I have a proposal for anyone who ever goes to a meeting. A meeting for work, for the parent-teacher association, the allotment association, the tenants and residents association. The friends of the local park or the local library, the conservation society, the local history society. A union, a professional association, a charity. Any meeting that has a formal agenda with ‘AOB’ or Any Other Business as the last item.
When you get to that last item, raise the topic of the climate emergency. (If you’re the person who writes the agenda, it’s even easier. Just put down the words ‘Climate Emergency’ after the number 1.)
Sometimes people have run out of energy by the time a meeting gets to AOB. But sometimes those last five minutes are the most creative, since all the ‘serious’ work has been done already. Sometimes an issue raised as an ‘AOB’ is too big to discuss in detail and has to be put on the agenda for the next meeting. That’s fine too.
What would a five-minute AOB on the climate emergency sound like? It might produce a proposal to turn down the office thermostat by a degree. It might mean talking about the students’ strike for climate and how parents and teachers should respond. It might mean a conversation about how you got to the meeting and working out how to share transport or change the location. A question about whether the organisation’s funds are invested in fossil fuels, and if so, why. A suggestion about planting the empty flowerbed in front of the building. An invitation to a free film screening about plastic.
This modest proposal to make good use of the #AOB could be a way of harnessing the energy of people who have good ideas about cutting emissions but don’t get invited to the facilities management meeting. A way of linking people who want to do more to tackle climate change but hesitate to raise it at work. A way of making this conversation daily and normal.
For too long the subjects that should be at the top of the agenda have not even made it onto the page. But anyone can put them there, using #AOB. Whose business is it? It’s All Our Business.