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Cardiff the first Welsh local authority to achieve Carbon Literate Organisation status

As part of the accreditation process for the bronze level award a Carbon Literacy training programme has to be created and registered with the Carbon Literacy Project, ready for delivery to staff, and at least one senior member of the organisation at senior leadership level has to have successfully undertaken and passed this training.

Carbon Literacy is defined as ‘an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis.

Following Carbon Literacy Project approved training designed and delivered by sustainable development charity Cynnal Cymru, three Cardiff Council Cabinet members at the forefront of Cardiff’s One Planet Cardiff strategy for a carbon neutral city: Cllr Caro Wild (Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport), Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment, Cllr Michael Michael, and Cllr Chris Weaver (Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance), and staff from services across the organisation, have all been certified as Carbon Literate.

Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment, Cllr Michael Michael, said:

“Training Council staff and becoming a Carbon Literate Organisation is one way we can start to change the way we act, and think about our carbon emissions, not just as an organisation but also as individual residents with a contribution to make as we strive to become a carbon neutral, One Planet city.”

“Statistics show that if everyone in the world consumed natural resources, and generated carbon dioxide at the rate we do in Cardiff, then we would need the resources of three planets to enable us to carry on as we do.

“Something has to give, and I would urge residents, businesses and organisations to join us in making the changes we all need to make if we are to safeguard the future of Cardiff, and the planet.”

Rhodri Thomas, Principal Consultant at Cynical Cymru said:

“We are delighted that Cardiff Council has been recognised as a Carbon Literate Organisation at the bronze level. We provided training for a core group of colleagues and three cabinet members and are supporting the council to roll out Carbon Literacy training for the majority of Council staff. This level of commitment shows that the Council is serious about its declaration of a climate emergency and as more colleagues become Carbon Literate, the easier it will become for the Council to implement practical action and generate new ideas that will safeguard citizens and colleagues while creating a greener, cleaner, healthier and more prosperous city.”

Dave Coleman, Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Carbon Literacy Project said:

“Wales has been at the forefront of thinking on low carbon for some time, recognising the benefits of determined action on climate to education, jobs, and the Welsh economy, but also to the health, lifestyle, and prosperity of current and future generations of Welsh people. Therefore as the first Welsh local authority to be accredited as a Carbon Literate Organisation, its great to see Cardiff at the forefront of this thinking amongst Welsh local authorities, and we look forward to seeing the capital build further on such a positive start.”

For more information on Carbon Literacy and the training opportunities available visit the Carbon Literacy training section of our website.

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Doing the little things in Cardiff on St. David’s Day

This St David’s Day, we are asking organisations across Cardiff to think about the little things they can do to ensure a fair day’s pay for their workers, whether it’s understanding how to become an accredited Living Wage employer, or reaching out to other organisations to encourage them to consider the real Living Wage, or helping us share the positive messages about the difference that paying the real Living Wage can make.

Cardiff Council is currently the only accredited real Living Wage local authority in Wales. The Council and partners are championing Cardiff as a Living Wage city which is having positive impact on the city and its employees. As of 1 February 2021, 45% of Wales’ total accredited employers were based in Cardiff and Cardiff employers had contributed to 69% of total uplifts in pay. Recent research by Cardiff University has shown that real Living Wage accreditation by 124 Cardiff employers has resulted in 7,735 workers receiving a pay rise which has added over £32m to the local economy in just over 8 years.

To hear more about the benefits of the real Living Wage from employers and employees in Cardiff please watch this video.

Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said:

“The seemingly small things really can make a big difference, and I know the significant impact paying the real Living Wage has had in the lives of our own staff. We’re pleased to be supporting organisations across the city to enable them to do the same for their own employees, and this St David’s Day I would encourage any Cardiff business interested in paying the real Living Wage to get in touch to find out more.”

Cardiff Council understand the wider benefits that the real Living Wage can bring to individuals and employers, as well as to the City; and they have made a commitment to reimbursing accreditation fees for SME employers based in Cardiff through their accreditation support scheme. For more information about the real Living Wage in Cardiff please visit the website.

Cardiff Council also encourages local employers to provide a Payroll Savings and Loans Scheme to their staff, enabling their employees to save directly from their salaries and if needed, access affordable credit from an ethical provider. More information can be found on this on the Cardiff & Vale Credit Union’s website.

Cynnal Cymru is the accrediting body for the real Living Wage in Wales and are here to help you through the accreditation process. Get in touch, join the movement, do the little things.

We wish you all a happy St David’s Day. Diolch yn fawr!

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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/ 

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A Green Recovery For The Public Sector After Covid-19

Since March 2020 our world has fundamentally changed.

The shared impact of the pandemic has made us realise how the mundane things we take for granted can be taken away overnight.

This is exactly what environmental scientists have been warning us about for thirty years.

However, as we rebuild after Covid, we have an opportunity to think about the changes needed to create a world in which people can thrive without harming the environment that supports them.

We also have to acknowledge that Covid-19 has been very damaging for some sectors and the same will be true of climate and ecological change. The challenge for public and private sector organisations in Wales and across the world is to be adaptive and resilient.

