The Enfield Climate Action Forum is a civil society initiative to bring civil society groups together in one part of London, Enfield, to address the challenge of climate change.
In addressing climate change then role of civil society is important and vital. But what is Civil Society?
Civil society refers to the space for collective action around shared interests, purposes and values, generally distinct from government and commercial for-profit actors. It occupies an important position in the development dialogue as it provides opportunities to bring communities together for collection action, mobilising society to articulate demands and voice concerns at local, national, regional and international levels
Civil society activity began in earnest after the 1960s when Rachel Caron’s book Silent Spring was published and led to the banning of the the iconic pesticide DDT.
From this movement sprang organisations like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth that began to campaign and pressure Government. These became large Non Government Organisations (NGO’s) But since then across the globe and in the UK a huge host of voluntary organisations have grown up around environmental issues from friends of parks to tackling waste, from cleaning up the High street, to campaigning for local authorities to divest from fossil fuels.
Many of these act in isolation and many with great effect. However at a time of climate change and with only ten years to make a difference there is a need for collaborative action - for civil society organisation to come together to share experience and to work together towards a common aim.
The Enfield Climate Action Forum has been set up to do just that - an organisation in the true spirit of civil society distinct from government and commercial for-profit organisations. Climate change impacts on us all and for organisations and individual citizens in civil society to act and share together is essential and such organisations will grow in significance and importance in the coming decade.