Climate Change

Together for our Planet – National Lottery launch fund to support communities to take action on climate change

A new £2.5million National Lottery-funded programme to support communities across the UK take action on climate change, opens for applications today [1 September 2021], ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow this November.

Building on interest and excitement for COP26, the ‘Together for Our Planet’ funding programme is being launched by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It is offering grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 to support local community projects, covering areas such as food, transport, energy, waste and consumption and the natural environment. It aims to create a legacy of ongoing climate action in hundreds of communities, beyond COP26, supporting the UK to reduce its emissions on its part to Net Zero by 2050.

The new programme opens as The National Lottery Community Fund launches a new online ‘Climate Hub’ – a dedicated space to find latest funding news, insights, learnings and stories on climate change and the environment.

Nick Gardner, Head of Climate Action at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “COP26 looks set to be a pivotal point in the global response to the climate emergency. Our new funding programme, Together for Our Planet, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, hopes to harness the interest and excitement around this event and support community organisations across the UK to take ongoing action on climate change.

“With this programme we are keen to reach those who are not sure how to take climate action or haven’t before, helping ensure that climate action moves further into the mainstream, and is accessible and relevant to all communities.”

Together for Our Planet is looking to fund proposals for community-led climate action projects, with applications needing to meet at least two of the following five criteria:

  1. It supports the development of longer-term climate action within communities (that is, taking place after the COP26).
  2. It encourages communities to plan for the climate emergency – to consider what climate action could mean to them and why it matters.
  3. It celebrates the importance of community-led climate action and encourages more people to get involved.
  4. It builds resilience in communities that are hardest hit by climate change.
  5. It provides jobs, skills or training opportunities for communities which support climate action.

In addition, Together for Our Planet will prioritise applications from people and communities hit hardest by climate change; people and communities who are starting to think about taking climate action; groups who have not received funding from The National Lottery Community Fund before or those who do not currently have a National Lottery grant; and smaller organisations with an annual turnover of under £100,000.

It will be open for applications until 5pm on 18 November 2021 and expects to make approximately 400 to 500 awards.

This exciting new funding programme is part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s Environment Strategy. Since 2016, we have awarded £397 million through more than 6,000 grants which involve environmental action, including action on waste and consumption, energy, transport, food and the natural environment.

Thanks to National Lottery players last year we awarded over half a billion pounds (£588.2 million) of life-changing funding to communities across the UK and supported over 14,000 projects to turn their great ideas into reality and make a difference in their communities.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk

15 Millionth Wales funded tree planted in Uganda

The Mbale Trees project – funded by the long-standing Wales and Africa programme – aims to plant over 3 million trees a year in the hilly, heavily deforested area of eastern Uganda in a bid to increase community resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Working with Size of Wales and the Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE), free tree seedlings are distributed to local people to be planted on smallholdings and land in the community, along with fuel efficient stoves and advice and support for other livelihoods, like bee-keeping.

The project links with the Welsh Government’s Plant! Scheme, planting two trees for every child born or adopted in Wales – one planted in Uganda and one planted here in Wales.

In recent years Mbale has been affected by heavy rainfall and fatal landslides, caused by a combination of climate change and excessive logging due to poor enforcement of protection laws and a growing population.

Fast-growing trees protect local people from the effects of soil erosion and fruit grown offers a sustainable source of food and an extra income.

The 10 millionth tree milestone was achieved in autumn 2019, with First Minister Mark Drakeford marking the occasion by planting a tree in Cardiff’s Bute Park as another was planted Uganda by a young climate change activist.

Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt, whose portfolio includes Wales and Africa, said:

For more than a decade Wales has developed and deepened its community-based links with sub-Sahara countries in Africa. This mutually-beneficial approach has long supported sustainable development and solidarity, of which we can be justifiably proud. On top of planting 15 million trees – a fantastic achievement in itself – Wales has helped to protect an area of tropical rainforest twice the size of Wales and supported 16,000 families across 30 villages who may have otherwise faced severe hardship.

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, said:

The Mbale Trees initiative is an example of what can be achieved when nations work together to combat climate change. Our pledge to plant 3 million more every year for the next 5 years will deliver substantial benefits, not just for those within Mbale, but it will have a considerable global impact on climate change. This flagship scheme is another example of Wales leading the way in sustainable development and action on climate change, for all.

