How many local environment campaigns does it take for the issues they raise to be recognised as part of a national problem? Ten? Twenty, maybe? What about 100? Surely national media and politicians would have taken up the issues by then.
As it turns out, there’s far more than 100 local environmental campaigns going on right now. In just two weeks, more than 280 different groups across the UK have registered on a new National Grassroots Campaigns Map. Rosie Pearson, one of the founders, is astonished: “When we set it up, it was really just to see what’s out there. But we quickly realised there’s a real hunger for sharing information, resources and support. We’re witnessing a huge number of local groups facing the same issues.”
I got a sense of the scale of this problem following an article I wrote about the assault on the countryside. I was deluged by local campaigns: Save Ferriby 2020, Save Culham Green Belt, Save West Grinstead, Keep Rookwood Green, to name but a few. But to see the visuals of this new map is shocking. There are huge housing developments and damaging infrastructure projects everywhere. It’s clear that these are far from localised disputes. They are fighting the same battles: against huge unsustainable housing developments engulfing small towns; against the loss of greenbelt or protected wildlife areas; and against hypocritical councils who declare a climate emergency in one breath and order the destruction of carbon sequestering trees or marshland in another.