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EALING.NEWS meets Susan O’Leary, co-ordinator of the West London branch of Parents for Future

Parents for Future (PFF) West London is a group that aims to take local action to inspire and empower parents who demand a safe climate future for their children. EALING.NEWS meets Susan O’Leary, co-ordinator of the group to find out more about how it has grown since launching in September 2023, the work it has done, the challenges Ealing faces and future plans. 

Susan O'Leary, Community Organiser, Parents for Future, West London
Susan O’Leary, community organiser, Parents for Future, West London

Since launching last year, how have residents across got involved in the group?
Parents for Future West London, which launched last September in Elthorne Park, now has about 25 active members across several West London boroughs including Ealing, Richmond, and Hounslow. Ealing has the highest concentration of members, where we work with other local groups and residents that regularly support our campaigns and attend our events. We are part of the much larger national Parents for Future UK movement and the global Parents for Future network of parental engagement in the climate movement.

Parents For Future (PFF) West London at Elthorne Park
Parents For Future (PFF) West London at Elthorne Park

What are your current campaigns you are working on?
We believe that the most impactful and urgent action at this stage of the climate and ecological crisis is to build resilient, connected and joyful local communities that can come together and demand systemic change, including in campaigns targeting fossil fuel companies, media and government. PFF West London link with the campaigns of PFF UK and its partner organisations. Our main initiative/campaign locally is to invite parents and carers who are actively concerned about the climate crisis – but lack avenues or channels in which to articulate or act upon these concerns – into an inclusive, resilient and caring community of action. By building this community and encouraging its members to actively support, care for and inspire one another, we empower individuals to move outside their comfort zones and engage in actions, focused on climate justice, that target the system change needed to support it.

What are some of the top issues Ealing members are concerned about?
There are many issues that Ealing members are concerned with currently including improving affordable and accessible options for active and fossil-free travel within the borough, the protection of green spaces and local nature reserves (Warren Farm being of particular concern), the toxic levels of air pollution on the borough’s streets particularly around schools, reducing carbon emissions (for example, in local planning and investment), and increasing investment in renewables at a local level.

Parents for Future
Parents for Future

Where in Ealing would you like to see more people to get involved with the group?
We welcome new members from all parts of Ealing and from all different communities. We believe there is a need to ensure our membership reflects a diversity of individuals and is accessible to the communities in which they are situated. We also recognise that climate issues intersect with other forms of marginalisation, and this impacts the ways in which communities wish to organise, connect and embark on community-led action. Our goal is to create a diverse community of like-minded individuals across all parts of Ealing who are passionate about working hard to secure a better future for our children.

What roles are there for people to get involved in Parent for Future here in Ealing?
As an entirely voluntary local network, we welcome participation from anyone who wishes to be part. Whether you have little time to spare and simply want to be part of our vibrant online community or whether you would prefer to attend regular meet-ups and participate in local actions and events, or even take on a co-ordinating role, we invite and encourage everyone to get involved with us. Later this year we will be providing support to those who would like to engage in climate action through school networks and would love to hear from anyone interested in this work.

What changes to improve life in Ealing would you like to see?
We believe that current socio-economic, political and cultural systems have a significant impact on how individuals think and respond to the climate crisis by actively creating conditions in which apathy, individualisation, isolation, powerlessness and resignation can flourish. Parents strongly care about their children’s future but many don’t know what to do as we lack accessible forms of collective action that focus on system change. In Ealing we wish to overcome the anxiety this produces in many peoples’ lives by normalising climate conversations and empower them to move from caring to acting as part of a community, and demand a safer, fairer, more beautiful world for children everywhere.

What is the best way for people to get involved and how do they reach you?
There a number of ways in which people can reach out to us and get involved:
Social media: Twitter – @pff_westlondon
Instagram: @parentsforfuture_westlondon/
Joining a meet and greet call: These are regularly listed here. There is one this Thursday lunchtime at 12.15pm.

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