On the 14th October, Friends of the Earth held an international day of action for the climate, where we invited FOE groups across the world to get creative and come together for a day of climate events, actions and mobilisations. The aim was to use powerful climate narratives to promote renewable energy, show the people in power that fossil fuels are dated and dirty, and remind them that we are still not standing for fracking, not now, not ever. It was a day of collective action and solidarity that will ensure this message is heard loud and clear.

As the theme was renewable energy, we saw the International Day of Climate Action as a good opportunity to talk about air pollution in Birmingham. Renewable energy doesn’t create
Go Renewable, Keep Our Air Clean the kind of dirty pollutants that are bad for our lungs, so the message we spread was to ‘go renewable, keep our air clean!’ To get the public talking about air pollution and the possibilities of renewable energy, we painted this message across a big banner before going out into the city centre and asking the public to show their support by signing it. The aim was to end up with a visual representation of local support for a transition to renewable energy that will improve urban air quality all over the country, and of course the world!

This action was inspired by FOE’s suggestion that local groups go out into public spaces to create murals that tell a climate narrative. We liked this idea, and thought we could use it to simultaneously promote our clean air campaign. As there’s nothing we like more than a conversation starter, we were looking forward to the opportunity to chat with local residents, find out how they feel about the air pollution levels in Birmingham, and get the city thinking about what a Clean Air Zone could do for us.

As the International Day of Climate Action is a day for collaboration and collective action, we also invited other local groups to come along and join us. As usual, we had a group photo at the end of the action!