Climate Action column: Life is full of surprises on Harborough Carnival’s Green Street

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One of the joys of being a volunteer, that I heartily recommend to you the reader if you aren’t one already, is meeting very committed people, beavering away for their charity or group, for example, the amazing Harborough Carnival committee.

See to find out who these amazing people are and at the end of their list of 12 people is an invite to you! If you fancy becoming a helper, get in touch.

As part of this year’s Harborough Great Big Green Week, the Green Street is back for a second year, focusing on Big Swaps and Little Swaps For example did you know that Leicestershire and Rutland have a Beekeepers Association? So the Big Swap would be to find out about becoming a beekeeper from the Beekeepers Association stall holders and a little swap would be to have bee friendly plants in our gardens or if we don’t have a garden, plant in a green space near our homes. See

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Of course, the wonderful Harborough in Bloom team are already on this journey as they prepare their planters for the spring and summer. See their Facebook page to catch up with what they are doing.

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This year we have a farmer coming to tell us about all the actions she is taking on her family farm like tree and hedge planting, to make it more sustainable and reduce flooding. She will be explaining scrapes (shallow ponds that hold heavy rain fall and stay damp most of the year) and herbal leys - temporary grasslands made up of legumes like peas, beans and lentils and herb and grass species that are helping to keep birds and insects alive and improve soil quality. The Greener Earth people will also be showing us wonderful new things.

Two major problems for people living in the Majority World, i.e. Africa, Asia, or Latin America, who make up about 80% of the world’s populations, are that they often live in the harshest conditions weather wise (droughts, floods, famine, forest fires, invading insects) and they have the very worst payments and conditions for their labour. Think about tea, coffee and chocolate for example. Their wages are so low that they can’t afford to dig wells for clean water, build toilets, send their children to school or pay for health care. That’s where Fairtrade will be able to help us better understand why Fairtrade is good, how it isn’t always more expensive and also tastes delicious.

They’ll be helped by Eco Church members. The trail blazing Oxfam stall will be able to show us how Oxfam is helping these communities to improve their lives too. You are right to be thinking – but what about our people? People having to wash their hair in cheap washing up liquid – the Hygiene Bank people are passionate about supporting people to prevent this. People not managing to keep warm in winter because of their lack of insulation and high cost of living? Heat or eat – a terrible choice to have to make. Well, we have that covered too with the United for Warm Homes campaign team coming to show us the next steps in the hope that we can persuade our MP and government ministers to urgently deal with this horrible situation. And the neighbourhood forums explaining what improvements they want to see made in their communities, not to mention beeswax wraps, refill solutions, Leicestershire County Council team showing us how to reduce food waste and save ourselves money and Morsbags for children to experiment with designs and patterns for our wonderful world. Phew, what’s not to enjoy.

Julie Fagan, volunteer Harborough Climate Action and Eco Church

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