In West Bromwich, Hope for the Future is seeking to bring local people, including the town’s large Sikh community, together to get their voices heard on the energy crisis. Come along on Saturday November 26th, 11am-4pm, at West Bromwich Community Centre. The event is free and open to all - you can register ahead of time on our Eventbrite

Hope for the Future is a climate charity which works to equip communities, groups and individuals across the country with the skills to communicate the urgency of climate change with their local politicians. Free training and support is available for anyone who wants it, whether they have ever contacted their MP or councillor before.

Faith communities, including Sikhs, have a central role to play in addressing the climate crisis and protecting our natural world. We’ll have a stall and a speaker from EcoSikh. In their statement on climate change they highlight the importance of environmental protection and climate action for Sikhs. They write that ‘Through His teachings, our first guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, explained that the world we humans create around ourselves is a reflection of our own inner state. So as we look around to our wasteful and polluting practices, we obtain an insight into the chaos within us.’

They give the example of how ‘when the tenth master, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, founded the Khalsa in 1699, he charged Sikhs to challenge any force that threatened the wellbeing of others. He made us warriors with the responsibility to protect the vulnerable. Today, the Earth is vulnerable because of climate change and because people have not protected their environments. Today, it is time to act and show that we are true warriors of the Khalsa. We must make amends with the Earth.’

We are all facing rising energy costs which are contributing to a wider cost of living crisis, making things harder for families across the country. The energy crisis and climate change have many of the same solutions - from better home insulation to massively scaling up renewable energy generation. We’re all having to deal with rising energy costs and more people than ever are facing impossible choices between heating and eating. This is an issue which affects all of us and so discussing how to address it is something which we can bring everyone in the community together on. 

West Bromwich and the Black Country have some of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the country. While everyone faces higher bills, some communities are more harshly impacted than others. This is a social injustice, which urgently needs to be addressed. Everyone - regardless of class, ethnicity, or which part of the country they live in - has the right to a warm home and not to be driven into poverty by energy costs. Groups will provide advice on saving energy and money, as well as using art and creative activities to educate attendees on the global impacts of the climate crisis, particularly for communities in South Asia and across the global South which are facing flooding and other climate impacts right now. This will include an amazing exhibition by the Black-led art and social justice group MAIA, as well as a zine-making workshop with the South Asian Arts Collective.

Sikhs and other faith groups have a strong sense of social justice and responsibility. This must be harnessed to make real change on these issues, bringing faith communities together to engage with their elected representatives and communicate the need for urgent action.

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