In Wales, the Well-being of Future Generations Act and Environment Act provide the public sector with a legal and moral duty to “build back better and greener”.

Public Health Wales, in particular, has risen to the challenge, working with us in 2019 to develop workshops and action plan templates that will help the health sector and other public bodies to achieve the environmental objectives that the legislation requires.

These initiatives focus on environmental action by addressing four key themes:

  1. Decarbonisation – reducing our emissions of the gasses that cause global warming and the consequent climate change.
  2. Zero waste – ensuring we no longer bury or burn ‘waste’ but reduce the volume of materials we extract from nature by re-purposing, re-using and recycling everything.
  3. Biodiversity – the health, abundance and richness of natural systems so that other species can thrive with us in a harmonious balance of humans and nature. 
  4. Adaptation – adapting to the climate changes we have already triggered by our use of fossil fuels and cannot therefore stop. 

The assets that have been created provide an environmental ‘call to action’ for the health sector in Wales through a series of workshops to develop a shared approach to environmental responsibility. It’s important that we acknowledge that everyone has a responsibility towards the environment whilst recognising its many potential co-benefits.

On top of this, an environmental management module has been created, to complement the DIFT training for public sector teams. SIFT stands for Sustainability Improvements For Teams and the SIFT suite of workshops is being developed to support the delivery of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.

We anticipate releasing the “Healthy Environment Module” for use by public sector teams this month.

But we must note that it’s not just the public sector that holds this responsibility.

Private companies similarly relying on people, must play their part. We have seen the private sector adapt to Covid-19 with the entrepreneurial energy that underpins all business success. Companies have quickly changed their business models, finding new products or services to provide or changing the way existing product reaches the customer.

Everyone has been affected by the pandemic, whether directly or indirectly, just as the environmental crisis threatens every household and familyAs with Covid-19, we have to turn and face our threats and realise that the environment is not something separate from us.

It is where we get our raw materials from, what we eat, drink and breathe. It’s not too late to do something about global warming and climate change. We can halt the extinction of species and the erosion of nature by working collectively and making positive contributions.

In the words of the International Panel on Climate Change – “no action is too small”.

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Sustainable Academy Spotlight Event Recap

Thank you to everyone that attended our Sustainable Academy Spotlight last week (03 December) in partnership with Renewable UK Cymru and to our past award winners Meleri Davies, Paul Allen and Grant Peisley and our headline sponsor, Sarah Williams, who all shared their progress over the past 12 months and insights into future ambitions and projects. 

Sarah Williams, Wales & West Utilities – Headline sponsor of Sustainable Academy Awards 

Sarah Williams shared Wales & West Utilities sustainable plan for the future, including four key business areas that Wales & West Utilities is currently developing: 

  1. Investing in green gases – hydrogen and biomethane
  2. Delivering a net-zero ready gas network by 2035
  3. Committing to zero to landfill by 2035 
  4. Increasing electric vehicle use

The organisation is keen to speak to any partners that would like to form a green panel. Please email sarah.williams@wwutilities.co.uk if you’d like to be included.

Meleri Davies, Partneriaeth Ogwen – Winner of Sustainability Champion 2019 

Last year’s Sustainability Champion winner, Meleri Davies shared details of her hometown in the beautiful Ogwen Valley and the Partneriaeth Ogwen enterprise which seeks to bring together the economy, language and culture, the environment, society and sustainability. 

Over the past twelve months, the project has grown in strength and size, taking over the community library where various sustainable measures are in place, including edible plants on the land, utilising renewable energy and the use of an electric car.  

She shared more about Ynni Ogwen, which is a project that produces electricity from hydroelectric power from Afon Ogwen and finally, ideas for developing a future plan for sustainable tourism in the area. 

Learn more about their work here: www.partneriaethogwen.cymru 

Paul Allen – Centre for Alternative Technology – winner of the Special Award 2019 

Winner of the Special Award 2019 for his dedication and work with the Centre for Alternative Technology, Paul discussed the cycle of demand for renewable energy and the policies and measures that could be put in place for people to understand and action zero-carbon solutions.

He touches on the importance of Carbon Literacy training to all people in leadership in Wales and also the importance of citizen engagement with local Councils on the declaration of a climate emergency and related action plans. 

Click here to find out more about CAT’s work and Zero Carbon Britain. 

Grant Peisley, YnNi Teg – winner of Outstanding Renewable Energy Project 2018 

Our 2018 winner of Outstanding Renewable Energy Project, Grant Peisley, Director of the community wind turbine project YnNi Teg delves into the success of the project over the past 12 months. 

He shares that 2000 tonnes of Co2 has been saved since 2016 and that a total of 16,000 tonnes will be saved over its lifetime. Also, Grant shared the organisations latest campaign ‘pants powered by wind’ which received the away for Best Community Energy photo of the year.

YnNi Teg’s current goal is to develop more similar projects across Wales, starting with the Bretton Hall project which is in the works for 2023. Grant is working on raising £30million in order to complete the plan for building a solar farm. 

