employees other than teachers) for the SYPA to divest from  these climate wrecking industries.  Click on this link to the Sheffield Climate Alliance website for more information.

Say No to Pesticides

Lastly, a petition is nearing its target of 7000 signatories demanding  Sheffield council stop using glyphosate-based herbicides in the city's publicly owned spaces These weedkillers kill and harm beneficial insects such as key pollinators, bees.  Let’s see if we can help end this practice once and for all, as so many other local authorities have already done.  Click here to say no to glysophate!

Keep in touch

Details of the upcoming meetings will be sent out in a few days – we hope to see you at one of them, but just keeping in the loop is the main thing!  Please follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter for news and views and links to interesting articles or email admin@sheffieldfoe.co.uk with any queries.

With best wishes

Lindy Stone

Coordinator, Sheffield Friends of the Earth



Picture Souce: Pixabay.com