Director of Size of Wales, Nicola Pulman, said:

We are delighted to have hit the landmark of 15 million trees. It is a testament to the hard work of the communities and local organisations in Mbale who have worked tirelessly to make it happen. Every tree grown benefits the local area, but also helps strengthen our planet’s resilience to the threat of climate change. We therefore encourage everyone in Wales to support the programme in its next phase and help us reach our ultimate goal of 25 million trees by 2025.

Godfrey Natwaluma, Programme Manager at the Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE), said:

We are proud Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise has supported over 30,000 households in 6 districts to plant trees. These districts have all previously experienced the devastating landslides. Since 2010, we have at least distributed 15 million trees and counting and we are optimistic that by the year 2025, we shall have supported our target communities with 25million trees. Our technical field team, through implementing partners, have been in position to monitor the production process of tree seedlings right away from a network of 45 community tree nursery beds that we have as an organization, and we plan to expand the project to further regions.

20,000 UK Citizens now certified as Carbon Literate

Our Government, employers, educators and civil society are all grappling as to how to engage people and organisations in delivering meaningful carbon reduction and action on climate change quickly and at scale.

In very positive news therefore, The Carbon Literacy Project has today announced that more than 20,000 UK citizens have now been formally assessed and certified as Carbon Literate, and as a consequence, pledged and taken well over 40,000 actions to directly address climate change and immediately reduce UK carbon emissions.

Working with citizens, groups and organisations drawn from all sectors of society, The Carbon Literacy Project oversees the delivery of a days worth of learning and action about climate-change. Uniquely however, although quality controlled by the Project, the training is co-designed and delivered not centrally, but by members of the sectors, groups and audiences receiving the training.

Carbon Literacy is thus adaptable for anywhere and yet consistent everywhere, and engages, informs and inspires audiences both to act right now to reduce their carbon emissions, but also to begin to plan and take much longer term action toward a zero-carbon society, whatever they do, and whoever they are.       

The Carbon Literacy Project (wholly owned by The Carbon Literacy Trust, Registered Charity no 1156722) works with citizens and community groups, social housing providers and civil society. It works with employers both public and private sector and organisations from SMEs to PLCs and local authorities and Government, and works in formal and informal education with schools, colleges and universities across the UK.

Because of this unique reach across all organisations and sectors of society, the Project has been able to bring together groups, organisations and individuals, to form unique partnerships and consortia, working and acting together to share ideas, resources, and funding, to achieve far more to accelerate climate action and reduce carbon emissions immediately than any single organisation could ever achieve alone. In summary, in regards to Carbon Literacy: “The whole is far greater than the sum of the parts”.

Because of its unique approach, the training and certification of 20,000 individuals has been performed not by the central Project working alone, but by the vast network of sectoral partners and organisations distributed across the sectors and geography of the United Kingdom and beyond.

Cynnal Cymru played a pivotal role in bringing Carbon Literacy to Wales and have certified over 550 people:

“In 2017, I was the only Carbon Literacy trainer in Wales outside the BBC. Since then, we have collaborated with Manchester Metropolitan University to equip another 60 people within the social housing sector with the skills to deliver their own Carbon Literacy course. This September we launch Cynnal Cymru’s ‘Train the Trainer’ course. Over the last four years I have provided Carbon Literacy to around 500 people from all kinds of background and across a wide spectrum of roles and sectors. Most of these did the course in 2020/21! I am proud to have brought Carbon Literacy to Wales – I now want it to continue its phenomenal growth so that every citizen understands what global warming & climate change are, the relevance to their well-being but most importantly of all, the actions and behaviours they can take in response to this global challenge. We all have a role to play in this – climate change will spare no-one.”

Rhodri Thomas, Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales

“I was honoured to join the cohort of Carbon Literacy Trainers delivering this insightful and motivational training across the UK in 2020. Since then, I have trained individuals from a wide variety of organisations and spanning the globe with attendees from Canada, The US, Australia and Germany – and learned a lot in the process. I’m so pleased to see the 20,000 citizens certified milestone reached as I genuinely believe in the power of this training and see it as climate action; in the carbon reductions made as a result of the pledges but also the course’s reach in that it not only spurs those in attendance into action but allows them to bring their families, friends and workplaces on board too. Everybody has a part to play in tackling the Climate Crisis and Carbon Literacy helps people to realise their role in this and arms them to empower others.”

