#PostcardFromCOP – A personal view from the Glasgow COP26 Climate Conference


Throughout COP26, one of the Sustainable St Albans trustees has been in Glasgow with work. Each day, she shared a #PostcardFromCOP with us on Twitter. Together, they give a personal perspective on the atmosphere in Glasgow and what an ordinary person – not a world leader or negotiator – makes of their first ever climate conference. 


Still wondering what COP is and why it matters? If you think a picture speaks 1000 words, have a look at this great infographic which explains COP26 and what rides on it.


October 31st

Step 1, getting the train north towards COP26, very slowly due to trees on the power lines; perhaps a sign of increasingly common extreme weather?

Train to COP26
Train to COP26 Photo: Sustainable St Albans

November 1st 

#PostcardFromCOP Glasgow is fully prepared and covered in COP26 signage. The whole Scottish Power building has been decked in the @warmingstripes (not a great photo, I know, but there’s an understandably big police presence, and they came to ask why I was taking photos).

Glasgow COP26
Photos: Sustainable St Albans

Just seen an XR funeral march go past, in the middle of the bustling shopping centre Buchanan Street. Incongruous. #PostcardFromCOP

XR Funeral March Glasgow COP26
XR Funeral March Glasgow COP26 Photo: Sustainable St Albans

November 2nd

1/ #PostcardFromCOP today is a thread about fringe events, and why they are so important. Of course, most of the attention is on the world leaders and the negotiators, in the Blue Zone of COP.  But, across the city, there are hundreds of fringe events.

2/ Want to see what I mean? Choose a day and have a look (don’t forget to keep clicking ‘show more events’ to unscroll everything on the day you’ve picked:

3/ These are events run by civil society, for civil society. They are places for charities and NGOs to meet & mingle, raise issues, make plans, and call for action.  Remember most of us haven’t been able to be in a room together for 18 months, and many are in foreign countries.

4/ All importantly, they are a place for voices to be heard which are normally silenced.  Indigenous people, people from the global south, young people, faith groups, poverty campaigners. Voices of the people hardest hit by climate change and issues of climate justice.

5/ Here is just one example, from tonight.  A collaborative event from @Tearfund @YCCN @CAFOD @christianaid @Greenanglicans @InterfaithScot @sciaf and more, hosted in the beautiful @sgt_church. They were presenting over 150,000 actions which people in their groups had taken.

COP26 Fringe Event
COP26 Fringe Event. Photo: Sustainable St Albans

6/ The representatives were from the Philippines, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Nigeria, Ireland, Scotland. They have collectively gathered petitions, walked across countries, prayed, and gathered people behind significant declarations.

They said, “We share this one, tiny, fragile, interrelated planet”.

7/ Each in turn they said, “We call on the leaders of the world to take urgent action, we demand climate justice for all, and care about the earth we all depend on.”  They called for fair climate finance. They said, “We share this one, tiny, fragile, interrelated planet”.

8/ The youth relay from @YCCNetwork had carried the sails of this boat all the way from the G7 in Cornwall to COP26 in Glasgow. It says “rise to the moment”.  It symbolises that we are all in the same storm but not in the same boat.

YCC Network COP26 Sail
YCC Network COP26 Sail. Photo: Sustainable St Albans

9/ The challenge is getting these amazing voices *heard*. These amazing fringe events aren’t in the Green Zone, let alone the Blue Zone. What can we each do to amplify them?

10/10 Can we write to our MPs and call for climate justice? Can we fundraise for advocacy? Can we share their stories? Can we reach out in our own communities to voiceless groups, and ask how we can amplify them? Tonight, a very long #PostcardFromCOP; thanks for sticking with me.

November 3rd

#PostcardFromCOP There are 3 different, linked things going on at COP. Fringe events (see yesterday), the Blue Zone (= world leaders + negotiators, it’s what you see on TV) & the Green Zone (= a big busy expo with stands, panels & talks, open to the public if you booked quickly).

Blue Zone and Green Zone at COP26
Blue Zone and Green Zone at COP26 Photo: Sustainable St Albans

November 4th

#PostcardFromCOP Out and about in Glasgow; this one speaks for itself.

COP26
COP26. Photo: Sustainable St Albans

November 5th – the day of the Youth Climate Strike

1/ #PostcardFromCOP Right here, right now, there are thousands of young people, and parents, and grand parents marching through central Glasgow. “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now!” #FridaysForFuture

Video from COP26 Glasgow Youth Climate Strike. Click to see video on Twitter.

