Friends of the Earth relaunch in Hounslow

Image above: Karolina Adamkiewicz (centre) and Maggie Thorburn (right)

Two local volunteers are relaunching Friends of the Earth in Hounslow, in response to the ongoing climate crisis.

Maggie Thorburn and Karolina Adamkiewicz from Chiswick are relaunching the environmental group to address the wide range of environmental issues affecting residents of the borough as well as the larger community. The group is being relaunched in response to anxieties surrounding climate change, in the hopes of preventing a bleak future for future generations.

The relaunch is taking is taking place over Zoom from 7-8.30pm on Thursday (24 March). The group will be meeting bi-weekly from then onwards. Meetings will be online to start with, with physical meetings to be planned in near future. Friends of the Earth have been campaigning for climate action for 50 years.

Though the fledgling group has few concrete goals locally to start with, they hope establishing the Hounslow chapter will engage the local community to identify issues which matter to them most.

General issues include campaigning for well insulated homes in the borough and pushing for a reduction in the use of plastic among local business owners. The group also hope to pressure LB Hounslow to meet its net-zero targets by 2030 and to move away from investments in fossil fuel companies.

LB Hounslow invest in a ‘diverse range’ of shares to ensure sufficient funds are available to pay staff pensions. A small proportion of these are fossil fuel companies (less than 5%). The companies tend to have the best investment returns. Divestment, Karolina argued, sends a bigger message to fossil fuel companies to change than continuing to invest in them.

Image above: Karolina Adamkiewicz (2nd left) at a climate protest 

Identifying local climate issues

Karolina told The Chiswick Calendar:

“We’re not coming to this relaunch on Thursday with lots of ideas in mind. What we’re going to do is set the scene, but it’s up to anyone who wants to join us to come with their ideas and together we can work on them. I don’t think it would work if you did a top-down thing, you need to work with other people and identify the issues that are important to them.”

On LB Hounslow’s investments in fossil fuels, she added:

“I think it would be great if Hounslow would divest its pension funds position in fossil fuels.”

“It’s money that’s  being invested on behalf of Hounslow council employees, and if we want to make a transition and meet Hounslow council’s climate pledge which was made in 2019, rather than still investing in fossil fuels we need to be making a transition to renewable energy – and it’s not happening fast enough”

Maggie Thorburn said:

“I’ve been campaigning on environmental issues for many years, and now is the right time to relaunch Friends of the Earth in the borough of Hounslow. If you live in Chiswick, Isleworth, Feltham, Brentford or any one of the other borough districts and want to help, we would love you to join us. By working together we can make a real difference.”

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