For the past few months, Grow Heathrow has been having a bit of a rest from taking on new volunteers to stay. This was for us to have a rest and come together as a group of people living and working together.
Now spring is here, we’d like to open our gates again to volunteers to stay – following our usual process, which is:
Send us an email saying who you are and why you want to stay
Once we’ve said it’s OK – come and stay for a week and see how it goes
After a week – check in with us at our Wednesday meetings and if it’s good for us all, stay for another 3 weeks
After a total of a month, if it’s going really well you can ask to be a Long Term Volunteer, here we ask you to be more committed to the project and after asking at a meeting you need to go away for 10 days to give us and you time to reflect. If all goes well, stay for up to 3 months and start taking on more responsibility.
Although we are open again to volunteers, we are currently only reopening to women, trans people, and other non-binary or gender queer folk.
Q: So does this mean we are not open to men?
A: Yes, currently we won’t be accepting requests of volunteers to stay from cis-gendered men – i.e. people who were born ‘male’ and still identify as such. But you can still come and be a day visitor and get involved in work days, workshops and other events.
We have chosen to do this for a number of reasons, not least because we recognise that our fight against the ecological crisis, climate change and the proposed 3rd runway ath Heathrow, is intimately tied to the fight against patriarchy, hetero-sexism and all other forms of oppression. Whilst we aim to fight these things, we also realise that these oppressions are internalised in all of us, in particular men, who are socialised under patriarchy in various problematic ways. Eco-camps such as ours have a reputation for being somewhat macho – and we think this is due to the culture that is created in these spaces, and not because women and non-binary people can’t handle the cold and chopping wood.
Of course, we also realise that this decision not to accept cis-men for the time being is a blunt instrument and that not all men have internalised patriarchal behaviours to the same extent. However, untill we are closer to some form of gender (queer) parity we feel like this step is useful in creating a radically inclusive space.