Why I chose the Green Party

Lewis Ashton, new Ealing Party Member

Why did I choose the Green Party? What I would like to tell you is that I have always been a devoted environmentalist and so it was a no brainer. However, growing up in a small town in Oxford, I wasn’t really aware of issues further away than my garden or then my local area at least. From leaving school, I had to make the decision for which university degree I would like to pursue. Having been okay at maths and science, alongside being sporty, the two options I thought were sports science or marine biology, with the latter just because it seemed interesting. I went with marine biology because I thought most people do sports science and it wouldn’t be new, plus, learning about the oceans seemed fascinating!

This was the first time I’d started to think about the bigger picture regarding our planet, and I personally felt a bit clueless. Luckily my course helped slightly, but I still felt like there was so much more to learn. After university I travelled, which I understand isn’t the best environmentally, however, it did allow me to witness some horrible truths that you normally only hear about in the news. From the mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef to spending a couple of months in South East Asia without seeing a single blue sky because of mass crop burning. It wasn’t all awful though, I did get to witness just how beautiful this planet can be, which led me to enrol in an environmental postgrad, with the hope of pursuing a career that will hopefully benefit the planet.

Throughout this little journey I noticed the impacts we are having on the climate have started to become increasingly commonplace. I also started to personally try and minimise my own impact: changing my diet, cycling as a means of transport and using more sustainable products. Additionally, I was fortunate enough to get an environmental job within the engineering sector.

Even though all of this is helpful I felt like I could be doing more, and though there are already plenty of people changing their habits to better our environment, things don’t seem to be changing as fast as they could, which is frustrating.

This final realisation is what brought me to the Green Party! Things aren’t happening fast enough; the political discussion needs to be changed. Of course, we still need to focus on all of the aspects to improve our society, but I believe we can do this in an environmentally friendly way. We have the technology and the innovation to find solutions whilst also benefiting our climate. The only thing I feel that is standing in the way is politics. The sooner we change the conversation, the better, and I feel the Green Party is the place to do this. I am very positive about the impact we can have on the world; the failures of the past are there for us to learn from.

Meet your London Assembly candidate: Marijn van de Geer

Now more than ever we need to give environmental issues the same priority (if not higher) as any economic, social, or political issue. At the end of the day, none of it will matter if we are no longer able to live our lives on this planet in a feasible way. This may sound extreme, but we don’t think it is. At the Green Party we believe the frightening predictions of climate change and biodiversity loss to be true, and to be the biggest threat humanity has ever faced.

Not everyone believes this. Although luckily more and more people are starting to realise the severity of the situation. Believe me, I hope I am wrong and everything will be fine. But we are seeing more evidence every day to support the belief that we are heading towards catastrophe: complete societal collapse as a result of flooding, fires, droughts, extreme weather occurrences and mass starvation due to consecutive crop failures.

It’s time to pull the emergency break and start making a plan. We need to radically change the way we go about living our lives and running our country; and the same goes for London. On a local level there is so much to be done, it feels overwhelming.

We cannot delay action another minute we need to start right now

Luckily, if I do get elected to be on the London Assembly, I wouldn’t be doing this by myself. We have incredibly dedicated active Green Party members both in Ealing and in Hillingdon. We could do with more, by the way! There are so many ways in which you can get involved: delivering leaflets, knocking on people’s doors to find out what issues are important to them, working on our website and social media, designing leaflets, writing content, filming and photography, attending, hosting and organising events, liaising with local Green Parties throughout London and the UK, and much more. 

Marijn hosting a talk by Rupert Read, watch it here

The Green Party is about more than just environmental issues. We are also concerned with many other issues such as over-development, tenants’ rights, the violent crime epidemic we are witnessing, and of course protecting our NHS. We have firm policies on all of these. I would love to talk to you about our plans to make London a cleaner, healthier, safer city!

