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Environmental History /environment movement history

Making our own history: 40 years of Environmental Action in the UK

The modern environmental movement has existed in the UK for about 40 years. From early days of ‘Save the Whale’, self-sufficiency and ‘The Good Life’, through campaigns on nuclear waste, rainforests and much more, to today’s global concerns about climate change, the desire to protect our planet has led millions of people to take action. In the UK that action has had a unique flavour, linking the biggest issues to our most local concerns about our cities, towns and villages.

Chris Church has developed a unique presentation, a fully illustrated talk takes an informed and entertaining look back at those 40 years, at both the successes and the failures, and at what those active today can learn from what has gone before. It lasts for 45 minutes. It can lead into a discussion or a more detailed interactive workshop, and can act as a basis for an organisation to reflect on their own history and what they have achieved.

It is a history in four phases:

  1. The first pioneers and the early victories (1970 – 1982)
  2. Unsustainable growth? (1982 – 1992)
  3. A widening world (1992 – 2002)
  4. Climate change and the global agenda (2002 – 2012)

Chris Church has been actively involved in this work for over thirty of those forty years. As a young activist he helped stop plans for a nuclear power station at Didcot and campaigned successfully to see the M40 moved to save Bernwood Forest. He was working for Friends of the Earth when Chernobyl exploded and when the hole in the ozone layer made the front page of the Sun. For 20 years he has worked as a consultant looking at how local action links to national and global issues, and he now chairs the UK Low Carbon Communities Network.

A leaflet describing the presentation in more detail can be downloaded here (303kb .pdf).

All enquiries should be made to Chris Church – or 07710 409590.

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Current Activities

These are some of Chris’s current projects and work areas.

  • Training: Chris is running a range of courses for Talk Action, including ‘Effective Facilitation’, ‘Engaging Communities on Climate Change’, ‘Renewable Energy: getting the message across’.
  • ‘Big Local’: Chris is advising four local communities that are linked in to the Big Lottery ‘Big Local’ programme. He is supporting them to develop the community-led action plans and local partnerships that they need to access the £1m that they are being offered (over 10 years) by the Lottery. See for more information on this programme.
  • Impact Assessment and Mapping: Chris is working with Mapping for Change on a project to develop and run an on-line map-based system to enable The Conservation Volunteers (formerly BTCV) to assess the impact of their work on local communities.
  • Local climate action partnerships: Chris is working with several collaborators within the Low Carbon Communities Network on a report on the development of local partnerships to tackle climate change between communities their local councils, academics, business and other partners. Contact Chris is you’re interested.
  • 40 years of environmental action: Chris has developed a presentation / workshop on this subject and is happy to run sessions for interested organisations – see Environmental history.

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