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Interview with Eco Action Families

By: Ava H.

Eco Action Families is an environmental community group based in the UK striving to inspire individuals to take climate action. I had the chance to interview one of the founders, Ellie, about this amazing organization!

Ellie and her daughter speaking at the

September 2019 Global Climate Strike in Brighton, UK.

What is your role within Eco Action Families?

I’m fortunate to be self-employed so I have time to put into the creative side of coming up with campaign ideas and things we can do to raise awareness of the climate and ecological emergency. I also try and network with other groups and eco activists.

Ellie speaking at an anti-fracking meeting.

How did Eco Action Families start?

It started as a group of parents wishing to support the Youth climate Strikes in 2019. We set up a FB page and then started meeting each other at the youth strikes. It has grown organically since then.

What is the philosophy of Eco Action Families?

Our philosophy is rooted in the teachings of Joanna Macy, that we step away from despair, fear and depression when we step into action. We understand that there are numerous ways to take action but we broadly divide action into 3 categories - Holding action, regenerative action and transformative action. (you can read about these on our website or on our Instagram highlights)

What have been the biggest challenges? Biggest successes?

Our biggest challenge at the moment is definitely the lockdowns as many of us have children at home and our routines have been turned on their heads.

However, we are really proud of some of our successes. Over the last 14 months we have helped Just One Tree plant over 100,000 trees by working with them on a school non-uniform day to fundraisers for reforestation programs. We also worked with#FridaysForFuture and XR to create a youth music video which you can see here.

Out of your Top 100 Practical Actions, which do you think are the most effective and why?

There are three super effective actions that we are going to be shouting about in our new campaign #TheRippleEffect. These are:

Action 1 - Switch to a renewable energy provider!

Action 2 - Switch to an ethical bank!

Action 3 - Become an Earth Protector and support the campaign for International Ecocide law.

Moving our money away from fossil fuels is incredibly important as the industries destroying our natural world only think in terms of profit. Money talks, so it is essential to avoid contributing to the climate crisis with your hard earned money.

Are there any environmental actions that you find to be ineffective and why?

It is our belief that ALL actions are necessary in bringing about change. All of our collective actions add up, so whilst it is so important to fight the old systems with protest, petitions, non-violent direct action etc (what is known as Holding actions). It is also essential that we envision and start creating new systems and ways of living- examples might be community gardens, co-ops, soil regeneration, zero waste stores etc (regenerative and transformative actions).

Can you explain to our readers what your new project, The Ripple Effect, is about? What are your goals for The Ripple Effect?

What if you didn't know your money was fueling climate change and environmental destruction? What if you pay your bills in good faith and then discover your energy company is investing in coal mines? What if your bank could be investing in green solutions instead of dirty fossil fuels?

The concept is simple:

Together with three friends you take the 3 really important actions I mentioned above...

Then you pass it on!

Our campaign video explains it all:

We want to encourage as many people as possible to use the time of lockdown to take these three essential eco actions. Each one is a hugely important step towards ending the age of fossil fuels and protecting the environment on which we all depend.

Ellie's nephew at one of the 2019 Youth Climate Strikes in Sydney

For the Ripple Effect, why did you recommend Switch It as the way for people to renewable energy?

The team at switch it have done extensive research into the most ethical banks and energy providers. At the moment it is UK based but it will expand outwards. There are other sites for researching the dirty records of your service providers such as

If you are lucky enough to have a pension we also recommend

Do you or anyone in your organization have experience with converting their house renewable energy? If yes, what were some of the challenges you faced, and what are some of the rewards you’ve had?

Yes! Personally we switched to solar energy about 7 years ago and it is one of the best things we’ve done. Not only are we using clean green energy from the sun but we are also feeding it back to the grid through the summer! My husband has written a blog about it here.

One major issue within sustainability is that many people do not have the time or money to make their lifestyle more eco-friendly. Do you think that the Ripple Effect does a good job taking into account the environmental inequity problem within sustainability? If not, what are some ways that this can be improved?

Inequity is an issue as huge as the climate crisis, in fact one is born out of the other. While our system continues to exploit people and the planet for profit in the endless pursuit of infinite growth (which by the way is impossible on a finite planet!) there will be no equity. We realize that not everyone will be able to take every action, for example some may be in rented accommodation and have no control over their energy provider…however many people can support the campaign to Stop Ecocide.

When destruction of ecosystems is rightfully added to the Roman statute as an international crime there will be a legal system in place for protecting the natural world. This will be essential in bringing about equity for the people most extremely affected by the climate crisis, indigenous peoples, people of color and those in the global south.

What are some of your aspirations for your organization in 2021 and beyond?

Our aspiration is to inspire more and more people into taking action….in the home, in our schools in workplaces and in our towns and cities. We would also love to see eco-education become more organized and widely available for teens and young people.

Ellie's daughter as her hero Greta Thunberg for School Superheroes Day

How can people help your cause?

I would say learn as much as you can, there are so many inspiring books and movies out there… and it’s not all doom and gloom! A great place to start would be the film ‘2040’ which outlines 5 or 6 key areas for rethinking our futures. And then…. get started with taking action, refill your bottles, move your money, join a community group, attend workshops, protest, talk to friends and family, use your creativity, change your diet... do whatever calls you! (and feel free to get in touch with us!)

What advice would you give young people who care about sustainability and want to help change the world, like you are?

Be brave. Connect with others. Know that you are not alone. I love this quote from Joanna Macy:

“If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear.”

Thank you Ellie for partaking in this interview! We wish you the best of luck in your future environmental endeavors!


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