Bethan Harvey, Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales

Since its inception in 2012 the Project has grown steadily but for the last five years has been doubling in size every 20 months.

As a result of the effective, collaborative approach of Carbon Literacy, the UK Government (Dept of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)) has funded Carbon Literacy implementation across the public sector, so that every UK local authority, university and college, government department and NHS department now has access to comprehensive, free, government-sponsored Carbon Literacy Toolkits, to acceleration adoption and implementation.

This has been followed by adoption within the wider private and commercial sector, with collaborative toolkits for social housing, the rail sector, the automotive sector, and museum and galleries all now either launched or in advanced preparation.

Over 60 organisations have now been certified as Carbon Literate Organisations, but over 1500 organisations now have Carbon Literate staff, via some 216 unique certified Carbon Literacy courses, in some nine sectoral consortia developed, presented and delivered by partner organisations taking action on climate across the UK and beyond.

Work by Jacobs Engineering indicates that each Carbon Literate citizen reduces their personal and/or professional resource footprint by between 5% and 15% annually.

“One of the core values of Carbon Literacy is that by working together we achieve far more than any of us could alone.”


“When Carbon Literacy learners are given both knowledge and agency to take action, we see newly Carbon Literate individuals taking personal action at the small scale, but also professionally at massive scale, resulting in real savings of carbon immediately, and a long-term shift towards the kinds of personal and organisational behaviours that will deliver the zero-carbon society that we all need.”


“We could not have achieved this without the work of Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales – who have worked so hard to make this happen and deliver real change now”.

Dave Coleman, Managing Director and Co-founder of The Carbon Literacy Project

Ffilm Cymru and Clwstwr launch new Green Cymru Challenge Fund for a sustainable screen sector in Wales

Research, development and innovation can support the Welsh film industry to be more sustainable and make greener choices.

The Green Cymru Challenge Fund is part of the wider Green Cymru programme which was first developed by Ffilm Cymru in 2019. It aims to support screen sector professionals and companies in Wales to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Their Green Cymru programme will provide funding and training, alongside research and development to advance products and services for a sustainable screen sector for Wales.

Welsh Government’s 2019 declaration of a climate emergency called for collective action and emphasised “Wales can provide an example to others of what it means to achieve environmental growth”- Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths; Ffilm Cymru and Clwstwr believe that by working together, Wales’ thriving and vibrant screen industries can lead the way in lowering environmental impact.

The Green Cymru Challenge Fund will make available £75,000 in funding for individuals, organisations and collaborations across sectors – including media, academia, technology, transportation, energy, water and waste management – to research and develop new sustainable ways of working in film and TV.

After submitting an expression of interest, applicants will be invited to develop their ideas practically at Challenge Workshops, before completing a formal application. By November 2021, three successful teams will be awarded up to £25,000 each to develop and deliver their innovative projects.

Ffilm Cymru Wales CEO, Pauline Burt, said: “We have to prepare for the future now. Wales has a vibrant screen sector that is rapidly growing. We have to ensure that growth is sustainable from providing fair and inclusive work, to embedding excellent environmental practice. The Challenge Fund should connect expertise across sectors to collectively help us to better understand the challenges that the creative industries face in being greener and to advance practical solutions to adopt in our day-to-day work. Together, we’ll share learning and expand networks, working alongside partners such as BAFTA’s Albert and Green Regio, who work across Europe.”

Clwstwr’s vision is for Wales to become a leader in green media production. Clwstwr is committed to spurring innovative ideas for carbon footprint reduction and a lower environmental impact, both with the projects they fund and with the media sector across Wales.

Clwstwr Director, Professor Justin Lewis, said: “Green Cymru will help us realise our ambition to see Wales at the forefront of efforts to move media production towards net zero. Clwstwr has already supported a number of green innovation projects in the creative sector, and this partnership allows us to create practical innovations that move us one step further towards a clean, green creative economy.”

How do we tackle the unequal impacts of climate change?

The climate crisis unfairly impacts some people more than others, based on gender, race, class, income, disability and location. Often those least responsible for causing the problem, are most likely to be impacted.

With a focus on the UK, this event considered how impacts will be felt unequally and how injustices could be addressed. Calling for the diverse voices of those impacted to be central to our response to the climate crisis.

