17 Sep 2020
This autumn the UK government will be setting the national budget for the next 4 years. It’s a crucial opportunity to implement a green and fair recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As well as lobbying MPs and forging allies across the movement, we want to stage a "first" for the network by running a national week of action in October aimed at building support within communities for a green and fair recovery. If we’re going to win big in the future, we need to build momentum now.
The week of action is a chance to grow our Climate Action groups and attract attention. We want to demonstrate that we're at a crossroads by erecting signposts across the UK that quite literally point to a greener and fairer world.
What is a "signpost" action?
We want groups to create their own signposts to a green and fair recovery. The signposts will provide a way for groups and passers-by to create a vision for their communities by adding comments to the signpost about what change they want to see post-COVID-19.
The action will require some creativity, as each group participating will need to make a large and stable signpost. Something like this:
How to make a signpost
Use whatever skills and equipment you have at your disposal and try to use recycled materials if possible.
When building the base make sure it's freestanding and stable. There are different ways you can do this, e.g building a wooden base with feet, weighing the base down in a bucket of sand, or using a Christmas tree stand.
We've created some templates for arrows (see box 2 above) using Canva to help get you started. Use the links below to download and print them off:
If you have any better ideas for making this work, go for it (and do please share tips with other Climate Action Groups on Slack).
When and where
We hope that all participating groups can launch the action during our collective 5-11 October week of action, but it's entirely up to you and your group. If you can spare a whole day to have the sign up and chat to passersby then that would be great, but whatever time you can spare will make a difference.
Erect the signpost and run your action somewhere central to your community – near a town hall, a central square, outside a shopping centre or close to your MP's office. Wherever it is, make sure it’s somewhere lots of people will be passing by.
Do consider whether there are any restrictions on the place you chose. Check you don’t need to get permission from the council or another body to put up your signpost. You’ll likely need to stay with it while it’s up, just in case you're asked to move along. And make sure you’re not blocking any accessibility to buildings or pathways.
Support and resources
You can request funds to help buy kit to make the signpost and to print any leaflets or templates you might need, just make sure to select "autumn mobilisation fund" option when you apply. Please only request funds once you’ve decided as a group that you’re definitely doing the action.
The leaflets are useful to help kick start conversations and can help what you mean by a green and fair recovery plan. They include a blank space for you to write the name and contact details of your group and the date of your next meeting. This should help make sure that those interested can get involved.
It might be useful in the meantime to familiarise yourself with the article "10 people who’d benefit from a green and fair recovery", so you can start to relate the recovery to the people in your community.
Reach as many people as possible
Think about how you can get the most out of the day and ensure as many people as possible see what you're doing.
- Make a banner. This is a useful way of getting the central message across. Our friends over at 350.org have a handy guide to making a banner.
- Invite your MP to join you. Perhaps they’re onside and are game to join you. If not, the invitation alone will help to get the message across.
- Take photos and videos. These will be great for using on social media and even to send to your local press.
- Encourage people to join your group. Make sure you chat to passersby about what you’re up to and use the leaflet to jot down your groups contact details and let them know when the next meeting is.
- Inform local media. We'll provide a template press release at the end of September for you to edit and send off to your local paper ahead of the action.
Nowadays if we want our action to have "reach" (eg, be seen by as many people as possible), we need to get it on social media straight away. Come up with a plan for how you’ll share what you’re doing. Who will post the great pictures you’ll take? What will the key messages be?
We'll be using the hashtag #takeclimateaction throughout the week, and encourage you to do the same.
One way to make sure your MP knows about this action is to take a great photo and tweet it at them. You could use this template:
Normal doesn't work! The people of <insert name of area> want a green & fair recovery, one that benefits all people & the planet.We're at a crossroads with an opportunity to combat climate chaos. Will you #TakeClimateAction & demand better from the chancellor, @<yourMPshandle>?
COVID-19: staying safe
COVID-19 guidelines change every week, with recent changes to guidelines in England prohibiting more than 6 people gathering (as of 14 September). The signpost action is designed so that lots of people can participate without needing to gather at one time – so this shouldn't affect the action itself. Please make sure that you don't have more than 6 people congregating at the sign at one time, and if lots of your group wants to take part then spread yourselves out across the day.
Make sure that whenever and wherever you carry out this action, you're adhering to national and local COVID-19 guidelines. This goes for any preparations, like building the signpost, as well as the action itself. Keep a safe distance from one another and wear a mask, even if outside. Make sure that hand sanitiser is available for people to take part in the action – especially when writing their own comments to add to the signpost.
Ensure you're familiar with and adhere to Friends of the Earth's advice on organising at this time, and be aware that local and regional lockdowns may prohibit some activities. You’ll need to complete a COVID-19 risk assessment ahead of any in-person activity and share it with your regional staff member or email it to email@example.com to ensure your group is covered by our insurance.
Planning the action
If you’re excited by this idea and want to get stuck in, then some next steps could include:
- Discuss options with your group
- Decide on location and date
- Work out how to build it – what materials do you need? We can support you with budget to buy things you might need.
- Assign roles – who's going to make sure you have the kit? Who will be the media whizz on the day? Who is going to get the word out and invite people down?
Share what you're doing
Let us know what you’re doing.
We’ll share a form shortly which will ask if you’re taking part and what support you’d like. But please make sure to post information about your plans and actions on Slack. Let other groups know, and use that platform to share tips, challenges and success stories. The more we can share, the more we can learn and be inspired by each other.
For anything else urgent you can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org