Environmentalist and concerned global citizen Chess Fearnley is an accomplished activist within her local community. Chess' connected ethos and care for the Earth has led her to champion the transition of her town, Malmesbury, towards Plastic Free Community status, as well as developing the pro-active Malmesbury Climate Action Network. On the 28th of March, wearing her Arctic Angels beanie, Chess travelled (by shared electric car and train) from her town to march with Greta Thunberg in the Fridays for Future x Bristol strike.
It was absolutely tipping it down. “Stayin Alive” by the Bee Gees played, a poetic choice and part of what I assume was carefully curated playlist. We stood to one side on top of a small wall with our banner as thousands of people poured by. It took about 40 minutes in total for the crowds to empty from College Green.
Amongst the No Planet Bs, the Time’s Ups and Act Nows and hundreds of other banners with comedic environmental messaging (haven’t they got good?!), our “Malmesbury Climate Action Network” banner didn’t quite fit the mould.
“Where’s Malmesbury?”, a few people asked, inquisitive eyebrows raised, and rightly so.
We’re a relatively small rural town on the Wiltshire/Gloucestershire border (we are the burial site of the First King of England… but at the last census, we had a population of just over 5,300, so we forgive you for not knowing about us).
There were, however, a surprising number of people who did know. “Wow, Malmesbury! Is there a big climate movement there then?”. Well, we’re a core group of 12, with a wider network of 100 or so, working on projects as varied as resource sharing to community agriculture.
Hey, so we’re not that big… but that’s exactly the point. You don’t have to be big.
In fact, you just have to be one.
There is no better movement that exemplifies the power of one than Greta’s School Strike for the Climate/Fridays for Future initiative.
And it was an honour to be one of the 15-30,000 individuals standing by her side.