Panellists:

  • Dr Michael Mikulewicz – Research Fellow, Centre for Climate Justice
  • Sarah Hopkins – Director, Cynnal Cymru / Sustain Wales
  • Suzanne Dhaliwal – Climate Justice Creative, Campaigner, Researcher, Lecturer in Environmental Justice and Trainer in Creative Strategies for Decolonisation
  • Ravina Singh – UK Cities Senior Engagement Officer, CDP

Video Contributors:

  • Liam Crouse – Organiser, Misneachd
  • Paul Cobbing – Chief Executive, National Flood Forum Michael Lomotey FRSA, MSc (he/him) – Adaptation Planning Specialist – for Climate and Ecology Repair.
  • Heather Shepherd – Flood Recovery Specialist, National Flood Forum
  • Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah – Co-Founder, Ella Roberta Family
  • Sunita – Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly Member
  • Sadie DeCoste – Co-Founder and Director, Loss and Damage Youth
  • Ineza Umuhoza Grace – Co-Founder & Co-Director, Loss and Damage Youth Coalition Susie Fitton – Policy Officer, Inclusion Scotland

Watch or listen to a recording of this important discussion below:

Sustainability First are a UK think-tank and charity who promote practical ways to improve environmental, social and economic wellbeing in public utilities.

Related reads and resources:

Guardian article: New homes in poorer areas of England and Wales face undue flood risk
Friends of the Earth podcast: How are climate and racism connected?
Climate in Colour
IPPR report: Putting people at the heart of tackling the climate and nature emergency
Teach the Future
Black and Green Ambassadors Programme
Local Trust podcast: Community voices on climate change
What is a citizen’s assembly
Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly recommendations
IPPR report: The Climate Commons
Carbon Literacy
Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act
Participatory budgeting
Local Trust: Big Local
Inclusion Scotland webinar: Climate change, disability and Eco-ableism – and webinar briefing
Stop Climate Chaos blog: Disability, climate justice and eco-ableism

‘Collectively we demand change’ – Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly published recommendations

The Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly has spent the last four weeks designing and deliberating on proposals to tackle climate change in Blaenau Gwent.

The final proposals were presented and voted on during the Assemblies final session on Sunday (28 March).

Five key recommendations were passed with over 80% of the assembly members support across areas such as transport, housing and green spaces including:

  • The establishment of an affordable, integrated road and rail transport system in Blaenau Gwent with a one-ticket system for bus, rail and cycle schemes
  • Establishing safe and easily maintainable infrastructure for walkers and cyclists
  • New training for local tradespeople, qualifications and upskilling to increase green construction skills across the borough
  • Implementing a programme of woodland preservation and reforestation increasing opportunities for jobs, biodiversity and connecting woodlands.
  • Ensure new housing is developed with the latest sustainable techniques

The final report of the Assembly will be published the week of 18 April 2021. A full list of recommendations can be found here.

Michelle Morris, Managing Director, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said:

“I would like thank everyone who took the time to take part in Wales’ first climate assembly. The Council and Public Service Board welcome the views of local people and their ideas for dealing with the climate crisis.

“Climate change is a global issue and it’s absolutely vital that we act now to protect our environment for the well-being of future generations and the recommendations from the Assembly are vital for us as the Welsh public sector when we develop our long term plans to shape our approach to tackling the challenges ahead.

“We’re already taking a number of actions as part of our Decarbonisation plan to reduce our carbon impact. The 5 recommendations from the Climate Assembly will help us to prioritise our work in a number of key areas and these will make a significant contribution towards our carbon neutral aim.”

Jess Blair, Director, ERS Cymru said:

“The Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly shows what happens when you do politics differently – brining a community together and providing them with the space to deliberate on important issues in their local area. . This was Wales’ first climate assembly but we hope it will not be the last.”

“Citizen participation is vital in local decision making, it brings legitimacy, builds trust and shows that, when given the support, ordinary people can help shape their communities and come up with valuable solutions to important issues.

“Now the assembly is has spoken we look forward to seeing how Blaenau Gwent responds to their recommendations.”

Matt, Participant, Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly said:

“I found the climate assembly a really rewarding experience. I was able to connect with many different types of people from all walks of life within Blaenau Gwent to talk about a common goal.

“Some of the evidence that we talked about certainly shocked me, but it was comforting to know that the solutions are really within our own hands and I’m really looking forward to having our recommendations evaluated, and hopeful some will be taken forward to make a real difference within Blaenau Gwent so that we can really start to see some positive change.”

