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2021 – A Year of Great Progress

Colourful firework display

Our Co-ordinator Rupert Friederichsen highlights eight positives from 2021 for the County Durham Green party and looks ahead to making 2022 even better.


We devoted the first quarter of 2021 to intense campaigning. It was heartening to see so many new as well as the familiar faces in our team. Weekend after weekend, we knocked on doors, carried out surveys, delivered newsletters, and then some more. In the end, our joint and concerted effort focused on Brandon paid off.


On 6 May, the Green Party celebrated immense local election gains across England. In County Durham we jumped from one Parish Councillor to four, and we won our first ever County Councillor seat. We now need to ‘go viral’ in building votes. If each member ‘transferred the Green bug’ to three of their friends or family we will see the growth the Green Party needs to make a serious impact on the escalating ecological and climate crises.


At the start of 2021, we counted 190 members in our County Durham branch, on 17 December that number had risen to 239, an increase of 25%.  What would it take to get to a doubling of members over a year? Certainly, it would require each of our members to behave like we are in the emergency that we are, in fact, in and to act in the belief that a strong Green Party can make a real difference to finding the solutions. We need every party member to make a contribution, whether that is time, expertise, and/or money.


A new team of officers was voted in on 7 July. Together, this team of six is committed to grow the number of party members, engage with the 500+ sized group of supporters of our campaigns, help our elected representatives be effective initiators of change, and to ensure all that we do is tightly connected with the needs and priorities of residents across the county. Will you join the Durham Greens leadership team in 2022? You could make a real difference. We could do with your help in all areas of our work. Pop into one of our monthly meetings and see how inspiring and friendly a bunch we are.


Some of our members want to help but not take on an officer role. In fact they delivered some of the best work this year. They contributed their expertise and time to, for example, writing Green Party submissions into planning processes and taking the lead on developing our website.


Our website has improved immeasurably throughout the year.  We now publish a regular stream of news items and promote them on our public and private Facebook groups. We are keen to further raise our social media game and now have the basis of a dynamic website to help with that. Do you have skills in managing a Twitter presence or in helping produce content for our website? If so, why not get involved? Help us become more visible and develop a sharper profile that makes it clear to every voter: The Green position is distinct and crucial – no other party will make the changes required to marry social with ecological justice. Durham Young Greens, I am looking at you.


While world leaders discussed in Glasgow at COP 26, Green Party members were central in delivering the event that brought the global issues around climate action home to the heart of our own city, local government, schools and university, businesses, campaign organisations, and residents. We know that we cannot rely on world leaders to get even close to the 1.5°C goal and we know that the 2020s will be an absolutely crucial decade to – with lots of luck and a huge effort – avoid catastrophic climate breakdown. Watch this space because the Durham Greens will continue to deliver events and build pressure for accelerating the action we need. We are clear: The existing actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, for instance in the County Durham Climate Emergency Response Plan, are welcome but nowhere near enough.


This year brought Greens into government in Scotland and Germany. Let’s draw some hope from this when we look forward to 2022 and all our big societal problems remain unresolved. We, Green Party members and liberation groups, are part of energetic and extensive social movements for climate justice, racial equality, LGBTIQ inclusion, disabled people, all of whom are fighting for equality, social justice, human rights, and fairness for all whether you live on this side of the global North-South divide or the other. We have a long way to go to being part of the British government. We’ve got solutions and a clear vision for a Green civilisation for which surely the time has come. I look forward to joining forces with you in 2022 to grow much stronger as a County Durham Green Party.

This year ends with a lot of worries for most of us as we are yet again anticipating a major Covid-19 wave. Thank you to all who are keeping us safe, thank you to all Green Party volunteers, thank you for supporting us. I wish you a peaceful and relaxing year-end, a merry Christmas or a non-denominational festive and restorative season.

Rupert Friederichsen

Coordinator, County Durham Green Party