I believe improving our lives is not only about getting our leaders to take action. Too often we complain about things that actually we could be resolving ourselves if we pulled together. Time for a bit of a ‘green perspective’: people complaining about rubbish collections, which is an issue, also need to wonder: why do we have so much rubbish in the first place? It needs to come from both sides: we need our leaders to listen to us and take action, but we also need to recognise our own part in this. In this case, shouldn’t we be producing much much less waste in the first place?So this is my proposal: I will try my best to change things at the London Assembly level, but we must also work together to change things right here in Ealing and Hillingdon. We need to do both, and we need to do it together.
The London Assembly elections aren’t until May 2020. Please. Don’t wait until then to do something. Come along to one of our meetings, get in touch with suggestions or questions, help us campaign. It’s not too late yet, but soon it will be. Please help us.

About the London Assembly

  • 25 London Assembly Members elected by you at the same time as the Mayor. Eleven represent the whole capital and 14 are elected by constituencies
  • Assembly Members act as champions for Londoners by investigating issues such as transport, policing, housing and planning, the economy, health and of course: the environment
  • The Mayor should respond to Assembly motions and formal recommendations and the Assembly holds the Mayor to account
  • The Mayor must consult Assembly Members on strategies and budgets, which they can reject and amend if a majority of two-thirds agree to do so
  • The Assembly can press for changes to national, Mayoral or local policy

In the next 11 months we’ll be knocking on as many doors as we can to chat with our neighbours to get their views on what’s happening in the two boroughs and what needs doing. We’ll be going to the Colne Valley which is under threat from HS2, we’ll attend the so-called consultations on Heathrow expansion and visit other areas that need urgent attention. If you have a place in mind you think we should visit, let us know! We will be holding talks and invite guest speakers and we’ll be posting them on our website, so keep an eye on what we’re up to and please come along!

Unfortunately, just popping to the polling station every once in a while and casting your vote is not enough to keep our democratic system functional and fair. In order for democracy to work we need to constantly be engaging with it, looking after it. We are all busy and we all feel overwhelmed by the many things that need doing in our everyday lives. But I feel the issues we face are so important, we need to make time to try and make a difference.
Because if we won’t, who will?

Any questions, concerns, suggestions, comments? Please do not hesitate to get in touch: marijn@ealinggreenparty.org.uk. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Marijn’s mini bio

Being an active member for the Ealing Green Party

The Ealing Green Party relies entirely on volunteers to run. But what does it mean to be an active member for the Ealing Greens?

One of our new members describes her experience so far…

Meet Marijn

Life in the Green Party

“Most of us don’t really think about what members of local political parties get up to. The main interaction you will have with active members is probably around election time when they come knocking on your door to tell you about their activities and asking you to vote for them.

Like most people, I have always been polite, taken their leaflet, but other than that never really engaged. When it was time to vote, I didn’t recognise any of the faces on the ballot and would just tick those who were standing for the party I wanted to support.

I joined the Green Party just over a year ago and became an active member about 8 months ago. I didn’t even really know what an ‘active member’ was. First of all, did you know that just by voting you haven’t done even half of the things you could do to help out your party of choice? And most of us find even just going to the polling stations a chore.

Politics is Life

How did we become so disengaged from politics? How did we forget that everything around us is politics; from the height of your pavement’s curb, to the litter in your local park and rubbish collection, to the new high-rise development going up in your back garden. People often say they are not interested in politics. I now know that this is like saying you’re not interested in breathing. You may not be interested in it, but it is still happening.

So I went along to my first Ealing Green Party meeting which they hold once a month. If you are a member of the Ealing Green Party you are always allowed to attend. I don’t really remember why I decided to go along. I don’t have any friends who are active for their local political party or anything like that, but I guess I was curious as to what the people would be like.

My First Meeting

When I arrived the meeting was in full swing and I didn’t have a clue what was going on. They were talking about issues I had never heard of before, using terms which I didn’t understand. I took notes and tried to take in as much as I could, but pretty much all of it was going over my head.

