Showing the love for people and planet
For the eighth year running, people in every corner of the country showed the love for the people, places and nature they want to protect from climate change, writes Jake Woodier
The Climate Coalition’s annual campaign, Show the Love, returned this February for the eighth year running. Since 2015, people from every corner of the United Kingdom have used the symbolism of the green heart to engage with MPs and put forward the case for action to tackle climate change and protect what we love from its impacts. Green hearts are powerful, and each one inspires another. From 2015 onward, over a million green hearts have made their way from our dedicated supporters to Westminster, delivering a powerful message to decision makers that people from all walks of life want to see real and rapid action to tackle the climate crisis.
Concern and appetite for action on climate change and protecting the natural world is high. In fact, at the last election every major political party stood on a manifesto that included ambitions to tackle climate change. And the issue was brought right to our doorsteps in November of 2021 when the UN climate change conference took place in Glasgow.
Despite some incremental progress, we know there’s still a long way to go in efforts to cut climate pollution and ensure a thriving, healthy environment and climate for generations to come. Which is exactly why people from all walks of life have come together every February to Show the Love. We’ve got a lot to shout about; from a community group taking over a bus shelter with their climate message to surfers taking to the sea, and green hearts designed by Patrick Grant from the Great British Sewing Bee to Kew Wakehurst’s green heart trail. And if you want a reminder why our Show the Love campaign is so important, take a read of this fantastic blog by our friends at Climate Outreach. It is important for us to reach new audiences and support people with new ways to call for a better future for all. And we’re delighted that Climate Outreach recognise Show the Love as an example of successful climate communications as a way to build a mandate for collective action.
Coalition members powering the campaign
Every year, our members share the Show the Love campaign across their channels, and with their millions of supporters all over the UK. The beauty of working in a coalition is being able to cut across lines, achieve more together, and ultimately be greater than the sum of our parts. In what we know is a decisive decade for delivery on the policies, actions and overarching plan to tackle climate change and protect nature, this type of collaboration only grows in importance. Over the years our members have helped make the campaign what it is, and it’s been no different in 2022. Let’s recap what our members have been up to this year.
The Wildlife Trusts shared a video on Valentine’s day from young supporters why they’re standing up for climate action, while Faith for the Climate supported the production of resources for Faith communities to get involved in the campaign. The National Trust produced a video talking to people in the places they care for, why they’re protecting them from climate change, while National Trust Wales featured Snowdonia countryside manager, Simon, on the reasons why he’s behind the campaign.
Surfers Against Sewage organised a number of ‘paddle-outs’ in coastal locations to highlight their love for the ocean and produced a #ShowtheLove for the ocean resource guide. Moving away from the ocean, Maria Zafar at Islamic Relief penned an action pack for supporters to Show the Love for the Earth. Hope for the Future published a celebratory blog of standout moments from the campaign, while British Canoeing, Zoological Society of London, CPRE, and Soil Association all communicated to their supporters on social media.
With every passing year, green hearts are becoming increasingly associated with community engagement with climate change, whether you’re in Truro or Teesside, and this year has been no different. Right across the country, communities have been crafting, making and utilising the power of green hearts to engage with MPs to call for greater action to tackle climate change and protect nature. Women’s Institute members have been busy getting their craft on, collecting their climate action postcards from WI Life Magazine to send to their MP, and in Doveridge even took over a disused bus shelter to display green hearts.
Over 20 Greenpeace groups got involved, with those in Manchester joining the campaign by crafting a huge green heart in Whitworth Park, while volunteers in Sheffield made the local paper. Norwich Friends of the Earth group brought together their handcrafted green hearts to the city hall. In Wales, the Oxfam shop on Castle Street in Swansea encouraged visitors to sign green heart messages. The Chaplaincy at Kings College London organised a green heart crafting and MP engagement session for their sustainability month activities and the Diocese of Oxford staff made their own pledges, and fired off postcards to their MP.
The reach of Show the Love continues to grow, with more and more groups, organisations and individuals getting involved at the community level every year. In 2022 we’ve had the Huntingdonshire District Council’s Operations Division support on social media, and schools including Pennar Community School and Frensham Heights got in on the action too.
Partners and support from national figures
One of the fantastic parts of the Show the Love campaign is the way it reaches organisations and people inside, and out, of the coalition. The message of showing love and optimism to protect the people and places we love from climate change and nature loss runs strong across the country, and in 2022 this has continued to hold true. The Royal Institute of British Architects supported our campaign video here, while Kew Wakehurst organised a green heart trail during the February half term. Wildlife and Countryside Link published a blog from TCC’s Hannah McLean-Knight on why we need to tackle the climate and nature crises together, and the Sustainable Restaurant Association talked about Show the Love to their extensive membership.
Alongside partner organisations getting involved, we’ve had British wildlife TV presenter and household favourite Chris Packham share his message for the love of wildlife, and Lorraine and Good Morning Britain GP Dr Amir Khan putting forward why the government should be taking more action on climate. Great British Sewing Bee star Patrick Grant curated a bespoke green heart for our craftivism activity in our action pack that has inspired creativity for people making their own in 2022. Sticking with the fashion theme, the ‘Queen of thrift’ Bay Garnett shared our campaign message to followers on Instagram, and zero-waste denim brand E.L.V DENIM joined in too.
Engaging with MPs
We know that in order to see the change needed at the political level, people from all walks of life in every corner of the UK need to engage with local decision makers, and place climate action at the top of their agendas. Thousands of people got in touch with their MPs, reaching over 83 per cent of constituencies across the country calling for action on climate and nature, and an ‘all-of-government’ approach to the issue.
We also saw a range of fantastic in-person engagements with politicians such as Risborough Eve Women’s Institute group handing over a beautifully crafted green heart to Conservative Party MP Greg Smith. Furthermore, the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lyndsey Hoyle MP showed off his recycled aluminium green heart, and The Grange Centre in Surrey organised for service users to present their crafted green hearts to Sir Paul Beresford MP. Green hearts even popped up at a prayer vigil in Wycombe in front of the building he uses for his constituency surgeries. Andrea Ledsom MP shared her green heart gifted from the Women’s Institute in Towcester, and a special mention to Caroline Lucas for sharing her handcrafted Show the Love 22 green heart!
Maintaining momentum and optimism in 2022
All of the activity seen in Show the Love during February is a welcome and strong reminder that people in every part of the UK are determined to tackle climate change and nature loss. It is only natural that we want to secure a better future for generations to come. And despite the worrying messages from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, there is still a brief window of opportunity to take action. As Alice Bell from TCC member Possible states in The Guardian, ‘The best antidote to climate fear is always climate action, so roll up your sleeves and get to work.’
That’s exactly what we’re going to be doing tomorrow, the next day, and every day after until we have secured the changes we need to see a cleaner, greener, fairer future both here at home, and around the world. You can continue to take action with The Climate Coalition here, and sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with future campaigns, and be the first to hear about Great Big Green Week plans for this year.
Jake Woodier is the Senior Media and Campaigns Manager at The Climate Coalition