Action 21 and Climate Change – Debunking Some Myths: Part 1

This is the first part in a series of blogs covering the role of Action 21, climate change and denial.

The coronavirus which caused a pandemic in 2020, certainly made us think about what we take for granted: our freedoms, our access to resources and services, and how much economic systems depend on the constant round of spending and consumption. Our main concern this year is naturally Covid-19 and its impact on our health and our livelihoods. Though concerns for the environment and the ever-growing threat of climate change were hot topics last year, for the moment they have been pushed off the headlines. They have not gone away.

Separate Threats?

Coronavirus and human impact on the environment are not unrelated, of course. Pressure on ecosystems brings humans into contact with wild animals and increases the chance of viruses ‘jumping’ the species barrier. Additionally, the need to feed a large population means that there is a constant drive to find and distribute food, even if it means destroying natural habitats, or risking our health. Wet markets in China are not the only culprits. Diseases like Bird and Swine Flu are part and parcel of the way we rear animals on an industrial scale.

How Were we Affected at Action 21?

At the Action 21 Re-Useful Centre, lock-down and Covid-19 measures have given us, in our own small way, an awareness of how much we rely on ‘normal services’. When we had to close the shop and were unable to accept donations, some people were dismayed. They felt the need to dispose of unwanted items and did not know where to take them. Several times, things were dumped outside the closed shop during lock-down. Occasionally our new Covid-19 Safe procedures were questioned, prompting this article to explain just what we were doing and why.

Our sterilisation and quarantine area

On a more positive note, we realised how popular the Re-Useful Centre and Emporium had become. Customers very much missed the shop and were looking forward to being able to visit again as soon as we were allowed to re-open. The vast majority of our customers, new and old, were respectful, used our new donation booking system and were grateful for the measures we had taken to ensure their safety.

What is Action 21 for, After all?

Whilst it is good that we are valued and used effectively as a shop, both for the unique things and great bargains and for a place to take donations, perhaps it is an appropriate time to revisit the original basis for Action 21 and to remind people that it is more than a shop and it is not just a public service for handling unwanted items!

Action 21 in Leamington Spa is actually part of a much larger picture – an international set of global goals. We have a very important function and every one of customers, our donors and our staff are playing their part.

Part 2 will outline the background to Action 21 and why it is important.

J Nickels