Show off your #GreenHeart for Earth Day 2020

How to make a stained glass heart

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We’ll be displaying green hearts in our windows next to our key worker rainbows to show that we want a cleaner, greener future. You can join in with a simple heart cut out of green paper, or get more creative. We’ll be sharing some ideas for crafts in this blog, as well as other resources for families to get involved in campaigning from home this week.

30 minute+ activity, suitable for anyone able to safely wield scissors

You will need:

  • Card
  • Pencil
  • Green tissue or crepe paper in several shades
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Glue stick or other craft glue

Step 1

Fold your card in half and cut a half-heart shape.

Step 2

Open out your heart shape and draw a smaller heart a few centimetres inside it.

Step 3

Create your design. Draw sets of parallel lines at random inside the heart.

Top Tip: use a pencil so that you can rub out and make changes as you go, or download our template.

Step 4

Use sharp scissors or a craft knife to cut out your design.

Step 5

Cut sections of tissue paper to fit inside each of the holes you have created and glue them down.

Turn your heart over and admire your handiwork!

Let the light shine through your finished heart.

Don’t forget to add the #HopefulHeart and #EarthDay2020 hashtags and upload a photo of your artwork to twitter. Tag us in @PrestonAction.

Little #GreenHeart ideas for Earth Day 2020

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We’ll be displaying green hearts in our windows next to our key worker rainbows to show that we want a cleaner, greener future. You can join in with a simple heart cut out of green paper, or get more creative. We’ll be sharing some ideas for crafts in this blog, as well as other resources for families to get involved in campaigning from home this week.

How to make spotty hearts with younger children

(ages 1-5)

1) Fingerprint Heart

Using different shades of green paint or ink, add lots of fingerprints to your heart shape. Lovely messy fun!

Top Tip: have a clean damp cloth ready to wipe little green fingers or you’ll have spotty green sofas too!

2) Cotton bud heart

Dip a cotton bud into green paint. Cover your heart shape in dotty spotty splodges!

3) Sparkly heart

Use some craft glue to stick lots of green sequins to your heart shape and make your window twinkle.

4) Bubble wrap heart

Paint an old bit of bubble wrap green. While the paint is still wet, press it gently onto your paper. Now cut out a lovely bubbly heart.

5) Hole punch heart

Use a hole punch to make lots of little circles using scraps of green paper. Glue them onto your whole holey-heart.

Pop your creations in your windows, take a photo and upload it to social media. Use the hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #GreenHeart. Don’t forget to tag us @PrestonAction and the Climate Coalition @TheCCoalition.

Do you have a #GreenHeart? Earth Day 2020

How to make a felt heart

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We’ll be displaying green hearts in our windows next to our key worker rainbows to show that we want a cleaner, greener future. You can join in with a simple heart cut out of green paper, or get more creative. We’ll be sharing some ideas for crafts in this blog, as well as other resources for families to get involved in campaigning from home this week.

30 minute+ activity, suitable for ages 10 and up

You will need:

  • Green felt
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Ribbon
  • Beads, buttons, sequins or other decorative materials

Step 1

Use your felt to cut out a small green heart.

Step 2

Using a needle and thread, attach something exciting to the bottom of your heart. We used part of an old broken necklace. You could use a chunky bead or button.

Step 3

Cut a second, larger heart out of felt. We used a different shade of green for interest. The more hearts you cut out, the longer your decoration will be.

Step 4

Use your needle and thread to attach a loop of ribbon to the large heart.

Step 5

Decorate your hearts. We added little green beads to make a sparkly boarder for the larger heart and two chunky beads onto the smaller heart. If you’re not confident with a needle, you could stick on sequins with any craft glue.

Step 6

Sew your hearts together, leaving a long piece of thread between so that they dangle when you hang them in your window.

Don’t forget to add the #HopefulHeart and #EarthDay2020 hashtags and upload a photo of your artwork to twitter. Tag us in @PrestonAction.

Planet Earth, Be My Valentine

Dear Humankind,

Happy Valentine’s Day

Love, Planet Earth

What will you get this Valentine’s Day? Flowers? Chocolates? Perhaps you’ll be able to spend time with someone close to you. A romantic sunset meal or stroll through a beautiful park?