2/ It’s hard to get across the scale.  It’s going right down the hill, and then snaking back as far as the eye can see.

COP26 Glasgow Youth Climate Strike
COP26 Glasgow Youth Climate Strike. Photos: Sustainable St Albans

“It’s hard to get across the scale.”

3/ I hope she’s right.

"It's not too late to change" at COP26 Glasgow Youth Climate Strike
“It’s not too late to change” at COP26 Glasgow Youth Climate Strike. Photo: Sustainable St Albans.

4/ She definitely is.

"Stop promising, start doing" at COP26 Glasgow Youth Climate Strike.
“Stop promising, start doing” at COP26 Glasgow Youth Climate Strike. Photo: Sustainable St Albans

November 6th 

This was the day of the mass mobilisation, when there were 200 rallies around the world, including 500 people gathered here in St Albans and 100,000+ in Glasgow.

#PostcardFromCOP People are gathering and starting to march. This is one block of many, walking by. It’s going to be big. (Despite the Glasgow rain.)

Video from COP26 Glasgow rally. Click to see video on Twitter.
Video from COP26 Glasgow rally. Click to see video on Twitter.

What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now. #PostcardFromCOP

Video from COP26 Glasgow rally.
Video from COP26 Glasgow rally. Click to see video on Twitter.

#PostcardFromCOP In the middle of just one of the blocks, walking through Glasgow. The noise is amazing, bouncing off the walls.

COP26 Glasgow rally
COP26 Glasgow rally. Photos: Sustainable St Albans

#PostcardFromCOP Nearly 4pm, and still marching ….. One incident we’ve heard of involving the police, otherwise all peaceful.

November 7th

#PostcardFromCOP  Everyone with Blue Zone clearance (negotiators & official observers, not me!) gets free travel on public transport, a real advantage given accommodation shortages means a lot of people are staying in outlying towns & in Edinburgh. Nice bit of joined-up thinking.

COP26 public transport
COP26 public transport. Photo: Sustainable St Albans

November 8th

#PostcardFromCOP Audible gasp today from the audience at the Green Zone event I attended, when told that if the fossil fuel lobby were a country delegation, it would be the largest at COP with 503 delegates. Very, very sobering.

If the fossil fuel lobby were a country delegation, it would be the largest at COP with 503 delegates. Very, very sobering.”

November 9th

#PostcardFromCOP Greenwashing, or really green? It’s so hard to tell. Businesses have stands in the Green Zone pushing their eco-credentials and there are adverts all around town. Just wish the charities, NGOs and campaign groups had access to the same kind of marketing budgets.

Green marketing
Green marketing. Photos: Sustainable St Albans

November 10th

#PostcardFromCOP (Some) hope is in the air. Keep your fingers firmly crossed.

November 11th

#PostcardFromCOP Moving today that the bustling Green Zone fell silent at 11am for the Remembrance Day silence.

November 12th

1/ A final #PostcardFromCOP thread from the train home. The ultimate question, “has it been a success?”. And the answer, I’m afraid is, “we don’t know quite yet”.  The official end time is today, but COPs, like babies, often go 2-3 days over their due date.

2/ Hard as it is to imagine (& stop to think what this means for the caterers, and the police) is that it might end today, tomorrow or Sunday. I’m told it is a *good* sign if it runs long. Extra time means there is something meaningful to discuss, that they are trying to land.

3/ Meantime, people are scouring the draft text and coming to views about how good it is. Some are seeing it as a glass half full:

  • progress on many fronts
  • gap between Paris and 1.5 somewhat closed
  • loss and damage mentioned
  • commitment to adaptation as well as mitigation.

4/ Some are half glass empty or worse:

  • gap between Paris and 1.5 is still big 
  • too little focus on the impacts of climate change
  • insufficient finance for adaptation
  • lack of funding mechanism for loss and damage
  • lack of debt relief for the most vulnerable countries.

5/ One key point is whether the government can agree to coming back with increased “NDCs” (commitments) sooner than the planned 5 years. The most affected are calling for 1 year.  Perhaps there will be a compromise.

6/ Meantime, what does it all mean for a group like us? From what I’ve seen this fortnight, we are one part of a massive patchwork quilt of charities, cities, universities, businesses, faith groups, & national governments, working with passion & commitment to solve this problem.

