Photo by Ben Gingell, Courtesy of www.shutterstock.com
The Climate Emergency is one of the preeminent challenges of our time, and it would be a gross understatement to say that the topic is gathering momentum. The last few weeks has seen a whole raft of protests; Greta Thunberg taking on world leaders in New York; mums pushing prams down Whitehall; sanctioned school strikes and Extinction Rebellion’s disrupting protests in London. 1,110 jurisdictions globally have declared the emergency including 360 of Britain’s authorities - those numbers will only continue to rise (1).
We all know that we need more renewable energy, less motor vehicles consuming fossil fuels, better and more affordable public transport, less food miles and the list continues. However, we all have choices as to what carbon we consume; human beings are the biggest users of carbon. Reducing demand for carbon consuming products and services in parallel with all levels of government funded and facilitated infrastructures, we have a chance of making a sustainable change.
To exemplify this, Commonplace recently hosted an online consultation on climate change for Camden Council’s Citizen’s Climate Assembly where the community was asked what they could do to reduce Co2 at home, in their neighbourhoods and to suggest what the country and the council should do. The assembly proved hugely successful with 17 ideas to be taken forward. Here are some of those ideas.
- Encouraging low-carbon dietary choices.
- Making all new homes ‘zero carbon’.
- Creating more green space on residential streets.
- Fitting solar panels on as many homes as possible.
- Campaigning to make CO2 reduction fun.
- Planting more trees and creating more allotments.
- Piloting a community energy heating scheme.
- Installing more ‘segregated’ cycle lanes.
- Promoting and trialling car free zones and days.
- Enabling electric transport with infrastructure and incentives.
- Developers to fund energy efficiency retrofits of old buildings.
- Establishing a Climate Emergency scrutiny panel made up of experts and residents.
- All council properties to be fossil-fuel free.
- Planting trees and retaining public spaces.
- Improving council communications and engagement on the climate crisis.
- Mobilising existing community groups to work on tackling the climate crisis.
- Greening the Council’s operations.
This is a fantastic example of co-creation between the community and the council.
Other individuals might say what is the point in me changing my lifestyle to facilitate climate change while corporations pump out plastics by the megaton, or transport companies reduce bus routes and frequencies. There is though, a big point!
If every individual, businesses and the public sector made small changes to their behaviour on a regular basis, the demand for carbon would drop significantly and sustainably. Consulting and co-creating with communities is a way to engage people in the conversation about the climate emergency. You can see a digest of some of the engagements, including Camden’s Climate Assembly, that we have supported, which have had a direct impact on carbon reduction by clicking here. We can help you create your own Climate Assembly, so please drop us a note by touching here.