Following our very successful ABCD Climate Action Pledge campaign there are now 36 county councillors and 28 district/borough councillors in post across the SECA region who have pledged their support for urgent climate action and divestment. So where do we go from here in following up with these councillors and helping them champion the climate agenda within their councils? In this blog, Sally Barnard offers some suggestions, drawing on examples from SECA members in Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex.
Who has signed the pledge?
With 64 councillors now in place who have signed the ABCD Pledge, we have some excellent contacts and potential climate champions to work with in pressing for decisive action. You can check whether your local councillors have signed the pledge by clicking on the table below.
Follow up ideas
Local councillors have a lot on their plates, especially given budget pressures and Covid recovery challenges. New councillors also face a steep learning curve in figuring out how the local council systems and procedures work. It would be easy for climate pledges to slide onto the back burner, just at the time they need to be coming to the boil.
So how can we help them keep climate action at the top of the agenda? Here’s some ideas drawn from SECA groups around the region:
Blackwater Valley Friends of the Earth are contacting all their local councillors who signed the pledge (in their case the Friends of the Earth pledge). They are inviting them to the Friends of the Earth briefing seminar for local councillors on 17th June. This webinar is open to councillors in any tier of local government and is co-hosted by Climate Emergency UK, Friends of the Earth and My Society. It would be particularly relevant for newly elected councillors wanting to get up to speed. You can find out more and book a spot here.
Divest East Sussex are running an ‘Adopt a Councillor’ campaign, matching councillors with local campaigners to build up personal relationships. They will be focussing on divestment, but also wider climate issues. If anybody in east Sussex is interested in taking part in this scheme contact email@example.com or go to https://tinyurl.com/adoptyourcouncillor
Worthing Climate Action Network are writing to all of the councillors who were elected to West Sussex County Council to ask them to support divestment of the West Sussex Pension Fund. They are asking each of the councillors who signed the pledge to persuade one other councillor on WSCC to support divestment and aim in that way to build a majority in support by the end of the year.
Surrey Pension Act Now are writing to all committee members of the new Surrey Pension Fund with an assessment of the Pension Fund’s response to the climate emergency, together with recommendations for action. This report will be published on www.surreypensions.org. All county councillors who signed the pledge will also be sent a copy, asking them to support any future divestment motions.
Alongside these initiatives we plan to send a message from SECA to each of the pledge councillors to congratulate them. We will suggest that they take a look at the SECA Council Climate Action Survey, see how their council compares to others and help us keep the survey up to date.
Do get in touch if you have any other ideas on how to follow up the SECA Pledge campaign, or experience to share on how your efforts have gone.
Sally Barnard is SECA Coordinator. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s photos of all the successful candidates who submitted a selfie