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Sara Parkin is a former Green Party of England and Wales activist. She rose to prominence during and after the 1989 European election, in which the Green Party received 15% of the vote. She left the Greens as the result of internal feuds in the wake of constiutional changes she introduced, and went on to found the Forum for the Future with Jonathon Porritt.

Early lifeEdit

Sara Parkin grew up in Coventry. She later went to university in Edinburgh, where she met her husband Max. She also worked there as a Ward Sister and her children Colin and Douglas were born there.[1]

Political careerEdit

Parkin joined the Green Party in the 1970s, partly as the result of the influence of public lectures by Conrad Hal Waddington. in 1979 she stood as a Green candidate against Keith Joseph.[1] Parkin also contributed to the development of Green Parties world wide.[2] After 1989, she emerged as the most articulate and telegenic Green party spokesperson, alongside David Icke.

She was credited with both being personally close to Green Party policy views, and practical in terms of political tactics.[1].

She was considered a highly dynamic figure within the party during the 1989 elections: “Quite often we'd be exhausted in the office and she'd burst through the door and bring with her new thoughts and ideas,” said Caroline Lucas at the time.[1]

Walter Schwartz wrote, after the 1989 results that “she could be the party’s best all-rounder, the easiest of the Greens to imagine as a cabinet minister. She is a highly organised political animal. Most Greens are not.”[1].

However, during the 1989 conference, internal disputes began to arise. Parkin was defeated in her attempt to initiate negotiations with other parties to establish a pro-proportional representation alliance against the Conservative Party.[3]

She also at this stage supported ideas to slim down the number of official external spokespeople, Principal Speakers but rejected the idea of a single leader.[4]

Later, she became associated with the group Green 2000 which advocated wholesale constitutional changes to the Green Party, including creating an Executive with a single Chair and only two Principal Speakers. Although successful in getting these changes agreed and winning almost all the positions on the Executive staked everything on the 1992 general election which brought a complete lack of success. The fall out resulted in Parkin and others becoming the target of a 'recall' campaign which, although unsuccessful, was thought to be a factor in why Parkin withdrew from the re-election competition as Chair of the Green Party and subsequently left the party and active politics.[5]

Life after politicsEdit

Parkin moved on to create the Forum for the Future with two other past Green party activists, Porritt and Paul Ekins.

While at the Forum, she designed the pioneering Forum Leadership for Sustainable Development Masters.

She also currently sits on the boards of the Natural Environment Research Council, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and Head Teachers into Industry, and from 2000-2006 was a board member of the Environment Agency for England and Wales. Sara is a Companion of the Institution of Civil Engineering and the Institute of Energy.[2] She is a Trustee of the St. Andrews Prize and Advisor to the Population and Sustainability Network.[2]


Sara Parkin is a Founder Director and Trustee of Forum for the Future. At the Forum, she focuses on integrating sustainability into post-school education, engineering and other professions. Parkin was awarded an OBE for services to education and sustainable development in 2001.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Why Parkin sups with political devils, The Guardian, 18 September 1989
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Forum for the Future
  3. Parkin is Defeated over pre-election pact to achieve PR, The Independent, 25 September 1989
  4. Greens pin their hopes on power of ideas, The Independent, 23 September 1989
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named SynthesisRegeneration

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