7/ One standout quote from the week is from the transition networks own @robintransition “If we wait for governments to act, it will be too late, and if we only act as individuals, it will be too little, but if communities act it might just be enough.”

“If we wait for governments to act, it will be too late, and if we only act as individuals, it will be too little, but if communities act it might just be enough.”

@robintransition

8/ I take enormous comfort and motivation from seeing the collective effort.  It’s helped me see SSA as one piece in this giant climate action jigsaw; we can slot in our piece, and work with others to help them slot in theirs.

9/ And I take enormous comfort and motivation from seeing 100,000 people turn out in the November rain to call for climate justice.  What if each of those people has instead stayed home and said, “What’s the point of me going? What difference will one person make?”.

10 of 10/ I’ll leave the last word to the remarkable young climate activist Vanessa Nakate, “your actions matter, no action is too small to make a difference, no voice is too small to make a difference”.

What next after COP26? What can normal people do?

“We are one part of a massive patchwork quilt of charities, cities, universities, businesses, faith groups, & national governments, working with passion & commitment to solve this problem.”

If you’ve been feeling motivated by COP to do more, here are some ideas:

  1. Talk about the climate issues more with your friends, family, colleagues.  Normalise it.  Not sure how?  Help is at hand. 
  2. Take a step yourself.  You know what’s achievable in your life.  Need to know how? Help is at hand.  
  3. Join forces with a local group; there is power in numbers. Not sure who or how? There is a list here, and – of course – we’d love to hear from you.

Join in with #CountdownToCOP today

Join in with #CountdownToCOP. Environmental groups of St Albans District have come together to set up the St Albans Climate Action Network who are hosting their own special St Albans District Count Us In page. Simply visit the page, explore the 16 steps and pledge to take one step by choosing “Take a Step”. When you register, tick that you are part of the “St Albans Climate Network” to have your step counted on the St Albans page.

You can track the carbon impact of your own actions. As more people join, we will all see our cumulative efforts across St Albans, Harpenden and the villages. 

We’re in! – are you? Local residents Emily, Lizzie, Alastair, Kate, Caroline and Catherine are all taking action.

Pick one step. Learn about it. Do it (with our help).

Momentum towards the COP26 climate talks is building. It’s in the papers, on the news, on social media. Yet that focus shouldn’t only be on Glasgow; it needs action at all levels. We can also turn the spotlight on ourselves and ask “What action will I take during COP26? How will I raise my voice?”. Well, here’s an easy place to start. Simply pick one of the 16 climate actions below that interests you. Get inspired by our blog, get informed by our resources page, and then commit to take that step with Count Us In. Do one thing more, during COP26, and be part of a movement of change.


Over 16 weeks, we have run our #CountdowntoCOP campaign, encouraging people to sign up for one or more of the 16 Count Us In steps.  We have had a guest blog each week since July during the countdown to the UK-hosted COP, focusing on one of these 16 steps. The blogs are backed-up by detailed resources pages, to help you get started.

In this wrap-up, we lay out all the 16 blogs and resources pages in one place.

Our call to action is for you to pick one climate action below, let us help you get informed, and then take that step with Count Us In.


As a small, local environmental charity, Sustainable St Albans has always had some key principles at its heart. We are ordinary people like you. We care about the amazing district of St Albans. By finding positive ways to act, we want to empower local people to take a step to live more sustainably.

16 blogs by extraordinary ordinary local people

Over the last 16 weeks, some truly extraordinary ordinary St Albans District people have told us their own inspirational stories, shared with us their passions and taken time to tell other residents like you their secrets to success. Each has taken one of the 16 Count Us In steps and shared their knowledge so that the rest of us can positively act to live more sustainably in one area of our lives.

“St Albans District people have told us their own inspirational stories.”

Meet our Count Us in bloggers

The great thing about the 16 Count Us In steps is that there is something for everyone. You just start with one step.

Food and Fashion

If you love your food, take inspiration from Becky about Eating More Plants, from Juliet about Eating More Seasonally or from Caroline about Reducing Food Waste. How about fashion? There’s Emily’s look at Wearing Clothes to Last. Plus, Philip’s Repair and Re-Use blog is also great on thinking about what we already have before we buy new.

Fly less, Drive Electric, Walk & Cycle More

Susheel gives practical ideas for those wondering about how to cut down on short journey car use with her Walk and Cycle More blog. For medium and long journeys, try Shaun’s Drive Electric blog. Planning a holiday? – read James’ idea for a plane-free holiday in Fly Less.

