The WI has a proud history of taking action to protect the environment. As a founding member of The Climate Coalition, we work to protect what we love from climate change, and lobby politicians to prioritise tackling the issue.
For nearly 100 years, WI members have led campaigns to conserve the natural world from environmental degradation and climate change. Generations of WI members have used their campaigning might to call for action on issues as diverse as water pollution (1936), acid rain (1985), the ozone layer and CFCs (1988), deforestation (1989), renewable energy (1977 and 2006), litter - a campaign which founded one of Britain’s leading environmental organisations Keep Britain Tidy in 1954 – recycling and conservation of resources (2005), and the protection of birds (1933), honeybees (2009) and animal welfare.
Be it making simple swaps in their own lives, or lobbying policymakers as part of the WI’s Climate Ambassador scheme, more and more WI members are taking action to protect our world for generations to come.
Our recent climate change campaign achievements
In November 2021, the UK Government hosted the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland. In an incredibly busy year for UK climate action, WI members called on the UK Government to deliver strong and ambitious climate agreements at COP26 without any loopholes to keep the world to 1.5C of temperature rises by 2100.
WI members hand-made ‘No More Loophole’ bracelets and used these to lobby their policymakers for urgent climate action, and used the WI’s ‘The Whole Story’ action pack to raise awareness of the relationship between gender inequalities and climate change. WI members also contributed to the WI’s Climate Scrapbook, with their views on why urgent climate action was needed at COP26, and marched for climate action across England, Wales and the Islands during the Global Day of Action protests.
The NFWI Public Affairs team took the voices of WI members to the COP26 conference itself and organised a public stand in the UK Government’s ‘Green Zone.’ Ahead of COP26, we joined with Care International and organised an MP drop-in event in Parliament Square to draw attention to the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women and girls.
WI members joined with members of The Climate Coalition and organised community events to support the annual Show the Love campaign in February 2021, and then again for the first ever Great Big Green Week in September 2021.
Virtual mass lobby
On the 30th June 2020, the WI joined with organisations across The Climate Coalition and beyond to organise the first virtual lobby for climate, nature and green policies. Over 100 WI members joined the 13,000+ people who took part in the virtual lobby from the comfort of their own homes and asked over 280 MPs to put in place policies that will guarantee a green economic recovery.
In addition to taking part in The Climate Coalition’s ‘Show the Love’ campaign in February, over 200 WI members joined the "Time is Now" lobby in Westminster to speak to their MPs about protecting the environment from climate change on 26th June 2019.
On that day, WI members were part of the largest environment lobby in history, with 12,000 people attending and over 350 MPs lobbied.
Following on from the WI’s earlier campaign on women and climate change (2009), the Climate Ambassador scheme was launched. As Climate Ambassadors, WI members are working in communities across England, Wales and the Islands and organising community events, panels and talks, lobbying policymakers and working with like-minded community groups and businesses to build public consensus for the need for more urgent action on climate change.
What climate campaigns will the WI be focusing on in 2022?
The UK Government left COP26 with a long to-do list. As COP26 President until November 2022, the UK Government still remains extremely influential to set the pace and ambition for climate action around the world.
This year, the WI will be working with other like-minded organisations in The Climate Coalition to make the promises and pledges made at COP26 into reality. In September/October 2022, we will be again supporting the Great Big Green Week, which is a celebration of climate action across England, Wales and the Islands.
We will also be continuing to work to make sure that WI members are fully equipped to take action on their own climate change campaigns, with high-quality resources and opportunities to hear from experts through virtual coffee mornings and training sessions.
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