Sunita, Participant, Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly said:

“Before taking part in the climate assembly, I was aware of the causes and the effects of climate change and have always been passionate about doing everything that I can to make a difference on an individual level.
“I have learnt so much from my experience as an Assembly Member; from recognising that there is a lack of awareness about climate change on a local and national level, to understanding the level of interest and passion from the people of Blaenau Gwent to make things better.

“Collectively we demand change from our council and our government. We urge the council and the governing bodies to listen to our recommendations that we as an assembly decided on and act upon them.

“We will not stop here. We will continue to learn. We will persist to make sure that our voices are heard. We will strive to make a positive difference in our own lives and in the communities around us.”


The assembly, was the first deliberative democratic event of its kind in Wales, brought 50 Blaenau Gwent residents together with expert speakers to develop proposals to address the climate crisis in their area.

The participants have been selected to be demographically representative of the wider Blaenau Gwent community representing the views and backgrounds of the borough’s residents.

Participants spent four weeks hearing from over 20 expert speakers on a range of issues including housing, fuel poverty, transport, nature and green space, jobs and skills before considering the evidence, make and vote on recommendations.

These will be sent to the Blaenau Gwent Public Service Board’s Climate Mitigation Steering Group, who have made a commitment to respond to the recommendations.

Campaign to send 50,000 voices from Wales to COP26 launched

Climate Cymru, a coalition of citizens, civil society and business from across Wales are launching a campaign to gather 50,000 voices from the people of Wales to take to Glasgow in November.

Supporters from across the country will be empowered to add their voice to the Climate Cymru website, to demand strong and meaningful action from leaders on climate change. After adding their voice, supporters are then able to create their own personalised message, that will be taken to this year’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow, and to share among their own networks.

The climate and natural emergency threatens Wales’ communities, its ways of life, and the natural world. It’s happening now, and many are already seeing it in their day-to-day lives. Severe flooding, once a rare occurrence, is now an annual event in many of Wales’ communities. Climate change will only make this worse.

World leaders are meeting in Glasgow in November and Climate Cymru are calling on them to make strong and meaningful commitments to protect the Wales we love and to make a better future for all.

Climate Cymru is collecting voices from across Wales, voices that care deeply about Wales, its people, its natural environment, but also crucially the world beyond its borders. The campaign is calling for people from all walks of life to build a diverse movement across
political, cultural, religious, demographic and sectoral boundaries.

Using the voices of Wales, the campaign aims to put the onus back on governments and political leaders to show leadership and to make sure efforts of individuals and businesses are backed up by effective policies.

As hosts of COP26, it is especially important for the UK Government to show international leadership to push for strong and meaningful commitments from the international community to combat climate change.

Join the campaign. Add your voice at climate.cymru.

Poppy Stowell-Evans, member of Youth Climate Ambassadors for Wales and Climate Cymru
Ambassador said:

“As an organisation of youth climate activists, we recognise that climate change will impact
every aspect of our lives both internationally and in Wales. Therefore, it must be taken
seriously as a global issue.

Blaenau Gwent To Hold First Climate Assembly in Wales

The Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly will be held online during two weekends in March, bringing residents together from across the borough to address the question: “What should we do in Blaenau Gwent to tackle the climate crisis in a way that is fair and improves living standards for everyone?”

10,000 households in Blaenau Gwent have received written invitations to register their interest in participating. From those who apply to be involved, 50 people will then be randomly selected to take part and will learn about climate issues facing their community, discussing the themes of housing, nature and transport before proposing and debating potential solutions. 

The Assembly is being organised by housing associations United Welsh, Linc Cymru, Melin Homes and Tai Calon in partnership with sustainable development charity Cynnal Cymru, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and ERS Cymru.

Steve Cranston, Foundational Economy Lead for housing association United Welsh said: 

“Climate change is an emergency that impacts us all, from the homes we live in through to the food we eat with our families.

“A climate assembly is a fantastic opportunity to capture the views of local people representing the wider population about what needs to happen, helping decision makers across the Welsh public sector to shape their approach.

We all have a part to play in tackling climate change. As a partnership, we are looking forward to coming together with people in Blaenau Gwent to learn, challenge and inspire action.”

The Assembly will see leading experts present information on climate change and the sub-themes to the 50 participants to provide context to inform the discussions.

Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru said: 

“Through this climate assembly, Blaenau Gwent is leading the way in Wales on a new model of democracy, which gives local people a greater say in issues that affect them. Assemblies like this have been used across the UK, including with the Citizens Assembly of Scotland, UK Climate Assembly as well as elsewhere around the globe.

“The Assembly will give a representative sample of people in the community a chance to discuss, deliberate and produce recommendations that will be heard by decision makers across local government, local registered social landlords and Welsh Government. 

“Elsewhere models like this have been proven to build trust, give people a greater say in local decisions and give decision makers an insight into the trade-offs people would make around climate change. This is a really exciting development and we can’t wait to see it in action.”

Sarah Hopkins, Director of Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales said: 

“Local Authorities across Wales are declaring climate emergencies and recognising that urgent action is needed at local level to reduce carbon emissions. The transition to net zero will mean changes to people’s lives so it’s vital that citizens understand and participate in this journey. 

“We are delighted to be involved with organising the Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly. The recommendations decided upon will help to inform the collaborative approach to decarbonisation from Housing Associations, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and other key organisations in the region. We hope that other regions in Wales will also adopt similar processes to inform decarbonisation action plans.”

The Assembly has received funding from Welsh Government through a consortium managed by energy service provider Sero, where 68 partners in Wales were awarded more than £7m to decarbonise 1,370 homes and create tools to roll out large scale decarbonisation of homes across Wales as part of the ‘Optimised Retrofit’ programme.

The recommendations from the Assembly will be shared with all consortium partners and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council to help inform effective citizen engagement for climate change in future.

Michelle Morris, Managing Director, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said: 

“Climate change is a global issue and it’s absolutely vital that we act now to protect our environment for the well-being of future generations and I am sure that the Climate Assembly will help us all focus on this.  As a Council, we recognise the importance of the challenges and we recently approved a new Decarbonisation Plan.

“We’re already taking a number of actions to reduce our carbon impact such as improving the energy efficiency of our schools; our public buildings and our street-lighting and also reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. This Plan will see us take a more strategic approach towards achieving carbon neutrality and will help us to prioritise work in a number of key areas of our operations which, with some changes, can make a significant contribution towards our carbon neutral aim.”

To find out more about the Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly, visit: 

www.cynnalcymru.com/blaenau-gwent-climate-assembly/ 

Over 400 People Carbon Literate in Wales!

What is The Carbon Literacy Project?

The Carbon Literacy Project offers everyone a day’s worth of Carbon Literacy learning, covering – climate change, carbon footprints, how you can do your bit, and why it’s relevant to you and your audience. The Project divides ‘everyone’ into three distinct audiences – those that live, those that work, and those that study. This allows every citizen to be offered Carbon Literacy learning in a way that has immediate meaning for them.

The Project delivers no training directly but works with a host of people and organisations from all walks of life, that all deliver training that is accredited against the Carbon Literacy Standard. The Project then assesses participant’s and certifies successful candidates with their own uniquely numbered Carbon Literacy certificate.

There is nothing else quite like The Carbon Literacy Project. This was recognised by the United Nations at the UN climate negotiations, COP21, in Paris in 2015, where the Project was awarded TAP100 status, – one of 100 projects worldwide recognised as Transformative Action Programmes, that could materially change the way we deal with climate change.

The Carbon Literacy Project has always been a massive collaborative project. It involves people and organisations from all sectors and walks of life working together and contributing time, materials and funding to advance understanding and action on climate change.

The Project is wholly owned by The Carbon Literacy Trust, a registered charity (No 1156722) established in 2013 to take responsibility for The Project in perpetuity, for the public good.

Where did it all begin?

A cross-sector collaboration developed a carbon reduction plan to make Manchester carbon neutral by 2038. The plan was backed by the local government, the Mayor of Manchester, businesses, universities, and community organisations who quickly recognised that in order for the plan to be successful, they needed a method of learning that enabled every individual in Manchester to take positive action in reducing their emissions. That solution is Carbon Literacy.

Where do we come into it?

We discovered the need for Carbon Literacy in Wales in 2016 after meeting with Claire Raisin, the then Director of Size of Wales, and Dave Coleman, the co-Director of The Carbon Literacy Project.

Exactly a year later, we delivered our first certified Carbon Literacy course for the Sustainability Hub of Public Health Wales and since then we have delivered Carbon Literacy training to over 400 people from all sectors and all parts of Wales.