It wasn’t until after when we all had a drink and people were chatting, that I started to get a better understanding about how things work. Everyone was very friendly, so I felt like I could ask questions without worrying about sounding stupid. I didn’t even know the basics, like that a borough is divided up into wards, and I didn’t even know which bits of London belong to Ealing. I discovered how big the borough of Ealing actually is, and realised how little of it I’d explored!

A few months later, I have a much better understanding of local issues and feel confident and supported in meetings to be able to ask when I don’t understand, and sometimes even contribute a point of view myself! The learning curve is steep, and I feel like I’ve become a little bit smarter every time I come away from one of our gatherings!

After this first meeting I had loads of ideas buzzing around in my head and I jotted them all down into an email and sent it to some of the people I had been chatting to that night. They responded and asked me to get involved with various things.

And I think that’s how it kind of starts. You show that you are interested and committed to help, and the group will take you in with open arms. Local parties have extremely limited resources, including people. They are all doing this on a voluntary basis, out of concern for their local neighbourhood.

Get Involved!

So if you can do more than just show up at the polling station at election time (and please, do that as well!!), you really should. It’s a brilliant way to get to know your borough, not just the places that you would normally hang out. You make friends with your fellow party members which is great; especially in London where you have to travel at least an hour to go have a cup of tea with someone. It’s lovely to know people so near by!

And perhaps most importantly: slowly but surely you start to understand more about how things work. How decisions are made, and how you can help create change. You learn what the issues are, whether it is housing, protecting green spaces, safety, roads, traffic, hospitals, and before you know it you’ll be so much more knowledgeable on these issues than you ever were.

As an active member you commit as much time as you can. You can pick the particular issues you’re passionate about. You can decide how you would like to help, be it designing flyers, knocking on people’s doors, helping with data entry, writing for the party blog, helping with social media, or going to events that are relevant and reporting back to the group what you’ve learned. The list is endless.

Whatever you decide to do, know that we are out there trying to make our shared living space a better place for all of us. If you see us handing out flyers, come have a chat. If we come knocking on your door, let us know your thoughts on local issues. We are doing this for all of us, and we are happy to do it.”

Marijn Van De Geer

In a Nutshell

Being an active member can include the following:
  • Attending party meetings
  • Designing flyers
  • Delivering flyers
  • Canvassing and doorknocking
  • Data entry
  • Writing for the party blog/website
  • Helping with social media
  • Attending relevant events and reporting back

What you get out of it
  • Meet new people
  • Discover your local area
  • Understanding of local politics
  • Empowerment by being heard
  • Improve your neighbourhood
  • Build a community

If you live in the Acton Central Ward you can vote for Marijn to be your Green voice on 3rd May!

Parliament Week at the Impact Theatre

An Invitation From Impact Theatre

Impact Theatre are an excellent organisation based in Perival, and are dedicated to promoting a positive image of disability, developing communication and building self-confidence, through participation in performing and creative arts. When they invited me to their Parliament Week event (along with candidates from all other political parties) it was an opportunity I could not pass up.

Engaged and Ready for Dialogue

I am glad to say I found a group of people who were very engaged and ready for constructive dialogue. They were very kind to me, and when the time came for me to give a talk we had a conversation on subjects that ranged from how democracy works, the differences between the political parties, the current situation in Britain, relations between America and Britain, and of course the environment!

Tough Questions!

I must admit that of the many questions I was asked, the one that stumped me the most was “who has the biggest mouth, Donald Trump or Boris Johnson”! After umming and ahing for a few seconds I decided “I wish both of them would think before they speak” which went down well enough. But overall this was a fantastic experience.

Green Shoots!

I am glad to say my talk was positively received and I am told there may be some “green shoots” at the Impact Theatre! But whatever their choices when it comes to voting, I hope that the people of Impact Theatre remain as interested and engaged as I found them.


If you'd like to join

  1. Become a member for £3 per month.
  2. Receive a welcome email from our Secretary.
  3. Come to our monthly meeting and say hi.
  4. Get stuck in, making a fairer and greener Ealing.

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