Maybe you are one of many who feel resentful about all the “love in the air” on February the 14th. Perhaps you celebrate ‘Galentine’s Day’ instead by spending time with the galls. Or the men’s equivalent: ‘Malentine’s Day’… is this getting a little out of hand?

Here at Climate Action Preston we’d like to suggest an alternative. By all means share the love with your nearest and dearest (although we think it’s important to do this every day of the year), but perhaps this year you could consider where all those romantic gifts and experiences we mentioned actually come from. Those flowers? The ingredients for that box of chocolates? The sunset? The park? Mother Nature is responsible for all of it.

The planet shows us a lot of love. Unfortunately, it’s a bit unrequited. How often do we stop to consider what nature provides for us? And how often do we stop to consider what we should be giving back to nature?

Humankind has been exploiting Planet Earth. Our species have been the abusive and neglectful partner. This doesn’t apply across the board, some humans have made it their goal to love and celebrate our wonderful planet and some humans haven’t the means to make much of a difference either way. But some humans, the ones with vast wealth and influence, have caused unimaginable harm.

Now we’re facing the consequences. Flooding, fires, droughts, rising seas, deadly air, animals disappearing forever… Our planet is trying to tell us something. She’s doing her best to support us, provide for us and fill our home with beauty but she’s beginning to struggle. Soon global temperatures will have risen to the point where the crops we grow for food can’t survive. And that’s just one of the likely consequences of climate change.

So here’s our proposal for this Valentine’s Day. Ditch the consumerism. Instead:

  1. Take a moment to really look at what the planet has given you. Take the time to appreciate the natural world all around you today and feel the love.
  2. Consider what you could do to reciprocate. Write to your MP to ask how they are tackling climate change, sign a petition, do a bit of your own research on the issues. Have a go at taking the bus, cooking a vegetarian meal or look into switching to a renewable energy provider for your home. There’s even a Climate Strike event on Valentine’s Day which anyone can come to. There’s so much you can do to love the planet you call home. Just pick one thing to get started.
  3. Get in touch and tell us what you did to love the planet. You can tweet your love story and tag us @PrestonAction, comment on this blog post or email us at climateactionpreston@gmail.com to share how you showed you care.

We’re really looking forward to hearing your stories.

With love,

Climate Action Preston, on behalf of Planet Earth

Climate Wars: The Rise of Thunberg

Star Wars fan? Read on, but beware of spoilers for the new movie.

I saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in the cinema last week. I’m not sure how environmentally friendly cinemas are compared to matching films at home (probably not very), but it was a rare treat and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Not long into the film I found myself thinking, “This is a direct metaphor for the fight against climate change.”

Let me explain.

The First Order/Empire is secretly building a ginormous fleet of star ships, each with the power to destroy an entire planet. They have masses of power, wealth and resources which they’ve gained through exploitation and general evilness. There is a small but committed band of rag-tag rebels who oppose the First Order, despite the insurmountable nature of this terrifying enemy.

Towards the end of the film, the rebels take their tiny fleet of ships, follow Jedi warrior Rey and go to engage the huge First Order fleet in battle. It’s a desperate last stand and they are almost certain to fail, but they do it because it’s right. They also send out the Millennium Falcon to try and round up any other people to come and help them.

It’s looking grim. No one has come. They’re losing hope. Everyone is going to die. Then, at the last moment (of course) hundreds and thousands of ships appear in the sky, led by the Falcon. There’s an exchange between two of the First Order soldiers that goes:

General Pryde: Where did they get all these fighter crafts? They have no navy.
First Order Officer: It’s not a navy, sir. It’s just people.

A theme through the movie is how there are more ordinary people who care about what’s right than there are evil overlords. The ordinary people just need to work together, and have some hope, and they’ll succeed.

Poe Dameron: My friends, I’m sorry, I thought we had a shot. There’s just too many of them.
Lando Calrissian: But there are more of us, Poe. There are more of us.

And of course the rebels do succeed. Just like the Hobbits succeed against Sauron and the Districts succeed against the Capitol and Harry succeeds against Voldermort and the Pevency children succeed against the White Witch*. These inspiring figureheads unite the ordinary people to fight in the face of terrifying odds. These aren’t “just people” at all; they’re heroes.

Climate change is happening because we’re burning fossil fuels. Those who control big, wealthy, powerful fossil fuel companies are putting themselves above the future survival of our planet. They want to keep their money and power. Our whole economy is built on burning fossil fuels and exploiting those in the developing world. But there are more of us, individuals who care, than there are of them, CEOs and world leaders who don’t.

