Life in the WIs with GFWI chairman Janice Cole

This summer has brought Climate Change to our notice with a vengeance; even the non-believers have had to sit up and take notice. It has been discussed at length, and action taken where possible by WI members in meetings and at home in all its guises. We have particular concerns over the use of plastic, but we must focus our attention on ways in which we can cut carbon emissions.

The high cost of energy supplies has, to some degree, forced us to look at ways to reduce our energy consumption. This cannot be anything but good, as humans have taken so much for granted over the years. It is not an easy thing to do – no one likes reducing their creature comforts – but we must take a good look at our way of life and make adjustments. Moderation in all things is a good maxim.

Having said this, we are still going to have to adjust to our changing climate, as it may be possible to mitigate the changes but not stop them altogether. We must consider what changes we need to make to co-exist with extremes of weather.

This summer has made us aware of the need to conserve more water and recycle as much as we can. Now is the time of year to purchase that extra water butt, for example. Gardens are important for our health and wellbeing, whether our own or those in public ownership. Something many WI members do and enjoy is to go on visits to open or public gardens as well as having events in member’s gardens during the year. WI members are like so many people taking great pride in their own green space, one of my WIs has a what’s app group devoted to plants and gardens and it is always busy. My other regularly has plants and cuttings on sale at our monthly meetings. Gardens are an important part of our national identity, our green and pleasant land. Sadly, our summer drought turned it into a brown land, and wildfires became part of our news here not in a distant land.

Autumn is a good time to stand back and consider what measures we can take to preserve our green spaces. Can we:

  • Collect more rain water?
  • Plant more trees and shrubs to prevent erosion?
  • Reduce the water we use in our homes; do we and they need to be squeaky clean?
  • Make less use of the hosepipe?

These are only a few ideas; I am sure you can elaborate on these and come up with others.

This is only part of the picture. We must all become more aware of and care for our environment. Anything we can do however small will collectively have an impact. We must do things ourselves not just rely on the big corporations and government.

Everyone has a part to play.

For more information contact: WI House, Brunswick Square, Gloucester, tel: 01452 523966;