It was five years ago that I first met Dave Coleman, co-founder and director of the Carbon Literacy Project. He had come to Wales at the invitation of the then Director of the Size of Wales Project. They had met at the historic Paris COP summit where The Project was awarded TAP100 status. Dave presented the Carbon Literacy Project on a sunny morning to a small group of us in Cardiff. At that time, in 2016, the CL Project was only operating in Manchester and Scotland and Dave was looking for partners in other parts of the UK. I listened carefully, asked questions and then reported excitedly to my colleagues in Cynnal Cymru that I had found something that we simply had to get involved with.
We delivered our first Carbon Literacy course in 2017 and five years, 700+ trainees 200+ organisations and 1476 pledges later, I had the great pleasure to attend the tenth birthday party of the Carbon Literacy Project on Tuesday the 1st of November 2022 in Manchester.
In the early days after first meeting Dave, we worked together to introduce Carbon Literacy in Wales. Progress was slow at first but the recent exponential growth of the project in Wales is mirrored across the world. Globally the project is now on 43.5 thousand trainees and just under four thousand organisations engaged. Dave and colleagues have extrapolated the rate of growth and think a target of 1 million people trained could be reached by 2030 or earlier. Each month, the calculations push that target closer to 2022, month by month, as the enquiries, bookings and certifications continue to pour in.
I am very pleased to be able to say that I was the first certified Carbon Literacy trainer in Wales and that Cynnal Cymru was the first organisation in Wales to champion the project. We worked hard to establish it and prove its worth but hey look – this isn’t about me or us. Carbon Literacy is about everyone. We are delighted that more people are offering the training in Wales and as we say to all our clients, our role is to start you off. Ultimately Carbon Literacy works best when the trainee is being trained by someone like them…. When the conversations around climate change are embedded in the context of the participants and when actions are agreed in a collaborative atmosphere by peers challenging each other and holding each other to account. And everyone needs to get better at following up on the actions pledged and calculating/estimating the carbon savings that result.
Being in Manchester for the tenth birthday celebration felt like being part of a family. But every one of us there knew that while we could pause to savour the success, our pleasure could only be short lived. There is still an enormous mountain to climb. Global warming looms over us like a huge wave of destruction threatening everything we love and take for granted. There are powerful forces of ignorance and greed that push against the growing surge of citizen action and enlightened corporate commitment. People are asking us what we should be looking for from COP in Egypt. Our message is clear. Look for nothing. Look only to your own spheres of control and influence. Take care of your world. You are one of a growing number. Tipping points can be positive as well as negative and no-one knows which small action will start the avalanche or spark the revolution. The world does change for better as well as for worse. For one short evening in Manchester we smiled and enjoyed our achievements but the following day it was back to work. Indeed, some important colleagues missed the celebration because they were delivering evening Carbon Literacy training! This does not stop. It can not stop. Cynnal Cymru is ready to help you start your Carbon Literacy journey. We are waiting to hear from you.