WHAT IS AN EARTH PROTECTOR TOWN?

Earth Protector Towns (EPT) are a global collaborative movement of Towns to protect the Earth, using an interactive process including specific goals and guidelines.

In declaring itself an Earth Protector Town, a Council undertakes to collaborate and cooperate with communities, local government bodies, businesses, educational and other organisations to protect land, wildlife, air, soil and water. The town is also publicly supporting the Stop Ecocide campaign which supports the legal and diplomatic work to make Ecocide an international crime.

EPTs IS FOCUSED ON THE TRANSITION FROM CURRENT STRUCTURES AND SYSTEMS TO A WAY OF LIVING TOGETHER THAT IS IN HARMONY WITH THE EARTHS ECOSYSTEMS

This transition requires systems change:

Changes in the way we live (from food to transport) – Lifestyles

Changes in how we power our lives – Green Energy

Changes in the way we work – Green Economy – Bioregional economy – Localisation

Changes in the way we think of ourselves in relation to the Earth – Education – Awareness Raising – Health & Wellbeing

Changes in the way we approach the future, by working together – Regenerative Development Approach – Building Community & Capacity

There is a lack of a systematic way for concerned towns, cities, institutions, businesses and people to holistically address the crisis we face. There is also a clear need for all stakeholders to come together and find solutions, ways forward. This acting together to bring about system change is a key element of what needs to happen. It is also becoming clear that such system change is something that needs to be addressed locally (Town level/City/District), as it is reliant on community capacity building.

EPTs aims to address this by creating a model and a global network of towns as well as supporting the movement to Stop Ecocide. It is a local to global movement. As such, it helps all local organisations and stakeholders around the world to plan for change and achieve goals aimed at addressing climate change and ecosystem destruction. It assists all efforts to shift into regeneration. It assists in changing the legal and thus also policy environment where all this takes place.

Towns, business, campaign group, organisation or NGO can endorse the Stop Ecocide campaign by registering here: www.stopecocide.earth/endorse-the-campaign

WHAT DOES MY TOWN HAVE TO DO TO BECOME AN EARTH PROTECTOR TOWN?

There are five goals for Earth Protector Towns:

Produce a strategy and a date to achieve a carbon zero future

Practice the movement from sustainable to regenerative living wherever possible

Protect and enhance eco-systems, habitats and species in and around the town

Pioneer the reduction and elimination of single use plastic

Promote awareness of climate and ecological emergencies

The Council pledges that any future investment decisions consider the environmental practices of the institutions involved, as well as existing legal requirements on public investments.

These goals form a framework for a steering group to audit, plan and monitor the activities and projects which will help to protect and enhance the environment in and around the town.

WHY SUPPORT THE STOP ECOCIDE CAMPAIGN?

Local efforts, although a significant part of the solution, are not adequate on their own to address the crisis we face as long as big corporations and governments continue to destroy the Earth’s ecosystems at an increasing rate. This cannot be overemphasised. The youth movement and XR are global aspects of raising awareness. To stop the destruction (and give local efforts a chance for regeneration) a change in International Criminal Law is needed. This is an expression of the shift in moral values by which we live. This shift centres around our relationship with the Earth, from one of destructive resource use, to one of harmony. From extinction to regenerative evolution. EPTs link global awareness and local action by supporting a change in international law at the local level.

REGISTER OF DECLARED EARTH PROTECTOR TOWNS

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

How do I go about forming a local EPTown group for my town?
How do I help my town become an EPTown?
My town doesn’t have a Council, or the Council is not interested, how can I help promote the EPTown movement?
What does the Town Council have to do to become an EPTown?
How do I go about forming a local EPTown group for my town?

1. Check our register of towns to see if there is already an EPT group that you can join. If not:
2. Invite other Earth Protectors in your town to form a local group. If you don’t know of any EPs in your town you could post a question on the EPs facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/EarthProtectorsCommunity/
3. Approach your like-minded friends and people in local environmental groups and talk to them about EPTowns. Ask them to sign up as EPs and to help you form a town group.
4. Once you have a couple of people, have a first group meeting and work on expanding the group and moving into helping the town become part of the movement
5. Please let us know if you have formed a local EP Town group so that we can add you to the register by emailing us at hello@earthprotectorcommunities.net

How do I help my town become an EPTown?

1. Start a local EPTown group. Familiarise yourselves with the Declaration, which is what the Town would have to vote on and flyer https://earthprotectorcommunities.net/resources/

2. Work on establishing contacts with your town Council through your network of friends. If you have a contact person within the Council, get advice on how to best approach the Council. Otherwise go to the Town offices and speak with the town Clerk.

3. Ideally you would then go to a town meeting and invite the Council to join the EPCs movement. To the question of what does it mean and what does the Council have to do, present them with the Declaration. The Town can find more information on the process here https://earthprotectorcommunities.net/towns/

My town doesn’t have a Council, or the Council is not interested, how can I help promote the EPTown movement?

In some places, Councils at the regional or County level govern the towns in their area, and the towns themselves have no separate Council. Sometimes Town Councils are not interested in moving on this path. In this case, we suggest the following:

1. Start a local EPTown group. Familiarise yourselves with the Declaration and flyer https://earthprotectorcommunities.net/resources/
2. Talk with local businesses, educational institutions, health centres and local environmental and other civic organisations about the EPTown movement.
3. Identify already existing initiatives, such as climate change action 2030, Transition towns, etc, and arrange a gathering with all involved to identify how you can act together at the town level.
4. Approach other local towns, groups, and work together to invite your regional Council to vote on the Declaration and join the EPTown movement. That would then apply to all towns in the region.