In the three years that we have been delivering Carbon Literacy training, the project has grown enormously to become an international movement with over 16,000 individuals being trained across ten nations.

As the official partner of the Carbon Literacy Project in Wales, and the only Carbon Literacy training organisation that we are aware of, we’re immensely proud to be part of this movement but we also humbly recognise that the ethos of Carbon Literacy is one of sharing and co-operation.

The main course that we run is called “Carbon Literacy in the Workplace” but we also have a certified course for engineers and are developing ideas to engage more general communities whilst exploring the possibility of developing a course for unions as well.

Our approach is to engage with people largely on a sector basis, training some initial pioneer cohorts and subsequently supporting clients to develop their own courses for delivery in-house via a peer to peer cascade.

We proudly helped National Museum Wales start their journey to develop a dedicated course for the museum sector and connected them with museums in Manchester. 

Our biggest success however is enabling a consortium of 27 social housing providers to design Carbon Literacy training for their own sector which replicates what has been achieved in greater Manchester.

With support from Linc and the Carbon Literacy Project, we trained a pioneer cohort of 63 individuals and supported a course design team. A further 70 colleagues are now undergoing “train the trainer” with Manchester Metropolitan University and in January, the members will start cascading Carbon Literacy training to colleagues.

It’s an amazing achievement for 27 companies to agree to work with each other like this and there have already been reports from the consortium – known as Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru or CLCC – on the impacts the training has had.

For example, Wales and West Housing reported that they are upgrading their fleet to electric vehicles as a direct result of its senior colleagues receiving Carbon Literacy training from us.

While we have been busy in Wales, the core organisation in Manchester has been even busier. It received funding from the UK Government’s BEIS department to develop a range of courses for public sector professional disciplines. It has already launched the Local Authority Toolkit, and Cardiff Council – who received initial training from us – is preparing to use it to train its staff.

Tim Gordon (Head of Communications and External Affairs at Cardiff Council) attended our carbon literacy training in 2019 and responded with: “A thoroughly fascinating and informative course which will open your eyes to the climate change debate – even if you thought you already knew all about it. It will really make you rethink the way we live life today”.

Tim and colleagues are currently receiving and analysing responses to the public consultation on their draft One Planet Cardiff Strategy: the Carbon Literacy training of all staff is an integral part of the One Planet Cardiff proposal. 

Meanwhile, Denbighshire County Council is training their senior management and elected members and we are helping them to develop a Carbon-lite e-learning course.

Newport Council and Monmouthshire Public Service Board are also preparing to initiate Carbon Literacy training with our support.

What’s next for us?

This month we will be running a session for Sustainable Development Co-ordinators Cymru, the network of sustainability professionals in public bodies across Wales. This group will be the first to use our new online learning platform as we convert to a more Covid proof model of learning.

The new website now enables anyone around the world to enrol themselves on any of our courses and undertake a combination of self-directed study with online tutor-led sessions. We will be adding dedicated client-focused courses to the site with a closed enrolment as well as continuing to add open courses that anyone can join.

Our experience with Carbon Literacy has led us to consider the parallels between the climate crisis and the nature crisis and explore whether the same learning approach can be applied to raise people’s awareness of the decline in biodiversity. 

The concept of ‘eco-literacy’ is not new but we think we are the first to apply the principles of Carbon Literacy to the challenge.

With the blessing of the Carbon Literacy project, therefore, we have designed a course that addresses the nature crisis following the Carbon Literacy criteria. The course enables group learning and problem solving with a focus on positive action while not hiding the severity of the threat posed by the erosion of natural systems and the extinction of species worldwide.

Participants will be aided in finding local, collaborative solutions to a global problem and to recognise the value of individual action. We aim to pilot the course in the new year and are pleased to have the support of a wide body of biodiversity professionals and interested groups.

Just like Manchester, Wales has its own carbon reductions plans and targets. With support from us, everyone who lives, works or studies in Wales can now become Carbon Literate and play their part in our national story of revival and renewal.

If you’d like to join our next open Carbon Literacy course please email training@cynnalcymru.com

Every Week Should Be Climate Week 

Wales Climate Week comes to a close today, it’s even more apparent that Wales is rich with people, organisations and ideas for taking action to reach net zero and create adaptive solutions to the unavoidable consequences of climate change.

