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Caitlin Mackesy Davies: In search of London’s Solar Citizens

Our Communications Manager is putting her professional skills and personal experience into building a positive vision of London’s future

Caitlin’s journey to Repowering London began with an invitation to a central London gathering about climate change on Halloween in 2018. She wasn’t sure what it was all about, but the event sounded like it might be interesting and Caitlin showed up to find out more. It turned out to be the launch of Extinction Rebellion (XR), with speakers including Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot.


She left the session, which included an occupation of the street in front of Parliament, a little sceptical – “I’m not a natural rule-breaker, so I wasn’t sure it was for me,” she says. But she was also curious enough to turn up at the next event she saw organised by XR, and then the next. From these reluctant beginnings, she found herself regularly supporting actions and standing on London street corners speaking to strangers about the climate emergency.

The group found Caitlin at a whirlwind moment, before which she had been aware of the climate crisis but hadn’t felt a personal sense of urgency. But after reading the IPCC’s 2018 report on global warming, she found herself thinking more about what the climate crisis means for her own future, the future of her children, and her chances of getting to enjoy grandchildren.


Building community

From early on, Caitlin recognised the importance of outreach in building a broader climate movement. At climate actions, she put her energy into distributing leaflets and ensuring passers-by understood the urgent purpose behind any disruption.


When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and activities shifted online, Caitlin enrolled in courses on resilience, local democracy and community organising. In one of these courses, she encountered Rob Hopkins and the Transition movement, and went on to start up a local Transition group, shifting away from activism to a more (for her) comfortable space of community action. Following the ethos of “local solutions to global problems”, Kew The Transition focuses on building community resilience and encouraging lower-carbon living. To date, the group has created mini wildflower meadows, run repair cafés and seed shares, hosted wildlife connection talks, and contributed to a local development consultation.


Describing the group, Caitlin says it’s all about “helping people feel how joyful it is to join a motivated community, where climate action is not work and it’s not guilt and it’s not your personal responsibility to save the world. Making a positive difference to our future climate can be as simple as getting together with new friends and growing some food, sharing our stories, or repairing our clothes.”


Hope for the future

As climate concerns took on a central role in her personal life, Caitlin also began exploring more intentional professional choices. Bringing together a career in publishing and communications with first-hand experience of community building and a commitment to local climate justice, Caitlin joined the Repowering London team as Communications Officer in 2021. On any given day, she uses a huge range of tools and skills to communicate about community energy and the need for a just transition in the energy sector. She might be found working on a blog like this one, scheduling social media posts, scripting a video, writing a newsletter, or building a case study.


Across all of her work, her primary goal is to bring people into the community energy movement by inspiring them to imagine what a more hopeful future could look like. It’s a message that is currently coming to life in the form of our London Solar City campaign, which highlights the many ‘Solar Citizens’ who make Repowering London’s community energy projects happen and provides easy ways for anyone to get involved.

As much as this messaging is helpful for achieving our goals, sharing motivating and moving stories also keeps Caitlin feeling encouraged about our ability to avoid the worst-case scenario of a fatally warmed world: “I really appreciate being surrounded with hopeful people. It helps me to make sense of the future and form a positive vision for myself.”

You too can be a Solar Citizen! Start here, with our recent blog that sets out five fast actions you can take to help us make London a Solar City.

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