London Climate Action Week 2020 – Build Back Better

How to Save the Planet…a learning opportunity!

It’s London Climate Action Week this week. Check in on how organisations are responding and discover what you can do to help the climate crisis.

Part 1.  1-3 July, is digital and brings together world-leading experts and policy makers to drive the national and international Covid-19 climate policy response, prioritising green recovery.

Events cover green investment, rebuilding economies, international collaboration on climate change, adaptation and resilience. Plus the Blue Patch Sustainable Business Awards 2020!

Part 2.  14-20 November, aims to be a flywheel for communities across London to unite actions and ideas to tackle the climate crisis. This is timed to coincide with the postponed UN Climate Change Conference (COP26 Glasgow,  1 – 12 November 2021.)

The climate emergency remains one of the biggest threats we face. As we recover from Covid-19, we can’t replace one health emergency with another – we need to come out of this crisis embracing a new normal which puts tackling the climate emergency at the heart of everything we do.’ Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

Doing not Watching

One of my favourite books as a child was ‘In Woods and Fields’ by Ruth Ainsworth, beautifully illustrated by Jennie Corbett. Ruth describes a hunting tactic used by a fox in a field of rabbits. The fox capers, leaping and twisting in the air, moving ever closer to the spellbound rabbits.

The rabbits didn’t notice the fox was gaining ground, suddenly Mr Tod sets chase…curtains for bunny.

Detail of illustration by Jennie Corbett, from ‘In Woods and Fields’ by Ruth Ainsworth.


Being in a climate crisis is like being one of those rabbits. Multiple impacts, creeping ever closer, have us mesmerised. We hear the warning, 10 years to decarbonise the planet! Then jump on the next plane, hit checkout for more fast-fashion or down a fizzy drink in a plastic bottle.

Frozen Rabbits?

Covid, climate, the economy, brexit, your job, the rent, feed the family, caring duties. Managing life is a full time occupation for everyone.

We now know our species responds brilliantly to tangible threat, we locked-down so well! Can this collective response kick in for climate change too?

Perhaps many of us don’t yet see climate change, it hangs like a miasma. This is why engaging in the science, human and economic impacts of climate change should be our most serious topic of study. The information is readily available online with London Climate Action Week opening the door to everyone – so get involved.


Let’s be a Global Team

Children die from diarrhoea. In 2017 1.6 million died due to contaminated water and food (link). This should not be happening, it’s preventable (read UNICEFs report and visit Wateraid). Climate change solutions can also become health solutions.

We can connect globally as one family, use clean energy to power water purification, sanitation systems, hospitals, schools, farms and homes. We know how to engineer safe systems powered by the elements, so let’s get on with it – global leaders, show leadership!

Collaborative events Like London Climate Action Week and COP matter. When you stare climate change in the face’ you make different personal choices. These incremental steps build mass action, influencing governments to move towards sustainable development goals as team-planet.


Good global governance, aligned on switching energy systems from fossil fuel to renewables is one easy win. We influential consumers need to remove our rabbit ears and participate in project survival – switch your household energy, it will take 20 minutes ( eg Octopus). The fox is getting wilder so let’s stop staring and start doing.

What are New Green Communities?

They are happier, healthier and safer! This is a green de-industrial revolution that can also revolutionise living standards.

Tramline in France laid to grass with wildflower boarders


Imagined Cities Spring to Life

Imagine working in central London – differently. Doing a ‘home + office’ flexi-shift for digital workers immediately takes the pressure of peak time off the transport system.

Imagine, as the labour force spreads out across home-offices and local co-working cafes, de-commissioned offices converted into affordable dwellings and live-work spaces. Work becomes a short walk away, especially for urban key workers. Shops serve local as well as international customers, the quality and uniqueness of their products, simply inspiring. Drop-in project spaces are serving up all sorts of courses, exhibitions and talks. We have more time to enjoy cultural events. Creativity goes mainstream.

Artisanal businesses find a place back in the heart of our cities. Wildflowers fringe pavements, bike lanes and frequent electric hopper busses make getting about so easy. Zero carbon logistics silently deliver goods. Railways become the central transportation system for goods as well as people. There is an abundance of commercial and cultural activity yet the air is fresh, so peaceful you can even hear bees in central London.

Creative Citizens – We Need You!

Artists, animators, musicians, filmmakers and performers can bring this vision to life. Many of the arts focus on themes of love, tragedy, injustice and revenge. Can we refocus creativity on this most dramatic of real life emergencies, climate change? Who can conjure up the new green world to help us shape our aspirations?

Big Ask to the Arts

We’d love to see ‘visionary projects’ springing up. Could we model a living, breathing, experimental sustainable street? Can creatives reveal possible futures in the here-and-now?

Testbed projects lift the words from the page and good intentions from the Zoom chats. Are you creating a ‘sustainable testbed’ project already? Please share your work with team Blue Patch, we’d love to follow your progress.

Welcome to the Must Do Decade!

Mercia Ribbons Wallpaper from Newton Paisley showing English species suggested by the imaginary species in Dr Suess’s The Lorax. It is organised in an ogee pattern, made of ribbons. They reminded the creator and conservation biologist, Susy Paisley of the double helix of the DNA that determines how we all turn out, every living thing, and of chain link fences, and breaking through them to get out into nature.

A wee bit extra!

 Refill London: No more single-use plastic water bottles.

Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle, plastic is as fascinating as it is damaging.

Vanishing High Street  this brilliant report from Bill Grimsey is rich in ideas based on actual case studies for building back better communities.

Run a sustainable business? Enter here. The Blue Patch Sustainable Business Awards, are part of LCAW2020

Blog by Jane Langley, founder of Blue Patch, a fan of nature and utopian visions.