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Renew Wales and Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales supported the week of events to discuss and interrogate the actions of national and global policy makers, pioneers and innovators on tackling the climate emergency in the context of recovery from COVID-19 and the action that needs to be taken to meet our national and international responsibility. 

With the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 taking place next year alongside the new All Wales Low Carbon Delivery Plan, this year it’s even more important that we are utilising the resources we have available to us on an organisational, community and personal level. 

Rhodri Thomas, Principal Consultant from Cynnal Cymru said “To avoid the catastrophe of global heating we need bold, imaginative action from a wide range of citizens every week of the year…. and it’s happening. Renew Wales, Cynnal Cymru and the Centre for Alternative Technology have been at the heart of the change for many years and we are increasingly working together to support massive change.” 

So far, in response to the growing climate emergency, Cynnal Cymru, CAT and Renew Wales have helped increase awareness and action through the following activities: 

 

Cynnal Cymru has trained almost 400 employed people in Carbon Literacy, and established Carbon Literacy consortiums with 27 Welsh housing associations, Flexis, TUC Cymru and Museum Wales. This has accelerated under lockdown with our courses moving online, offering accessible, collaborative learning across Wales and the UK. Spaces are now open. 

CAT has awarded over 2000 postgraduate degrees in sustainability and, since lockdown in March, trained 550 people in Zero Carbon Britain principles. 

Renew has supported 446 community groups to create climate change action plans, made over 130 community buildings more energy efficient and invested £1 million in grass-roots organisations.

 

Besides this, here are some other ways that action on climate has permeated our wider work this week

Clwstwr co-hosted Cynnal Coffee Club: Greening the Screen which brought together professionals from the screen and sustainability sector to discuss the need for systematic change in order to reach net zero carbon emissions. The event focused around the recently launched report ‘A Screen New Deal – a route map to sustainable film production where ARUP highlighted key areas for focus in Wales. This included the reuse of materials and resourceefficient set construction – where design for deconstruction was built in from the start; consolidated movement and shared infrastructure – considering things like reducing the number of site locations as well as encouraging the use of public transport; and developing systems that allow for collaboration and shared infrastructure.

We learnt about Food Policy Alliance Cymru. A collaborative effort from WWF, RSPB, Food Farming & Countryside Commission, Social Farms and Gardens and other food system stakeholders to advocate for policy approaches that will transform our food systems. This includes a series of recommendations moving forward that encourage sustainable, healthy and accessible options for all people such as integrating policies across organisations and sectors to achieve sustainability objectives as a collective.

The Foundational Economy Challenge Fund procurement group chose tackling climate change through procurement as a key topic for discussion at a meeting about setting a vision for procurement in Wales. It was recognised that decarbonisation is one of the biggest challenges currently facing the housing sector and that public sector and large contractors can play a key role in driving forward decarbonisation through setting standards, educating and collaborating throughout supply chains. 

All of these individual elements highlight the expertise, passion, and forward-thinking legal framework that we have available in Wales to help us to work towards net zero carbonIt’s important to remember that although these brilliant initiatives exist, they haven’t yet been fully embraced and remain the exception rather than the rule. Our climate trajectory is currently set for a temperature that is set way above what is accepted as a safe operating space for humanity but we can still change it if we all act now! 

 

Take Action: 

  • Sign up for Carbon Literacy and Zero Carbon Britain training – learn how you can take decisive positive action 
  • Work with others – join or create a climate action group in your community  
  • Invest in community energy shares  
  • Use your voice to speak out  
  • Be informed of decisions and plans locally and how it will affect your area  
  • Travel wisely – use public transport more, cycle, walk, car share, less polluting car….  
  • Eat sustainably – local fresh produce, grow your own, organic and pesticide fee, eat less meat   
  • Reduce your waste – reuse stuff, get it repaired, donate it, up cycle it…. or don’t buy in the first place…  
  • Watch what you buy – be savvy, ethical, plastic free, Fairtrade, recycled
     
  • Switch to a renewable green energy tariff
     
  • Move your money, savings or pension to a bank account that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels 

 

For further information or support, please contact:

Cynnal Cymru; Carbon Literacy training: rhodri @ cynnalcymru.com  

Zero Carbon Britain; training and advice: zcb @cat.org.uk  

Renew; Community Action on Climate Change: info @renewwales.org.uk

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