What does the Town Council have to do to become an EPTown?

Step 1: We ask Councils to vote and agree on a Declaration
You can find a link to that on this page:
https://earthprotectorcommunities.net/towns/

When they vote for the Declaration, we ask them to appoint a Council person to liaise with us and other groups. Significant relationship.

Step 2: Approach local NGOs and organisations involved in addressing the climate and ecological crisis and begin the process of identifying the key groups.
We found that the timing is right and there are already ‘clusters’ of groups forming in all these areas. For example here in Stroud a group of 30 NGOs having to do with the land came together recently and we approached them as one group. Networking is the key here as you are looking to be inclusive and representative, and also to work on the principles of ‘not re-inventing the wheel’, and forming partnerships beyond ‘organisational ego’. The Climate and ecological crisis is bringing people together..

Step 3: Invite the key groups to form a core networking action group.
We (all participants in this core group i.e. Stroud Town Council, Transition Stroud, Stroud Nature, Stroud Valleys Project, Landwise, Earth Protector Communities) called it the Stroud Town Community Action Network for Climate and Ecology- (STCAN for short), to facilitate interface with local and regional Climate Action initiatives and funding.

Discuss and draft the aims of this core network group and the principles.
The group included at first 4 key NGOs, EPCs, the Town Council and Youth (a representative from the youth movement). This is the first core group in Stroud and was hosted by the City Council ( for reasons of neutrality). This core group then decides who to invite from Education, Business and Health groups if at all and at the appropriate time (this seems to be related with the expansion of the group through working groups to create a Local Action Plan). Members at present include Earth Protector Communities group, Transition Stroud, Stroud Nature Forum, Stroud Valleys Project, Landwise, Stroud Town Council.

 

Here are the aims of the Stroud Town CAN networking group as initially drafted (and subject to change as the group evolves):

“The aim of the Stroud Town Community Action Network for Climate and Ecology (Stroud Town CAN) is to bring together community organisations, businesses and other institutions within Stroud Town working to tackle the climate and ecological crisis, in order to:

  • Exchange information, experience and learning about initiatives and projects
  • Explore the scope for joint projects that reduce carbon emissions, promote regenerative practices, and community resilience
  • Inform Stroud Town Council’s approach to tackling climate change
  • Assist the Town Council to fulfil its pledge as an Earth Protector Town
  • Link into the Stroud District Local Climate Action Group Forum
  • Liaise with the Carbon Neutral 2030 Partnership Board

“It is envisaged that a Stroud Town CAN core group will be convened by Stroud Town Council and meet several times a year – possibly to include six monthly open meetings for all the developing network of organisations in Stroud addressing the climate and ecological crisis.” (we have been meeting for 90 minutes every 5-6 weeks and that seems to work well). We have limited participation from each group to two members each, flexible between 1-3 as groups have been involving various members according to the agenda and expertise/interest).

Step 4: The CAN Local Action Plan Process:
The network group meets regularly ( every 4-6 weeks) to make plans and evolve projects to achieve its aims and the Councils EPTs declaration.
The groups are invited to contribute proposals for actions to be considered in the LAP.
These are compiled online through a form submission process. Members can see each other’s proposals and comment on them. The compiled actions are then clustered in broader action areas.

The CAN assists in the formation of partnerships and clusters of working groups on the different areas, such as Energy, Transport (Carbon Neutrality), Communications (Education/Awareness raising, Public participation, Health/wellbeing, engaging business etc), Recycle/Reuse (Green Economy/business), Ecological (Tree planting, Biodiversity/wildlife, Land use/community food resilience). These all become part of the CANs Local Action Plan process. The process aims at supporting on the ground projects that are realistic and doable in the short term whilst also initiating longer term more ambitious projects.

At this point the CAN can expand to incorporate expertise and support by inviting others to participate in the working groups. This could include individuals and organisations from Education, health/wellbeing, Business and other community groups.

Step 5: Re-visit the concept of the CAN and clarify its purpose in lieu of the experience gained at this stage and the expansion of its activities through the LAP process. It is advisable to co-create a memorandum of understanding that clarifies some things but leaves room for the ongoing evolution of the role of the CAN as it deals with potential collaboration with neighbouring Parishes and towns and as it begins to advocate for solutions at the County and District levels.

Notes:

Funding: Somewhere along the line, and surely by step 4, you need to start thinking of applying for funding to make the projects arising a reality, so a need for someone to focus on this. We quickly found out that various groups were already bidding for funds from the same sources and thus formed a sub-group to co-ordinate funding applications. Allocating some funds from the Town Council to create a post supporting the TownCAN is a good idea and becomes necessary to facilitate the work of the CAN especially at the working group formation/Local Action Plan stage.
Alternative funding approaches could work for communities with high levels of stakeholder engagement. New digital currencies have are being developed that address community development funding in a new way. See https://www.joinseeds.com/ . Digital frameworks on eco-villages using such currency are good illustrative examples of how that might work. See https://hypha.earth/ and this video from SEEDS,

Mapping. A couple of groups have already started their own mapping projects focused on their areas of interest/action such as CO2 and Biodiversity. A first map that immediately emerged as necessary is the organisational map of the area. This could be as simple as a table cross-referencing organisations with their aims/projects. This is essential in order to enact the principle of “do not re-invent the wheel”. There is no time for duplication of effort and missed opportunities for co-operation.
Mapping can be introduced early on in the process, and is certainly useful at stage 2, in identifying the right groups to form the core networking group. See https://www.7vortex.com/ for a user-friendly mapping tool.

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