Repaire Fair in St Albans

Home Energy

On the home front, energy use is top of the agenda. Don’t miss Judith’s blog about how she Insulated her Home – a Victorian end-of-terrace, no less. Ian has great advice about how to use less heating in Dial It Down. In a second blog, he gives easy steps to help you Switch Your Energy provider. Plus, Will tells his real life experience of having solar panels installed in Get Some Solar.

Money and Speaking Up

An area of our lives many of us have yet to tackle is Greening Our Money. Simon’s blog is eye-opening on that subject.

Finally, we must not forget the impact that we can all have by talking about climate action with other people. Each person we influence expands the ever-growing population of people who are making changes. Catherine’s blog about Talking to Friends introduces Climate Conversations as a framework. Dan encourages us to Speak up at Work. 18 year old Jess’s blog on Tell Your Politicians turns a daunting prospect into an achievable and necessary step.

“Each person we influence expands the ever-growing population of people who are making changes.”

And meet some people who have taken their first step

It’s great to be hearing from those have already been inspired by our #CountdowntoCOP campaign. Meet three people who have signed up to take a step on the special St Albans District Count Us In page.

Isobel is Eating More Plants

Fleetville resident, Isobel, says: “I pledged through ‘Count Us In‘ to reduce the number of meals I eat containing meat. I enjoyed being creative in the kitchen, using tofu and soya mince. I was pleased that I managed to convince the kids to try some new dishes, some of which they were impressed with. Meat-free meals will continue to be on the menu some nights, and when we do buy meat we will go for locally produced and high welfare standards.

Read Becky’s blog “Quick and Easy ways to Eat More Plants” so you can take the Eat More Plants step like Isobel.

 Banh Mi from Taste of Vietnam. Photo: Taste of Vietnam

Lizzie is Wearing Clothes to Last

Lizzie, also from St Albans says: “I pledged to buy only second hand clothes for two months. I often go to the charity shop but it’s a bit hit or miss. This time I decided to look on Facebook market place as I wanted a new warm jumper. I found one just round the corner from me and it’s become a new staple. I’ll definitely look there again in the future.

Read Emily’s blog “Easy Ways to Wear Clothes to Last” and pledge like Lizzie.

Linda is Driving Electric

Harpenden resident, Linda, says: “I pledged through Count Us In to try the step ‘Drive electric’.  We completed this step after a 2-month transition from running a diesel car each (blushes…), through sharing 1 car, to swapping that for an electric car.

The hardest part was overcoming range anxiety – after deciding which colour EV to buy, of course.  We tackled that by installing a charging point at home, powered by our own solar-generated electricity. We also found out where the neighbourhood ‘fast’ charging points are.

Looking back, the question to ourselves is – ‘Why didn’t we do this sooner?’

Read Shaun’s blog “The Road to My First EV: “Ill never own an electric car”” to help you take the Drive Electric pledge like Linda.

“Looking back, the question to ourselves is – “Why didn’t we do this sooner?”.

16 steps – just pick one

The 16 Count Us In steps are below. Pick one that interests you, read the blog, check out the resources and then click through to take that step on our own special St Albans District Count Us In page.

Remember when you register to tick to say you are part of the team “St Albans Climate Action Network”.

Which step will you pledge to take?

Talk to Friends

Read Catherine’s blog: 5 Good Reasons Not to Talk about Climate Change (and Why You Should Anyway)

Switch Your Energy

Cut Food Waste

Walk and Cycle More

Eat More Plants

Get Some Solar

Eat Seasonal

Drive Electric

Repair and Reuse

Dial It Down

Fly Less

Insulate Your Home

Wear Clothes to Last

Tell Your Politicians

Speak Up At Work

Green Your Money

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to each of our bloggers for their fantastic and inspirational writing.

We’re in! – are you? Local residents Emily, Lizzie, Alastair, Kate, Caroline and Catherine are all taking action.

Join in with #CountdownToCOP today

It’s easy to join in with #CountdownToCOP. Environmental groups of St Albans District have come together to set up the St Albans Climate Action Network who are hosting their own special St Albans District Count Us In page. Simply visit the page, explore the 16 steps and pledge to take one step by choosing “Take a Step”. When you register, tick that you are part of the “St Albans Climate Network” to have your step counted on the St Albans page.

You can track the carbon impact of your own actions. As more people join, we will all see our cumulative efforts across St Albans, Harpenden and the villages. 

