21 April 2020
In early March, as part of a group of 30 Young Greens from across the country, I headed to Birmingham, to take part in a weekend of training workshops, in an attempt to learn more about, and become engaged with, Green politics. For me, and many others selected for this year’s Young Greens 30 Under 30 programme, this represented my first true exposure to both the Young Greens, and the Green Party in general: whilst I have been a member for around a year now, taking the first steps took some time. It’s safe to say that, spending three days following a full-to-bursting schedule of talks, workshops and Q&A sessions with a group of bright, passionate, and inspirational young activists left me coming away feeling energised and determined to continue my participation with the Green Party.
The weekend kicked off with a session of icebreakers — something which, it seems, the Young Greens EC is renowned for —, before throwing us in at the deep-end, with an afternoon of talks about Green politics, its roots, key events and figures, and its reality today. Having the opportunity to then participate in Q&A sessions with a whole host of key names in the Green Party, on topics covering a range of policy areas, was an incredible way to begin exploring our interests. On reflection, conducting some of these over video conference now seems to have been something of a practice run for our current situation!
The Green Party, and Green politics more generally, was born from social movements and campaigns, in the UK, Europe, and beyond: the day workshop — a crash course in campaigning — allowed us to explore how we could have an influence on a local level, between election cycles, to create, empower, and ensure a successful social campaign. This all culminated in a final day, during which Natalie Bennett, recently appointed to the House of Lords and ex-leader of the Green Party, came to speak to us about her experiences, campaigning, and elections. This fed into our final day, focussing on local elections, and the Target to Win strategy, in preparation for what were the upcoming local elections in May 2020 — although all relevant information for next spring, with the benefit of additional time to prepare!
Of course, it wasn’t all work — the evenings were a brilliant opportunity to socialise, get to know each other, and reflect on what we had done that day and how we could take it back home with us. Simply being surrounded by such incredible people was an opportunity in itself and not one I took for granted. The programme was planned to continue with five more training days in the weeks and months to come. Due to Covid-19, these have been moved online and opened up for all Young Greens. Additionally, there are a whole host of political education talks in the pipeline, open to all Green Party members and allies/friends. It’s wonderful to see that, whilst our initial plans may have been disrupted due to current circumstances, there are always learning opportunities to be found, and the Young Greens, for their part, are seizing them with enthusiasm.
I’m excited to be a part of this movement, to bring what I’ve learnt home and to see how we can make Three Rivers a Greener place to live.
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