High Peak crafters stage 'gentle protest' on Mam Tor to pressure MP over climate crisis

A group of High Peak residents headed up Mam Tor last week to express quiet alarm at the ever-growing climate emergency.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 2:51 pm

When most people think about taking part in a climate change protest they might think of going on a march, youth strike or even sitting on a busy road, but the Canary Craftivists use their handicraft skills to approach the crisis from a different angle which they call ‘gentle protest’.

As part of a national campaign, on Friday, September 3, they donned yellow canary outfits and climbed the peak to quietly craft stuffed canaries which will be delivered to High Peak MP Robert Largan, pressing home the message that the Government needs to step up its efforts to cut greenhouse emissions and address the impact of global heating.

Vic Mead, the group’s coordinator, said: “We are all worried about the effects of climate change and this quiet, kind and creative way of campaigning is our way of doing something positive.

Vic Mead, second left, and fellow Canary Craftivists.

“Canaries’ hopeful yellow colour and singing voices remind us of the beauty in the world we can save from environmental harm and it’s important our elected politicians know that many of us are worried about climate change.”

The canaries, which symbolise the birds traditionally taken down mines to warn of dangerous pollution, will go on display around the country to raise awareness of the issue among the community and increase pressure on MPs.

The message is particularly timely as the Government gets ready to welcome world leaders to Glasgow for the COP26 UN climate summit in November.

Mr Largan has already responded to the group’s efforts, acknowledging that climate change is the biggest global challenge facing humanity.

Crafters all over the UK will be making the birds to help focus public attention on the climate crisis.

He said: “This is an issue I take very seriously and have campaigned on consistently over many years. After being elected, I used my first ever question in Parliament to call for the Government to strengthen our environmental protections. I actively campaigned for the restoration of our local peat moors and I’m proud to have secured a significant increase in funding for this in last year's Budget.

“I also rebelled on an amendment to the Agriculture Bill, to send a clear message to the Government that we must not compromise on our animal welfare, food standards and environmental protections.”

He added: “Recently, I brought together local green groups Acclimatise Whaley, Hope Valley Climate Action, Sustainable Hayfield, Transition Buxton, Transition New Mills and others, to meet with officials from the COP26 unit to share ideas ahead of the crucial global climate change summit later this year. I also founded the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Peak District, bringing together MPs and conservationists to work on a cross-party basis to conserve our beautiful countryside locally.

“In my role on the Transport Select Committee and as the Conservative Environmental Network’s Public Transport Net Zero Champion, I work on developing transport policies to improve public transport, reduce emissions and help tackle climate change. Of course, I also led the successful cross-party campaign to secure the £137million upgrade to the Hope Valley line too. I will continue to stand up for the High Peak and work on a cross-party basis to protect our countryside and tackle climate change.”

Each bird expresses hope that world leaders will rise to the challenge of addressing the climate emergency.

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