How to green your money so it helps the planet

For most working adults, by far the most effective way of reducing your personal carbon footprint is to kick the carbon out of your cash. If you have a mortgage, or a pension, a savings account or even an insurance policy, you have put your money in someone else’s hands and they are doing something with it. That something could be helping the planet, or harming it.


This is Week 16 of our #CountdowntoCOP campaign, encouraging people to sign up for one or more of the 16 Count Us In steps.  We have had a guest blog each week since July during the countdown to the UK-hosted COP, focusing on one of these 16 steps.

In this blog, Simon Grover, Green Party District Councillor in St Albans District, discusses the various ways we can make our money work for the climate rather than against it.


How much difference can you make if you green your money? Well, one pension provider estimates the average UK worker’s pension finances 23 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. That’s on top of your personal footprint of 10-13 tonnes on average. Another pension provider estimates that moving your pension savings is 27 times more effective than giving up meat, flying and driving combined. 

Stop and reflect on those numbers for a minute.

“Another pension provider estimates that moving your pension savings is 27 times more effective than giving up meat, flying and driving combined.”

Of course, unlike avoiding the car, moving money around doesn’t usually stop emissions immediately. That coal mine you had invested in still produces coal if you sell your shares in it. But the more of us who move our money, the more is invested for good instead of not-so-good. And the more the finance industry is encouraged to do better things with our money.

A small note: as with all financial decisions, if it involves a lot of money, it’s a good idea to get some independent financial advice before doing anything.

Green your banking and saving

Your current and savings account money doesn’t just sit in a vault. Your bank uses your money to invest, to make money for itself (and perhaps a bit for you too). So what is it investing in? It’s not easy to find out, but you can switch to a bank that is rated highly for its ethical operations. There are lots of lists, including this one at New Money, which rates the following banks most highly; Triodos, Ecology Building Society, Nationwide, Co-op and Monzo. Switching bank accounts used to be impossibly difficult, but is now much easier and quicker. 

“Switching bank accounts […] is now much easier and quicker.”.

Green your pension

Your pension is probably your largest investment that you don’t even think about. What companies are your workplace or private pension savings invested in? There are likely to be some horrors in there. Not just coal mines and oil companies, but tobacco, arms and gambling too. Look at the Make My Money Matter campaign for ideas on finding out, and asking your employer to make sure their scheme is a good one. If you want, you can usually choose a more ‘ethical’ option in your employer’s scheme. If you have pension savings from a previous employer, you might move them to a greener provider. Have a look at Good With Money for ideas.

Photo by Jonny Caspari on Unsplash

“What companies are your [..] pension savings invested in?”

Green your mortgage

Although a mortgage is a loan to you, you pay interest on that, so you are significantly supporting your mortgage provider, which is a financial institution. Is your mortgage provider genuinely part of the low carbon transition? Or are they dragging their feet? The Ecology Building Society is well known as a ‘green’ business, even giving better deals to eco-friendly homes. But there are others too. For example, see this article at This Is Money

If you have installed energy efficiency measures in your home, or want to put the cost of doing so on your mortgage, you might be able to get a discounted ‘green’ mortgage. As well as The Ecology Building Society, there are other banks and building societies that offer these.

Green your investments

There are now a huge range of ‘green’ investment funds, that you can invest in through ISAs or other investment products. You could be investing in eco-minded companies through shares and bonds, or even in low carbon property and infrastructure. Watch out for greenwashing and ‘too good to be true’ offers. Perhaps try a well-known platform or investment manager like Nutmeg, Hargreaves Lansdown or M&G. For more on this, try Your Ethical Money.

Remember that it’s not all about taking money away from high carbon companies. Some of those companies might need encouraging to transition to the low-carbon future. Oil and gas company Orsted has already moved 100% into renewables, for example. Different investment providers will have different attitudes to this issue.

“Watch out for greenwashing and ‘too good to be true’ offers.”

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Green your bills

Of course, the money you spend also has an impact on the world. Green shopping gets a lot of attention, but what about your everyday household bills? As well as switching to a ‘green’ energy supplier, you can invest environmentally to reduce your bills. This is also an example of moving money that DOES have an immediate effect on reducing emissions. For example, getting solar panels and insulation to reduce your heating or electricity bills. Getting an electric car can even be seen as an investment in reduced fuel bills over time. Recent Sustainable St Albans blogs cover many of these topics.

Not sure where to start?

