Next generation priorities: climate, nature and health

We enable people to campaign on the issues that matter to them. We also show leadership by focusing particular effort on a small number of areas, identified in collaboration with the network. Our biggest priorities will be three issues where climate, nature and health intersect and touch people’s lives directly, where environmental injustice is stark:

Aim 1:

Secure a fossil fuel-free England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We will particularly focus on the significant opportunity to end all forms of fossil fuel extraction in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and particularly onshore.

We will make campaigning links with our sister organisations in FOE Scotland, Europe and International who are similarly campaigning for a fossil-free world. We will promote a positive, optimistic vision of how the UK and world can make the transition to a resilient, energy efficient, renewable energy-powered future.

This will:

  • Directly contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions from UK-sourced fossil fuels.
  • Preserve the peace, beauty and habitat of places for people and nature across the country. Supporting alternatives to fracking could prevent the construction of 1,000 wells over 10 years.
  • Send a powerful message to people, governments and companies around the world that the country that started the Industrial Revolution now embraces a post-carbon future. It will inspire further global action and give people confidence that dramatic change is possible.

Aim 2:

Bring thriving diverse nature into people’s daily lives in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We will build on our successful Bee Cause campaign, by broadening our work to helping communities enjoy a wide range of nature where they are. We'll place a particular focus on expanding access to nature in large urban areas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, especially within low-income communities. We’ll also help people in towns and cities to enjoy, defend and improve nature in their wider surrounding and countryside.

To make this possible, we will act to defend nature laws potentially at risk from Brexit and press for their proper implementation.

This will:

  • Help millions of people experience and enjoy nature every day with benefits for physical and mental health and wellbeing, and for flourishing nature itself.
  • Inspire a new social norm that we should expect and demand nature in our daily lives, as an essential not a nice-to-have, just as much as the bins being emptied.

Aim 3:

Ensure everywhere in the UK is within safe air quality limits.

We will provide practical steps that people can take locally to reduce their exposure to unhealthy air and press for policy change that helps people ditch the dirtiest vehicles for clean new technology.

This will:

  • Slash the number of people dying prematurely each year in the UK due to air pollution, currently 40,000.

Within and across the priority issues we will explore the economic drivers and dependencies. With members of the international network we will consider the global dimensions and expect:

  • at least one campaign at any given time to have a strong international element (such as shared campaigning, connecting local issues with global beneficiaries, or challenging UK-based institutions causing problems elsewhere in the world);
  • to take part in at least two campaigns jointly organised by several members of Friends of the Earth Europe and/or International during the period of this strategy.

In a highly complex and uncertain world, what look like the biggest opportunities for rapid progress may be overtaken by events. We will regularly review these priorities to ensure that they reflect: the most significant threats to achieving our goal; the most significant opportunities for rapid progress towards our goal; the best routes to build a bigger, more powerful movement of people for change.

We will also maintain flexible rapid response protocols to allow us to swiftly scale up resource on an emerging issue.

These won’t be the only things we do as a national organisation, but they will get the most resource. We will join up these issues in our communications to tell our overall story around how Friends of the Earth support people in coming together to create a better environment for the next generation, expressly linking together our issues, our values and our political and economic analysis.

Aim 4:

Respond to strong grassroots demand by supporting a limited number of additional strategically important campaigns in Wales, Northern Ireland and across England, particularly in the emerging city-regions.

Through dialogue with our networks, we will identify a small number of campaigns in the nations and localities with bigger implications and provide additional capacity to support successful delivery.

Aim 5:

Innovate, test and scale-up work on 2-3 issues emerging into the mainstream, for example on effective ways to tackle meat-reduction in people’s diets.

We will employ limited resources to act as a catalyst on a small number of issues that are not yet in the public debate or are emerging into the mainstream

We expect that addressing sustainable diets, and eating better but less meat, will be the first such issue – a long term game, involving changing culture and norms. In partnership with the Eating Better coalition, we’ll trial tactics and expand if/when we’ve learned what works.

When we review this strategy we will also look at whether new work in relation to healthy water is required.

Aim 6:

Support collaboration between changemakers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and their counterparts in the Friends of the Earth International network to jointly:

  • challenge UK-based companies and financial institutions with significant responsibility for environmental damage in other countries;
  • protect people threatened for defending environment-related human rights.

We recognise our position as one of the best resourced members of Friends of the Earth International, based in a country with significant current and historical responsibilities for global environmental and social injustices. We can’t tackle the massive scale of global inequality on our own, but we can support groups on the frontline elsewhere and help to tackle some of the biggest UK drivers of global problems.