You can always tell when an election is coming by the sudden increase in utterly inane campaign leaflets littering your doorstep each day. Countless political parties sending manifesto promises, which you can decide if they will ever realise when elected (I know my position on this).
In recent years, promises with the environment at heart have made their way into manifestos in increasing numbers. The irony of these promises being delivered to our doors on printed paper seems to go unnoticed by the campaign managers. Even with proud declarations of being printed on recycled paper and the obvious fact that they are recyclable, until those campaign directors realise that paper campaigning has to stop things won’t improve.
All parties make promises on tree planting, which in the main are unrealistic, or at least often fail to be realised. All parties rightly should make these promises to the electorate, but they should equally actually achieve these targets and should be held to account when they don’t. The Scottish government has largely met and actually exceeded planting targets over the last few years, but planting in England is significantly behind schedule despite a 2020 review saying that targets were achievable.
Even in 2017, it was recognised that we cannot plant enough trees across the planet to undo, reverse, or even pause climate change. With extensive planting, we can make a difference, but not without other efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. Depressingly (if 2021 needed anything else to be unhappy about), in 2021 we were told that because of deforestation, the Amazon Rainforest, which was previously a Carbon Sink (explained in a new window) is now actually contributing the CO2 entering the atmosphere and having a negative impact. Read about that here (opens a new window)
So, as we look to elect local and National leaders, please do question the value of their environmental credentials, by looking at what they have offered, what they have previously delivered on and how they represent this information to you. If it comes in the form of a leaflet through your door, you should be confident enough to say that they have no concept of the reality of what it is to be environmentally conscious, or the irony of their campaigning.
Here’s a free bit of advice for any campaign managers that aren’t able to think of another way to engage with people other than through leafleting; why not write your leaflet points on a packet of wildflower seeds and send those, as they can at least do some good to the environment and offset the paper, ink and fuel used in the production of the packets.