It can feel hard to know where to start with greening your money. But it’s well worth a try as it can make such a huge difference. An easy way to start is with Make My Money Matter  who can help you ask your pension provider to improve the green credentials of your pension, in just a few clicks.

“An easy way to start is with Make My Money Matter.”

We’re in! – are you? Local residents Emily, Lizzie, Alastair, Kate, Caroline and Catherine are all taking action.

Join in with #CountdownToCOP today

It’s easy to join in with #CountdownToCOP. Environmental groups of St Albans District have come together to set up the St Albans Climate Action Network who are hosting their own special St Albans District Count Us In page. Simply visit the page, explore the 16 steps and pledge to take one step by choosing “Take a Step”. When you register, tick that you are part of the “St Albans Climate Network” to have your step counted on the St Albans page.

Join in today and use Simon’s advice to help you choose the “Green Your Money” Step as your pledge.

You can track the carbon impact of your own actions. As more people join, we will all see our cumulative efforts across St Albans, Harpenden and the villages. 

3 ways to speak up at work about the climate crisis

Speaking up at work about the climate crisis can be quite a challenge for many of us. While we can make changes to our own lifestyles to reduce our carbon footprint, it can seem quite difficult to make those same changes in the workplace.  However, whether you’re a worker or a manager, speaking up at work can be a powerful action and is more achievable than you might think.


This is Week 15 of our #CountdowntoCOP campaign, encouraging people to sign up for one or more of the 16 Count Us In steps.  We will have a guest blog each week until November’s UK-hosted COP, focusing on one of these 16 steps.

This week, Dan Fletcher shows us how achievable it is to “Speak Up At Work” as part of Count Us In. Dan is a trustee of Sustainable St Albans and is employed in the business services sector.


1. Informal conversation is a powerful way to speak up at work

Informal conversations at work can be highly meaningful. Your colleagues know you and will see the choices that you make, if you let them. You don’t need to be preachy about what you do. You just need to do it and be matter of fact about what you’re doing. Before long, it is inevitable that a colleague will ask you why. Sharing your reasons and how easy it can be is immensely powerful. It can also multiply the impact of your own climate actions.

Explain climate friendly choices you’ve made when asked

This year for holidays I’ve mainly travelled by train across the UK rather than drive. When I go out for meals with colleagues I don’t eat meat and am often plant-based in my diet. If I bring lunch to work, I’ll wrap it in beeswax instead of plastic or clingfilm. I cycle to my office in St Albans or to the station if I’m going into our London base, rather than drive. All of these things have sparked conversations about why I have made these choices. 

Encourage knowledge sharing

Talking informally creates a context for others to share their sustainability steps and tips, and helps to build community around sustainable living. Subjects from carbon-offsetting flights to supermarket plastic, green investment to food miles, can all take place in the office. Speak up about these subjects at work and share your knowledge. From there, it’s a small step to mention Count Us In and to invite colleagues to start taking their own Count Us In steps too. 

“Talking informally creates a context for others to share their sustainability steps and tips.”

Hold a Climate Conversation with colleagues

If a few colleagues are interested, why not organise a Climate Conversation held across a couple of lunch times? You just need a meeting room, a computer, an internet connection and a handful of colleagues who are interested to know what action they can take to help the climate crisis. Find out more about the free, self-serve Climate Conversation materials by visiting Sustainable St Albans’ Climate Conversations webpage.

Chatting at work
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

2. Join a Green Team to speak up at work

The concept of ‘Green teams’ or ‘Eco teams” at work is becoming more common, especially for workplaces that rely on cohorts of Generation Zers each year. We have a team at my work, and this becomes a simple route to influencing the direction of our work’s environmental policies. 

Start a Green team

If you don’t have a Green team at work, then why not start one? It can often be done by simply finding one or two like-minded people and writing to your CEO or even your manager with a proposal of what you could do and how it might work. Most businesses would value that kind of initiative. Many green initiatives, such as switching off monitors and lights at night, also save the company money.

Hold a Climate Conversation to get going

If your Green team needs a focus to get started, why not organise a Climate Conversation as mentioned above? Then use the Count Us In steps as your framework to help plan your actions.

“If your Green team needs a focus to get started, why not organise a Climate Conversation?”

office meeting - green team
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

3. Speak up at work about ESG

Lastly, it is worth thinking about the ESG movement. ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. It is similar to concepts such as Planet – People – Purpose. It is a global movement that started as a set of criteria for investing and it helps evaluate a companies corporate behaviour and future performance. 