As long as we band together and stay hopeful, we can win.

We don’t even need to pick up a lightsaber/sword/bow and arrow/wand to fight this war. We can fight with our social media accounts, our lifestyle choices, our spending power, our conversations, protests, strikes, petitions. We can fight by planting trees, cycling instead of driving, cutting down on meat, writing to our MPs, telling everyone else about climate change and investing our money differently…

And we can win.

The enemy might seem insurmountable, but there are more of us. And each of us is a hero.

Plus, role over Rey Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi: we have Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough.


*I’m referencing The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point (and it’s not just that I’m a nerd…).

All images taken from Google.

Preston’s Climate Emergency

In April 2019 Preston City Council declared a climate emergency. Over 200 other councils have done the same. Why? Because experts reckon we have about 11 years to turn climate change around if we’re to avoid meeting tipping points which will inevitably result in extreme weather changes. As the Preston Climate Emergency Motion states:

Children in Preston will be in their teens and twenties in 11 years’ time. They deserve a liveable Preston. We must act now to ensure this.

You can read the full Motion from Preston here.

Councils who are declaring climate emergencies are committing to make their activities net-zero carbon by 2030. This means any carbon emissions will have to be completely balanced out by carbon removal.

The UK as a whole has a target of net-zero carbon by 2050, but experts say this will be much too late.

The Motion is ambitious in its aims, as it needs to be, but it recognises that Preston will need significant financial resources in order to achieve these aims and this money will need to come from central government.

Friends of the Earth have a tool on their website which allows us to look at how well our local areas are doing in terms of tackling climate change. A summary of the results for Preston are as follows:

  • 5% of Preston is woodland. The highest proportion in similar areas is 19%. The UK should aim to double its tree cover.
  • 30% of commuter journeys in Preston are on public transport. Preston should aim for 70% by 2030.
  • 38% of Preston homes are well insulated. This needs to increase to 100% by 2030.
  • 30% of household waste is reused, composted or recycled. Preston should aim for 70% by 2025.
  • Preston has 14 megawatts of renewable energy available. 100% of Preston’s energy should be green.

And here’s a summary of the targets for Preston from Friends of the Earth:

  • Cease supporting or promoting new high carbon infrastructure, such as roads or airports
  • Annual emissions reductions – 13%
  • Homes to insulate per year – 3,356
  • Number of eco-heating systems, such as heat pumps, to fit each year – 1,996
  • Proportion of commuters walking, cycling or using public transport by 2030 – 70%
  • Increase lift-sharing – major employers should aim to have 40% of their staff who travel to work by car doing so by lift-sharing
  • Electric vehicle charging stations by 2030 – at least 58 stations
  • Renewable energy – at least 105MW
  • Trees – Aim for 20% tree cover
  • Household waste reuse, recycling and composting by 2025 – 70% (on path to reach zero waste as soon as possible)
  • Divestment – zero investment in fossil fuel companies as soon as possible.

If Preston is going to achieve all of this then we all need to be on board and support our City Council to make climate change a priority. They need to take the word ’emergency’ seriously and start directing funds towards this right now.

At Climate Action Preston, one of the things we can do to help is try to get our Council to adopt the Friends of the Earth Climate Action Plan. This is a 50 point plan which sets specific targets for what councils need to do in order to reach the 2030 net zero goal. The idea is not for Preston City Council to adopt it exactly as is, but to consider which actions are relevant to the city and which need altering or adding to for us.

So what can you do? Take a look at the plan and pick you top action. Which action would you most like to see Preston City Council tackle as an urgent priority? Why is this particular action important to you? What positive changes do you envisage if the council adopt that action? Let us know what you think and we can take your ideas to the council. Get in touch by commenting or email us at climateactionpreston@gmail.com.

You can also email your Councillor directly about the issue of climate change. Find your local Councillor here. Or email Robert Boswell, who is the Cabinet Member for the Environment: cllr.r.boswell@preston.giv.uk. Let us know if you get a response!

The Climate Election, Post 5 of 5: Brexit Party

The Brexit Party have chosen not to release a manifesto. Their website has a policies section but climate change is not mentioned even in passing. In fact, a search of their website reveals the word “climate” only comes up once in a brief paragraph about one of their MEPs.

