Greening Mortimer: A community-driven movement for sustainable living

On Saturday 27 April 2024, the first Greening Mortimer event was organised by Mortimer Methodist Church in the Southampton Methodist District. The event brings climate change campaigners and the local community together to take steps to be greener.

02 May 2024

In the village of Mortimer, nestled in the English countryside of the Southampton Methodist District, a grassroots initiative called Greening Mortimer aims at uniting residents in a shared mission to combat climate change through sustainable community action.

Led by Mortimer Methodist Church that received its Gold A-Rocha Eco-Church Award in 2023 and inspired by the Greening Campaign in neighboring Hampshire, Greening Mortimer empowers individuals to make a tangible difference by incorporating eco-friendly practices into their daily lives.


At the helm of Greening Mortimer is Alison Richardson, chair of the Greening Mortimer group. With an infectious passion for the cause, she articulates the driving philosophy, "The news about climate change can feel so overwhelming that it's easy to think there's nothing one person can do. But our approach is to break it down into accessible steps and focus on the little changes we can make locally in our community – whether it's conserving energy, reducing waste, or nurturing our local environment."

The seeds of this movement were planted around 18 months ago when the parish council brought people together who would be interested in organising a green event. They evaluated who in the village was interested in doing more by displaying green ribbons outside their house or cards on their window. This symbolic gesture started a journey towards a more sustainable future. Recently, the group hosted the first Greening Mortimer event, further energising the community with expert speakers and engaging activities.


A highlight was a talk from a representative of the Englefield Estate, who shed light on their biodiversity management strategies for adapting to climate impacts. Attendees also learned about the upcoming Big Mortimer Nature Watch, a citizen science initiative beginning in late May. Through this program, residents will monitor and record observations of local plants and wildlife, creating a valuable dataset to track ecological changes over time.

Greening Mortimer aims to be a unifying force, bringing together the various community organisations striving for a healthier environment such as Incredible Edible and Mortimer 2012 WI, the local Women's Institute (WI). The branch represented by Mary Elkin eagerly participated in raising awareness about protecting pollinators like honeybees that are facing alarming population declines. "We hope that more people understand the plight facing not just honeybees but all bee species and other pollinators - they're crucial, and their risk is our risk," emphasised Mary.


Don Graham, who kickstarted and organised the Greening Mortimer project with the church congregation, has also been instrumental in leading sustainability efforts at Mortimer Methodist Church, underscores the importance of grassroots leadership in climate action. "The public's trust in how the government addresses this issue is waning. That's why it's so vital that communities like ours take the lead and show what's possible through local action. And in doing so, we can learn from residents about the changes they want to see."

Greening Mortimer event is another testimony to the Mortimer congregation's dedication to educating on climate justice and making a change within their community.

In the face of a global crisis, Mortimer hopes to be proof that even small steps, when taken collectively, can forge a path towards an enduring and healthy planet for generations to come.