ESG covers carbon footprints and more

ESG is about more than companies reducing their carbon footprints. It includes issues around how a company adds value to the communities where it exists. It also takes seriously issues around how it is governed – how inclusive and diverse it is, how open its decision-making is and how it complies with regulation. ESG resonates with issues of carbon justice and the importance of being a part of the community. 

You can help your workplace by speaking up at work about ESG and the business case for taking it seriously. Businesses that are not aware of ESG will be the ones that won’t thrive in the future. This may be a great opportunity to get involved and help your company to start its sustainability journey in the right direction. 

“Businesses that are not aware of ESG will be the ones that won’t thrive in the future.”

Chatting through ESG at work
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Speaking up at work really makes a difference

Speaking up at work may seem challenging, but it is a simple way for you to have a wide and deep impact on the climate crisis. If you’ve reduced your food waste, have changed to a green energy tariff, jumped off the fast fashion bandwagon and minimised your transport emissions, speaking up at work is a great way to multiply your own contribution to the reduction of carbon emissions. From informal conversations through to your work Green team or ESG project, Speaking Up at Work really is a Step worth taking.

“Speaking up at work is a great way to multiply your own contribution to the reduction of carbon emissions.”

We’re in! – are you? Local residents Emily, Lizzie, Alastair, Kate, Caroline and Catherine are all taking action.

Join in with #CountdownToCOP today

It’s easy to join in with #CountdownToCOP. Environmental groups of St Albans District have come together to set up the St Albans Climate Action Network who are hosting their own special St Albans District Count Us In page. Simply visit the page, explore the 16 steps and pledge to take one step by choosing “Take a Step”. When you register, tick that you are part of the “St Albans Climate Network” to have your step counted on the St Albans page.

Join in today and use Dan’s advice to help you choose the “Speak Up at Work” Step as your pledge.

You can track the carbon impact of your own actions. As more people join, we will all see our cumulative efforts across St Albans, Harpenden and the villages. 

We will have a blog every Sunday until the international climate talks in November, COP26. Each blog will focus on one of the 16 steps. Look out for next week’s blog “Green Your Money” by Simon Grover.

5 steps to tell politicians you care about climate change

It is inarguable that a combination of individual action and government action is what is needed to combat the climate crisis. So why is governmental change so slow? By making our voices heard and telling politicians that we care about the climate crisis, we can influence policy and hopefully speed up governmental change.


This is Week 14 of our #CountdowntoCOP campaign, encouraging people to sign up for one or more of the 16 Count Us In steps.  We will have a guest blog each week until November’s UK-hosted COP, focusing on one of these 16 steps.

This week, Jess Simmons (18 years old) looks at how you can take the step “Tell your politicians” as part of Count Us In. Despite only having been able to vote in one election so far, Jess and three other young people ran the event “Activism and Optimism with local politicians” as part of SustFest21, the 2021 Sustainability Festival in St Albans District. The event gave young people the platform to engage with local MPs and Councillors across parties about the climate crisis.


Step 1: Understand that your voice does matter to politicians

Although it can feel intimidating, simple steps like emailing your local MP or engaging with local councillors can have a big impact in highlighting priorities in your local area. After all, politicians are supposed to represent their area so they should be paying attention to the issues their constituents are most vocal about. The more of us who raise our voices, the more politicians hear the same message from their constituents and then the higher they will prioritise that action. So all of us raising our voices does matter.

Photo by Aswin Mahesh on Unsplash

Step 2: Find out who your local politicians are

A breakdown of who represents you:

Your local MP

In St Albans District, our MPs are Daisy Cooper for St Albans and Bim Afolami for Hitchin and Harpenden. They represent their constituency (which is their area) and their party in the House of Commons but they also have the wider national interest to consider when making decisions. In terms of climate, they’re most responsible for things like the national budget and decisions made at COP26 this November.

Your local councillors

Councillors have a sole focus on the community and are elected by the public in local elections. Their job is to represent the people who elect them and work with them and partners, such as local businesses and other organisations, to agree and deliver on local priorities. There are different levels of local authority such as county councillors and district councillors.

County Council

Here in St Albans District, we are part of Hertfordshire County Council (HCC). HCC are in charge of recycling and waste management facilities, transport, social care, libraries and some aspects of schools. You will have one county councillor representing your area.

