The October 31- November 13 2021, Glasgow- UK climate change conference (COP26) was another occasion to remind all of us climate change is here and is damaging to our environment. The conference again reinforced the notion that we are all stakeholders in the fight to protect our jobs, communities and health by helping to protect our climate and planet. During a community event at the picturesque indoor Winter Garden located in Toxteth Liverpool on Saturday April 2 2022, some residents shared some of the small personal actions they were undertaking to protect the climate. One participant said she has since refused to drive and does not even have a drivers licence (driving burns gasoline and diesel fuel that creates harmful by products that harm our health and affects the climate) The event was organised by Citizen Outreach Coalition charity with a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund grant stream “Together for our planet”
Michelle Peterkin Walker an artist and climate campaigner said we all need to eat healthily and prevent food waste, something she does that everyday other day. She said small actions like driving or flying less helps protects the environment
“Eat less meat and less diary and you don’t have to become a vegan but I eat some vegan food maybe once a week or twice a week” she added.
Video Projection and a very healthy debate
Two short youtube videos projected during the event and titled “What is climate Change” and 7 ways to fight climate change right now” gave a brief background of the climate crisis the world was now facing. The videos explained how we all needed to carefully choose what we eat, to more drastic actions like not buying cars which pollute the atmosphere, to reducing flying to meetings that can hold on zoom, to reducing food waste. An animated discussion on the views in the videos followed as participants gave different views on why and how we all must be involved in the fight to protect our environment
Abraham Ojapah who runs a healthy focused African restaurant in Toxteth Liverpool gave a powerpoint presentation on the power of good food to heal and repair our bodies. His restaurant is built around Yam, the second most important cropin Africa after cassava. On why he decided to run an African inspired crop restaurant, Abraham said “…Why I started Yammtree is was a call to action. Ive seen the need for healthy food, how important it was for our growth, our empowerment, for our survival. It is crucial that we start thinking consciously about what we eat and how it affects our mental health and our physical health. Participants had a delicious serving of his home made African alkaline soup and snacks during the event
Re-education to refocus schooling around climate protection
One participant who did not want to be named maintained the climate catastrophe we are facing is mostly man made and can still be prevented by re-focusing the educational system so young people learn to protect the environment. She said she made a conscious decision years ago not to drive until climate friendly cars are produced that cause less damage to the environment. “…I am not a vegan although I have embraced vegan lifestyle before. I know it is the best way for us to live in terms of my relationship with food because of the health benefits I have personally experienced and also witnessed in other people who have become vegans” she said.
Speaking earlier, climate activist Michelle Peterkin-Walker, said people had to make just small everyday changes in their behaviour that will have massive impact on the climate. Small things like cycling, protecting green spaces and avoiding mass produced fast food could change our individual carbon footprints
“We sometimes think that we need to do some big bold massive thing to change the climate but remember small small things change the world”, she said.
Participants left promising to inform others about the need for everyone-including people in black and ethnic minority communities to join the fight to protect our climate and avoid punishing future generations by helping to destroy it with our actions toda