Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”Margaret Mead
Community activists and political revolutionaries alike are inspired by this famous quote, attributed to anthropologist Margaret Mead, which sits nicely alongside this story:
Anybody, Everybody, Somebody and Nobody all knew that a job needed to be done. Anybody could have done it. Everybody thought that Somebody would do it. In the end, Nobody did it.“Author unknown
Change-making is often left to those in “power”. Governments have control over various areas of policy and law, they have the resources to make things happen, and we presume we can trust them to act in our best interests. On the other hand – can they know our best interests if we don’t stay in touch with them? Most people’s engagement with politics ends at the ballot box, if they get there at all. At the last Senedd elections in 2016, less than half of those eligible to vote did so.
Power sometimes isn’t where you might expect.
A big company often has more influence than a government, as any Senedd member who has supported rural residents with rubbish broadband will tell you.
A community can exert great influence over their neighbourhood and individuals able to be choosy consumers have an amazing amount of power, as any ethical shopper knows.
But power is most effective when different types are combined. Independent businesses, public bodies, voluntary organisations, community groups and interested individuals all coming together with a shared vision can have tremendous potential for positive change. A network that combines people with passion and ideas with people with know-how and experience can produce great things, and develop a shared voice that’s more likely to be heard by big institutions more distant from the ground.
In our corner of Wales, we are incredibly lucky to have 4theRegion, “an alliance of people, businesses and organisations across South West Wales.” They collaborate with their huge membership to create workshops, conferences and podcasts aiming to, “champion the change makers and share positive news, to connect like-minded people and great ideas.” Their lively and engaging events at venues like the Liberty Stadium and LC2 have drawn excited crowds, eager to share knowledge and ideas. Lockdown has been no barrier, with a great programme of online events keeping members connected and positive discussion bubbling away.
We are absolutely thrilled to be collaborating with 4theRegion on an event to discuss renewable energy and supporting the local economy. The Swansea Renewable Energy Forum will be held via Zoom on Thursday 6th May 11am: coincidentally, the same day a new Welsh Parliament will be elected. We will discuss:
· What’s important to people when considering their energy tariff?
· How do you know if the electricity you’re buying really is renewable?
· How can we develop the sector over the coming years to make South West Wales the UK’s leading community renewable energy region?
Please register to attend if you’re interested in buying local, reducing your carbon footprint and building a renewable energy sector fit for the future! (And – remember to vote.)