Favourite Things: The Sheffield climate and environmental projects making a difference

Over the past few years, like many others, I have become acutely aware of the environmental challenges facing us all, writes Richard Teasdale.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 10th September 2021, 9:16 am

Once you start reading about the climate crisis it is very easy to feel overwhelmed and fall into despondency. It’s all too easy to think, ‘What’s the point, I can’t make a difference’.However, I have found that taking action has had a really positive impact on my physical and mental well-being. I have connected with some amazing people and have a great time ‘making a difference’. Here are some of my favourite projects in Sheffield.

ACT NOW

I teamed up with some fellow, concerned Sheffielders, who wanted to highlight environmental issues in a different, accessible way. Following a crash course in street theatre, ‘Act Now’ was born.We quickly discovered that short, performance pieces have maximum impact. We keep the messaging simple and direct, and we do (virtually) whatever it takes to attract attention. This means Sheffield councillors, when entering Ponds Forge for a recent council meeting, were met by us dressed as Planet Earth and dying insects to highlight the need for Sheffield Council to ban the use of glyphosate, a deadly weedkiller.

Richard Teasdale.

We took to the waters of Rother Valley to illustrate that we are ‘drowning in false promises’, and that government needs to do more to tackle the climate crisis.Most recently we put Barclays Bank on trial with a court session held in Sheffield city centre. I dressed in full judge regalia, and we found them guilty of fuelling the climate crisis with their continued funding of fossil fuels. We have also been fortunate enough to have the support of the local press and radio. Their great coverage has meant an increased awareness of these important issues.

SHEFFIELD GREENPEACE

I also love engaging with people through my involvement with Sheffield Greenpeace. We are an enthusiastic bunch and coming out of lockdown, it is great that, once again, we can connect with a wide variety of people on how they can make change for the better. Greenpeace are an incredible, global environmental organisation and they rely on local volunteers to get the message across at a local level. When talking to people, about the human pressures on our oceans or Forests, it’s heartening to know that most are concerned about what’s going on in the world and are happy to sign a petition, write to the Government or eat a bit less meat.

BIRLEY SPA

Richard dressed as a judge for Act Now's performance outside Barclay's last week

As a resident of Hackenthorpe, I have easy access to fabulous green spaces like Rother Valley and Shirebrook Valley.For me, though, the Jewel in the Hackenthorpe Crown is Birley Spa; a Victorian Bath House surrounded by a pond and beautiful woodlands. It’s teaming with wildlife and is a fantastic place to go for a bit of peace and tranquillity. I love to go there to re connect with nature. It makes me realise how lucky I am to live in Europe’s Greenest City.The Friends of Birley Spa work hard to promote the area. We organise community events, have conservation sessions and are currently working with the Council to restore the sadly, disused Bath House.

LITTER PICKING

I also love litter picking. To many people this might sound a bit sad, but there are hundreds of people in Sheffield, who have enormous pride in their city and like nothing better than going out with their litter picker to rid their neighbourhood of the blight of litter and fly tipping.If you don’t believe me, check out the Sheffield Litter Pickers Facebook Page – you’ll be amazed to find dozens of Groups including my wonderful local Group, Hackenthorpe Litter Pickers.

During lockdown, litter picking was an absolute life saver for me. It got me out of the house for much needed physical exercise and allowed me to do my bit for my community (not to mention I got to listen to my favourite heavy metal tunes on my headphones).

Richard Teasdale at a Sheffield Greenpeace stall.

PEOPLE

It would be remiss of me (if not downright dangerous), if I did not mention that most of these activities are spent with incredible, committed people who are passionate, friendly, and great fun to be with, including my amazing partner, Dawn.

By all working together, we really can make a difference. It has made me realise, it’s not all about THE Environment. It’s all about OUR Environment.