District Council

District councils cover a smaller area than county councils. They are usually responsible for services like waste collection, recycling, parks and green spaces, council housing and housing planning. In St Albans District, we have St Albans City and District Council. You will have two or three district councillors representing your area.

Town or Parish Councils

Depending on where you live, you may also have town or parish councillors representing you. Locally, this occurs particularly if you live outside of the central St Albans city: Colney Heath, Harpenden, London Colney, Redbourn, Sandridge, St Michael, St Stephen, Wheathampstead. The town or parish council may take responsibility for green spaces and allotments, as well as community needs and events. Many town and parish councils now have more interest than ever in local climate change. They may also be working on a neighbourhood plan that will shape the local environment for the future. Issues such as wildflower sites, carbon footprint, community event plastic reduction and sustainable procurement may all be on the agenda. You may have two or three town or parish councillors representing your area.

Find out who your MP, district councillors and county councillors are here by putting your postcode in. You can email them through this website. You can visit the St Albans District website to find similar information plus your Parish or Town Council.(Click on “null” in the Parish Council field: if it says St Albans District Association of Local Councils you don’t have a Town or Parish Council).

“simple steps like emailing your MP or engaging with local councillors can have a big impact”

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

Step 3: Contact your local politicians and tell them what you want

Make your voice heard. Tell your politicians that you care about climate change and what action you want them to take. Personal emails have a greater impact than those copied and pasted from a campaign Handwritten letters have a greater impact still. Remember to be polite, concise and put your address so that the MP/councillor knows you are from their constituency. Find more help about contacting politicians here.

Signing up to the mailing list of local environmental groups, like Sustainable St Albans or St Albans Friends of the Earth, will help you to keep informed of key local decisions that politicians may have a say on, from local airport expansions to public transport plans.

“Personal emails have a greater impact than those copied and pasted from a campaign.”

Step 4: Be inspired by seeing local politicians engage

In June, I, along with 3 other local young people, organised an event for Sustainable St Albans’ Sustainability Festival entitled “Activism and Optimism with local politicians”. It aimed to give young people a platform to ask their politicians questions on the climate crisis. You can find the recording of Activism and Optimisim with local politicians here.

Jess, Niamh, Nina and Maddie who organised “Activism and Optimism with local politicians”

Step 5: Get involved with local campaigns

Firstly, if you can vote, your vote is the simplest way to tell politicians what your priorities are. Please vote in any local and national elections you can.

However, the time scale of elections means that they often aren’t quick enough to trigger enough climate action. As pictured below, protest can be a great way of telling the government the importance of a particular issue to you (obviously please go about this in a Covid-safe and responsible way). Just think about the huge statement Greta Thunberg and #SchoolStrike4Climate made to the government and public about the passion of young people on this matter. At the St Albans November 2019 climate strike, we invited all candidates running for MP at the time. Daisy Cooper showed up which allowed young people to talk to her about climate policy.

Attending events with politicians about certain issues can also allow you to engage with them. Look out for public local events where politicians are speaking or attending or get involved with community groups who engage with politicians.

“Protest can be a great way of telling the government the importance of a particular issue to you.”

St Albans Climate Strike 2019

Add your voice to tell politicians you care about climate change

COP-26 is starting very soon, where leaders from all across the globe will meet to discuss policy to tackle the climate crisis. The series that this blog is part of (#CountdowntoCOP) is one of the many ways of creating noise around COP, and you can help our efforts by contacting MPs or talking to friends to highlight how seriously world leaders should take it. Raise your voice and tell the politicians you care about climate change.

We’re in! – are you? Local residents Emily, Lizzie, Alastair, Kate, Caroline and Catherine are all taking action.

Join in with #CountdownToCOP today

It’s easy to join in with #CountdownToCOP. Environmental groups of St Albans District have come together to set up the St Albans Climate Action Network who are hosting their own special St Albans District Count Us In page. Simply visit the page, explore the 16 steps and pledge to take one step by choosing “Take a Step”. When you register, tick that you are part of the “St Albans Climate Network” to have your step counted on the St Albans page.

Join in today and use Jess’s advice to help you choose the “Tell your politicians” Step as your pledge.

You can track the carbon impact of your own actions. As more people join, we will all see our cumulative efforts across St Albans, Harpenden and the villages. 

We will have a blog every Sunday until the international climate talks in November, COP26. Each blog will focus on one of the 16 steps. Look out for next week’s blog “Speak Up at Work” by Dan Fletcher.