The only things relevant to climate change that I could find were under their investment policy section:

The Brexit Party is developing policies in a number of areas that can only be implemented via a Clean-Break Brexit: investing in and supporting key public services, protecting the environment and growing recycling initiatives, and other targeted investments in fishing and strategic industries.

Invest in Fishing and Coastal Communities: with a Clean-Break Brexit we recover full control of our waters, a huge opportunity to regenerate our coastal communities with new investment, jobs and tourism. The Boris EU treaty does NOT return control of our territorial waters.

Invest in the Environment and Recycling: we need to plant tens of millions of trees and ensure we recycle our waste in this country and not export it across the world to be burnt.

profile photo of Rob Sherratt
Rob Sherratt is the Brexit Party candidate for Preston

So what would a vote for The Brexit Party look like in Preston? Well Preston is a “safe Labour seat” so it’s very unlikely that The Brexit Party will overtake them, but votes for any party are still counted and added to statistics at both the local and national level. So a vote for The Brexit Party would send a message to whoever is elected that you support Brexit Party policies.

Please Note

Climate Action Preston is an apolitical group. We don’t favour any one political party over another. That’s why I’ll be looking in the same way at all the available manifestos of the parties represented by Preston candidates over the next couple of weeks. I’m not going to tell you how to vote because that has to be an individual decision, but please consider the climate when you do vote. That could mean deciding on your candidate, and then emailing/tweeting them to say something like this:

“I think I want to vote for you on the 12th December, but first I want to know what you intend to do about climate change if you are elected to represent me.”

If you do tweet, we’d love to be tagged: @PrestonAction #PrestonClimateElection

The Climate Election, Post 4 of 5: Conservatives

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Here is the Conservative manifesto.

On an introductory page, there is a list of Boris Johnson’s ‘guarantees’ which includes:

Reaching Net Zero by 2050 with investment in clean energy solutions and green infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and pollution.

Half of page 45 mentions reducing waste and planting trees under the heading “Stewards of our environment”.

The manifesto is 64 pages long. 1 page (page 57) is devoted specifically to climate change policy. Included are points about reducing plastic pollution, deforestation, electric vehicle infrastructure, clean energy, jobs in clean growth and making buildings more energy efficient. There’s not really enough space on that one page to say much about how they intend to see these things through though, other than that they will spend a lot of money.

Michele Scott is the Conservative candidate for Preston, but whocanivotefor.co.uk doesn’t have her picture, which is where I’ve found photos of the other candidates.

So what would a vote for the Conservatives look like in Preston? Well Preston is a “safe Labour seat” so it’s unlikely that the Conservatives will knock Labour out of the top spot, but a vote for the Conservatives will still be counted and added to local and national statistics, sending a message to whoever does gain power that you support Conservative policies.

Please Note

Climate Action Preston is an apolitical group. We don’t favour any one political party over another. That’s why I’ll be looking in the same way at all the available manifestos of the parties represented by Preston candidates over the next couple of weeks. I’m not going to tell you how to vote because that has to be an individual decision, but please consider the climate when you do vote. That could mean deciding on your candidate, and then emailing/tweeting them to say something like this:

“I think I want to vote for you on the 12th December, but first I want to know what you intend to do about climate change if you are elected to represent me.”

If you do tweet, we’d love to be tagged: @PrestonAction #PrestonClimateElection



The Climate Election, Post 3 of 5: Lib Dems

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Here’s the Liberal Democrat manifesto.

Their introduction includes the following paragraphs about climate change:

A Liberal Democrat government will take urgent action to save our planet. We are the last generation that can stop irreversible climate change. We’ve already seen how foods and wildfires are becoming an ever more regular occurrence in our country. And, though we should be proud to be the first country to declare a climate emergency, we cannot ignore the fact that the government has done little else since then. In the meantime, it’s been young people who have consistently put the climate crisis back on the agenda with their inspirational climate strikes.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a radical, credible and detailed plan to tackle the climate emergency as soon as possible. We will deliver a ten-year emergency programme to cut greenhouse gas emissions substantially straightaway and phase out emissions from the remaining hard-to-treat sectors by 2045 at the latest. By 2030 we will generate 80 per cent of our electricity from renewables and 8 Liberal Democrat Election Manifesto 2019 cut energy bills and emissions by insulating homes, prioritising bringing 3.5 million households out of fuel poverty by 2025.

