As women and children across the globe take the climate catastrophe into their own hands by striking for environmental justice, one mum has brought a family-focused fight against global warming to Jersey.
By inviting mothers to ‘rise up’ and families to pledge to work for a better future for their children, as well as inviting others to join them in their fight, Louisa Coxshall has been joined in protest by her two daughters as she calls upon the States to make commitments to protect the environment.
It is this green message that she carried as she led a march through town last month, arriving outside the States Chamber in the Royal Square to demand action from politicians.
With this focus, Louisa shared the five things she would prioritise if she could change the way our island works with Express...
On a small island where nowhere is really very far, most of us could walk or cycle more, to school or work. Jersey government and businesses could offer incentives to encourage more people to use bicycles or walk but this would mean developing more bicycle friendly infrastructure across the island to make this an easy and pleasant option.
Pictured: Louisa says incentives to travel greenly would get more people walking and cycling.
Along with this, we need a green and affordable mode of public transport accessible for all. This would decrease the amount of traffic on the roads at peak times and help make Jersey a safer and healthier place to live. We’d all benefit from having cleaner air to breathe and imagine how fit and healthy we could be from active travel!
I would love to see more children and young people playing out within the communities in which they live and more green spaces replacing parking spaces within housing estates. A good place to start would be to regularly close streets or housing estates to cars for a couple of hours once a month to encourage children and young people to play out.
Pictured: "I would love to see more children and young people playing out within the communities."
Schemes like this in the UK have shown how getting kids outside on to car-free streets to play increases neighbourliness, breaks down barriers between people to help reduce isolation, and creates a kinder more tolerant, connected, localised and greener society.
Many families in Jersey do not have a garden and so turning unused spaces into community gardens would give more people access to a green space where they could share or grow their own food and flowers, as well as meet and connect with others.
More plants and trees would mean a greener and healthier environment. We could create community gardens in the streets of St. Helier, public parks, on roofs, walls and fences. Every parish could have their own garden to be used by the local community.
Pictured: "More plants and trees would mean a greener and healthier environment."
Gardens could be linked to or set up in schools, or Highlands College, which could then provide opportunities for education and learning about growing food as well as climate change issues. There are lots of unused greenhouses all over the island, what about restoring these for the community too?
4. Waste not, want not
We really need to become much more responsible for the amount of waste that we produce, on an individual level, an island wide level as well as globally. Already lots of people in the island are moving towards zero waste in their own households and, whilst there are shops like Mini Mall and SCOOP to help support this, we need bigger businesses and industries to take their share of responsibility towards this, so that as consumers we can make affordable and better choices.
Pictured: SCOOP is a new, sustainable way of shopping.
We need government to implement policies which will support the movement towards zero-waste and this could start with a ban on single use plastics for example. When it comes to needing or wanting new stuff all of us could consider where possible recycling, reusing, and repairing.
All of the above is only really possible if as an island we actually take the climate change emergency seriously. We may be a small island but we have a lot of influence on a global scale. We need our government to lead the way by actively demonstrating that they are taking climate change seriously, particularly around how public money is invested globally and the island’s target to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Pictured: Deputy Rob Ward was recently successful in getting States Members to vote in favour of declaring a 'climate change emergency'.
Government needs to invest resources in educating, engaging and supporting the island community to help make realistic and achievable changes in order to move towards a more sustainable and greener way of life.
I’m not an expert but one thing is certain, and that is we need to rethink our lifestyle choices. This may be an uncomfortable thought for some but then so is the prospect of growing up into a future where your very survival is seriously at risk because of the impact of climate change.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Bailiwick Express.
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