Organised by Friends of the Earth and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Earthmovers Awards recognise the inspiring work of local environmental groups in their communities.
From Darlington in County Durham to Swale in Kent, get inspired by what these local groups have achieved.
Swale Friends of the Earth organised a litter pick on Faversham creek, a protected wetland on the North Kent Marshes. The creek is home to rare plants and the endangered shrill carder bee. The group also organised a 'hook the duck' game for children at a local festival, where children had to hook out plastic waste from a pool filled with toy sea creatures. "We find that with a good prop, like the duck game, we can really engage people," says Anna Stanford from the group.
Currently awaiting a government decision on a planning application for a new opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay in Northumberland, Banks Mining has also applied for permission for a second 50 hectare site at Dewley Hill near Newcastle. The Defend Dewley Hill campaign is determined not to let a well-loved area of trees and hedges be destroyed. Jos Forester-Melville from the group says, "We came together as a group of people who were spurred on to defend our village from the scourge of opencast."
North Wiltshire Friends of the Earth has seen the impact of new housing developments near the Marden Valley between Chippenham and Calne. Together with the Avon Needs Trees charity, the group wants to raise money to buy 34 acres of land for tree planting. "By growing thousands of new trees we can take a significant step in tackling climate disaster," says Peter Williams. "Reforesting in the River Avon catchment area has multiple benefits, including natural flood management." North Wilts Friends of the Earth is also producing a Tree identification map for local Forest schools.
Leicester Friends of the Earth launched a new version of the Health Air Manifesto for the city. The group wanted to persuade councillors ahead of local elections to prioritise cleaning up Leicester's air - the World Health Organisation recently said that the city has some of the worst air quality in the UK. The manifesto was launched by campaigners wearing gas masks, and calls on authorities to consider a holistic approach which includes electrifying buses and introducing a charging Clean Air Zone.
Members of Darlington Friends of the Earth were devastated to find a number of dead birds caught in netting which had been put up on building sites and private land around the town. The group decided to pull down around 5 miles of netting in 24 hours and to run an awareness-raising campaign. "We were saddened to see this new practise from developers who don't want to be inconvenienced by birds," says Kendra Ullyart (left), co-ordinator of Darlington Friends of the Earth. "We have to stop putting profit ahead of wildlife."
All of these great stories were shared at Groundswell events around the country in 2019. If you're inspired and would like to campaign for urgent action on climate, why not join one of our new Climate Action groups?
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