They have a 10-page section on climate change policy (their manifesto is 100 pages in total). Here’s their list of top priorities:

Our first priorities in the next parliament will be:

● An emergency programme to insulate all Britain’s homes by 2030, cutting emissions and fuel bills and ending fuel poverty.

● Investing in renewable power so that at least 80 per cent of UK electricity is generated from renewables by 2030 – and banning fracking for good.

● Protecting nature and the countryside, tackling biodiversity loss and planting 60 million trees a year to absorb carbon, protect wildlife and improve health.

● Investing in public transport, electrifying Britain’s railways and ensuring that all new cars are electric by 2030.

profile photo of Neil Darby
Neil Darby is the Lib Dem candidate for Preston

So what will a vote for the Lib Dems mean in Preston? Well Preston is a “safe Labour seat” meaning that based on the general election in 2017 it’s very unlikely that the Liberal Democrats will overtake Labour and win the vote. However, a vote for a party like the Lib Dems is still counted and added to both local and national statistic. It sends a message to whoever does end up in power that there is support for Lib Dem policy.

Please Note

Climate Action Preston is an apolitical group. We don’t favour any one political party over another. That’s why I’ll be looking in the same way at all the available manifestos of the parties represented by Preston candidates over the next couple of weeks. I’m not going to tell you how to vote because that has to be an individual decision, but please consider the climate when you do vote. That could mean deciding on your candidate, and then emailing/tweeting them to say something like this:

“I think I want to vote for you on the 12th December, but first I want to know what you intend to do about climate change if you are elected to represent me.”

If you do tweet, we’d love to be tagged: @PrestonAction #PrestonClimateElection

P.S. Neil Darby for the Lib Dems has been the only candidate so far to sign up to the Friends of the Earth Climate Action Pledge on Twitter.

The Climate Election, Post 2 of 5: Labour

Here’s Labour’s 2019 manifesto.

The Foreword mentions that this is a “climate election” among other things, and goes on to state:

We will kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution to tackle the climate emergency by shifting to renewable energy, investing in rail and electric cars, and making housing energy efficient, to reduce fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.

We will create a million climate jobs in every region and nation of the UK – good, skilled jobs that will bring prosperity back to parts of our country neglected for too long.

The manifesto then has 14 pages-worth of information about how they will tackle climate change related issues (it’s 107 pages long in total). I’ve taken the headings and introductory paragraph from each section, but please read the full yourself if you think you’d like to vote for them.

Economy and Energy: This election is about the crisis of living standards and the climate and environmental emergency. Whether we are ready or not, we stand on the brink of unstoppable change.

Sub headings for this section are:

  • Investment
  • Levelling up across the country
  • Energy
  • Ownership
  • Industry and innovation
  • Skills

Transport: Labour will build a sustainable, affordable, accessible and integrated transport system, founded on the principle that transport is an essential public service

Environment: A Labour government’s Green Industrial Revolution is complemented by our Plan for Nature. Our commitments to ecosystem repair and environmental protections work hand in hand with sustainable jobs and industries, and social justice.

Sub headings:

  • A healthy environment
  • Nature restoration
  • Land
  • Food
  • Waste and recycling
profile photo of Mark Hendrick
Sir Mark Hendrick: Preston candidate for Labour (and current MP)

So what would a vote for Labour look like in Preston? Well Preston is a “safe Labour seat”. Labour got 24,210 votes in the 2017 general election. The next most popular party was the Conservatives with 8,487 votes. It’s highly unlikely that the numbers will change enough to knock Labour out of the top spot. A vote for Labour in Preston increases Mark Hendrick’s mandate and provides evidence of his strong public support.

Please Note

Climate Action Preston is an apolitical group. We don’t favour any one political party over another. That’s why I’ll be looking in the same way at all the available manifestos of the parties represented by Preston candidates over the next couple of weeks. I’m not going to tell you how to vote because that has to be an individual decision, but please consider the climate when you do vote. That could mean deciding on your candidate, and then emailing/tweeting them to say something like this:

“I think I want to vote for you on the 12th December, but first I want to know what you intend to do about climate change if you are elected to represent me.”

If you do tweet, we’d love to be tagged: @PrestonAction #PrestonClimateElection