Jane Baston

When I was much younger than I am now I always used to annoy my parents by constantly asking why. Whenever they’d explain something to me I’d want to know why it worked that way. I carried that curiosity with me into science but throughout there was another reason that had been pestering me. Why exactly did everything seem to be falling apart? Why was there a climate crisis? And why was no one fixing it?

It was that question that drove me to the Young Greens and to delving into a greater understanding of our societal structures that are perpetuating harm on so many. I found that the Young Greens weren’t the answer to why we aren’t fixing things but they could be the solution to the problems that need fixing. No other political party has the vision to change the future in the way that the Green Party does. So many young people want to have a better future, and they’re fighting for it against a government that wants to stick with the status quo. The Young Greens can be the place where young people feel heard and empowered to make change.

There’s a way forward from the pandemic that gives us the opportunity to be better than we were before. Where we’re not constrained by the thinking of Labour or of the systems that we’ve just become used to. Our Young Greens know that we can be something more than this. Something more than lives bound to produce labour and to prop up economies. We know that we can, and must be, something more. And more importantly, we know that we have to make that change so that we can stop capitalism from enacting even more ruin on the planet.

This year presents a real opportunity for the Young Greens. Not only are we exiting lockdown, whether that’s too soon or not, so we’ll be able to return to in-person activity but we can also start looking forward to the next few years. The next general election is a few years off but will be the expansion of our executive, and with green students committee in its second year, we can start to think more about our future.

It might be odd for a party that knows we have to act now to avert the worst of the climate crisis to be thinking so far into the future but I think we need to be setting out a plan for where we want the Young Greens to be going over the next few years. To write down, and to figure out exactly how we’re going to be continuing to grow. We have a great foundation on which to start this from the previous year’s executive. We have loads of really active groups, and so much energy across the country.

This really is the reason why I’m standing to be Co-chair. I want to start the work on all of these areas this year but I know that we can’t build this moment overnight. Previous committees have done brilliant work and I’m so proud to have the opportunity to build on that. We need to build our ambition when looking forward, and we need to be able to motivate and inspire our activists to get involved and to see the benefits of the hours of time they volunteer for us.

I’ve been working with the Young Greens for almost a year now as the green students co-convenor and I’ve felt the energy from our groups. I think this next year should be focused on building more support for our base of activists, providing training, and bringing people together to start campaigns. I want to start building a group of local councillor candidates who support each other through their election campaigns, and bringing together our current councillors. We need to strengthen our relationships with trade unions, and encourage our members to join and campaign within their unions. There’s a lot of work to do over the next year, to win elections, keep building our groups and pushing our anti-capitalist, eco-socialist message out, but with the strengthening of our movement I know that we can.

I really hope that you’ll give me your vote for co-chair and I hope to see you at Young Greens Convention!

This article is part of a series from candidates standing in this year’s elections to the Young Greens of England and Wales Executive Committee. You can find all the articles in the series here. Voting is open in the Young Greens elections from July 3 to July 18. 

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