WHEN Mark Goacher first joined the Green Party in 1993, the world was a completely different place.

There was no Extinction Rebellion, no Greta Thunberg and global warming was not thought of as one of the biggest threats facing the modern civilisation.

His close connection with the environment and nature grew from his time growing up in Stapleton, a small village in Leicestershire.

After securing his first teaching job, at Colchester Sixth Form College in 1990, he moved to the town where he has just been elected as a councillor.

But he hasn’t always been politically active and admits he left the Green party in 1997 after “not really doing very much”.

Mark said: “I joined, did not do anything then left again. But I have always had a romantic sense of the countryside.”

His heroes are naturalist Sir David Attenborough and groundbreaking conservationist Rachel Carson.

However, it wasn’t just the environment which inspired him to rejoin the party in 2012.

He said: “I was angry about austerity. It was partly due to school and college funding.

“I wanted a party which put the environment first or at least at the core of its identity.

“I was angry with the other political parties but I thought there was no point being an angry voter, I needed to do something positive.”

Seven hard-fought years later and Mark has made history by becoming Colchester’s first Green Party councillor.

A well-known community campaigner, he has already built a name for himself as a hard working politician.

He also lost a few elections before his victory over Conservative leader Darius Law earlier this month.

He said: “Having been through this since 2012, it seems to me that you can win if you stick at it.

“You might have to lose a string of elections to win.”

As he put it on the night, the results were announced “now the glass ceiling has been broken” and he hopes for more Green success in Colchester.

Mark said: “We have a solid membership in Colchester which is starting to go up.”

His first big political decision came in the first days after his victory.

He was due to be welcomed as part of Colchester Council’s ruling coalition with open arms but he politely declined in order to remain independent on issues such as garden communities.

He said: “I think the West Tey garden community is a hell of a lot of development which goes way beyond local need.

“This is way beyond providing for local people on the housing waiting lists – this is about growth and eating up huge swathes of countryside.

“But it needs to be remembered the housing targets come from central government. I need to be able to challenge that and that is partly why I haven’t joined any coalition.”

As well as overdevelopment, pollution is another issue where he has promised to provide a watchful eye over the so-called progressive alliance.

He said: “It is a huge issue and I want to be able to contribute to tackling it. Environmental issues are now not only reaching a

wider part of the public but they are reaching other parties as well.”

He smiles: “In this election when I looked at the manifestos of all parties there was a substantial amount on them.”

The science fiction buff says the coalition is doing a lot good work and admits he won’t oppose things for the sake of it.

He said: “I have always said Greens make a difference just by standing and once you win you are a green voice on the council.You can work with others to get things done.

“I think (Lib Dem council leader) Mark Cory has brought a different feeling to the council and he is someone who is interested in the environment certainly but I also think he is interested in listening to other people of all parties.

“I think it is an exciting time for the council. You are getting new faces coming to the table and it isn’t just male leaders any more we have Tina Bourne and Julie Young running the Labour Group.

“A lot of people think change means a period of one team then a period of another but it actually can be small things like the changing of the leaders of parties. Me being elected is part of that change.”