Covid-19 is changing our plans at Muswell Hill Sustainability Group as it is for so many other businesses, charities and community groups. We had lots of stuff lined up, like our film night featuring the inspirational 2040 film, working with Muswell Business on a Traders for the Earth week, and an event to promote seasonal food. These are all put on hold for now. 

A group of us met (by Zoom of course) to discuss what we could do next. The lockdown is forcing all of us to think differently about what we do with our time. For some, like MHSG member Dr Maria Goddard, a doctor at the Whittington Hospital – life will become even more busy, and a lot of courage will be needed to get through the next few weeks.

For others, we will have more time on our hands – with evening and weekend activities cancelled and a couple of hours saved from the daily commute. For those of us for whom the last year has been dominated by the climate emergency, we’re left asking – where does this leave climate action? Should we be refocussing our attention on the immediate crisis of coronavirus?

Community support has always been at the heart of MHSG and so it seems right that we should be doing what we can to help local people affected by COVID-19 – whether it be those in self-isolation, or those in a precarious financial position. We’re full of admiration for Muswell Hill Extinction Rebellion who’ve led the way on setting up the Muswell Hill C19 Community Support group, and we’d encourage you to join (on Whatsapp). You can also help the Muswell Hill foodbank – by delivering supplies directly there: or you can donate money to them here:!/DonationDetails

The climate crisis is not going away though, and when we emerge from the lockdown, there will be pressure to restart the economy at pace which could lead to a rapid rise in carbon emissions. But right now, this enforced pause may provide space for people to think, at a big-picture scale about human fragility and at a smaller scale, about how they can change their own lives.

Our role over the next few weeks and months at MHSG will be to inform and hopefully inspire people on living in a way that is better for the planet and better for our long-term health. Through our webpage, social media and newsletter, we’re intending to provide tips on growing your own food, seasonal vegan and vegetarian cooking, activities for children, clothes repair and upcycling. We’ll also be creating an online library of the best climate change reading and TED talks – to help us prepare for life after coronavirus, when the climate emergency will once again require our full attention. 

Image: Spring watercolour by MHSG member, Laila Hackforth-Jones.

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