It was great to see so many faces to celebrate action towards a more sustainable Wales. We hope that next year we will be able to hold the Sustainable Academy Awards again. If you would like to keep up to date with the awards, please visit www.sustainableacademy.wales and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for regular news and updates.

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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

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Carbon Literacy logo

Grasshopper Communications Takes First Steps in Becoming Carbon Literate

One of our members, Grasshopper Communications recently completed Carbon Literacy training with us. This is how director, Hannah Dineen feels the training has impacted the organisation to take action on climate change both internally and on a personal level…

Many of us may feel we care about the climate change emergency but feel overwhelmed about how much information is out there and how to take action to actually make a difference.

For me personally, having just attended Cynnal Cymru’s Carbon Literacy Training, I feel better equipped to take action to make a difference to reduce my carbon footprint and carbon offset.

So, we’re all aware the world is getting warmer and we’ve got a climate emergency. The NASA time machine has helped me to clearly visualise how the earth’s key climate indicators (sea ice, sea level, carbon dioxide and global temperature) have changed over my lifetime.

So how will this affect you and me?

Climate change is already happening before our eyes. Rainfall patterns are becoming increasingly unpredictable with a shift towards a ‘feast and famine’ regime. The potential for declining water availability and potential water scarcity is likely to have a negative affect on agricultural (crop or pasture) production resulting in food price spikes.

The floods in South Wales in February 2020 hit the poorest communities, many of whom lacked insurance to cover the cost of the wrecked belongings and struggling to pay for repairs.

Rising sea levels is threatening many of our flood defences.  Defending seaside towns and villages, roads and railways will prove costly and unsustainable. Natural Resources Wales are therefore exploring opportunities for nature based solutions and adaption to our coast.

Climate change is also changing the patterns of migratory birds and increasing pests and diseases. The RSPB has responded by exploring different management techniques.  The parts of the Ynyshir reserve in the Dyfi estuary has now been allowed to flood during high tides and storms, creating a much needed new marshland for the migrating birds.

So how can we make a difference? 

DRIVERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Our use of energy is one of the major contributors to climate change. We need to reduce our energy consumption and our reliance on fossil fuels. For starters, we could all switch to a green energy provider or invest in a community energy share offer.

The Welsh Government has set a target for 70% of Wales’ electricity to be generated by renewables by 2030. The Welsh Government report ‘Energy Generation in Wales : 2019’ shows positive signs towards meeting the target and estimates that 51% of electricity consumption comes from renewables.

Additionally, renewable energy projects bring co-benefits, for example Vattenfall’s Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in the South Wales Valleys, has supported over 100 local jobs and an annual investment of £1.8m to make a difference to the lives of local people.

The construction and running of buildings is a significant contributor to our carbon footprint. Whether it’s school, hospitals, offices or homes, the development sector is striving to achieve net zero buildings. We are looking forward to delivering communications on behalf of a collaboration of 68 partners, managed by Sero, that has just been awarded £7m of Welsh Government’s  Optimised Retrofit Funding to roll out the large scale decarbonisation of homes across Wales.

The Royal Town Planning Institute’s campaign ‘Plan the World We Need’ is calling on governments across the UK and Ireland to capitalise on the expertise of planners to achieve a sustainable, resilient and inclusive recovery and meet net-zero targets by 2050.

The recent Cynnal Cymru event, ‘Greening the Screen’ showcased how the film production industry is becoming more sustainable.  Arup’s recent research ‘A Screen New Deal’ shows that  an average tentpole film production generates 2,840 tonnes of CO2e, the equivalent amount absorbed by 3,709 acres of forest in a year.  The report recommends the industry strive to reuse materials, design sets for deconstruction and repurpose thus additionally contributing to the Circular Economy agenda.

Roger Williams from Joio Production spoke of how sustainability was put at the heart of producing the latest series of Bang on S4C.  Commitment to deliver positive sustainable actions resulted in removing paper cups from set, only printing call sheets on request, advocating the use of public transport and sourcing costumes from local charity shops.

Communities are equally coming together to act. The Edible Porthmadog project shows how residents and school children have reused old boats as planters for fruit and vegetables to provide local produce to local people.  The Llani Car Club provides its 27 members access to a car (including electric car).  The members have shared how it has helped them to reduce their car mileage, car share more and learn how to use public transport.  The Awel Co-op runs two wind turbines on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, 20 miles north of Swansea providing enough energy to supply over 2,500 homes.  The profits help tackle fuel poverty and develop other renewable energy projects.

So, pause for a moment.  Do you know what you are contributing to climate change?  Why not calculate your organisation’s emissions or calculate your carbon footprint as a household? If you want to know more, ‘How bad are bananas?’ by Mike Berners gives an invaluable and entertaining guide that shows just what effect everything has on carbon emissions, from a Google search to a plastic bag, from a flight to a volcano.

The carbon literacy training has spurred me on to act and embed carbon reduction into my daily lifestyle and encourage others to do the same.

Our next Carbon Literacy open course takes place from 14-17 December, and spaces are now open.

Visit: https://bit.ly/CC_CarbonLiteracy

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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

Every Week Should Be Climate Week  Read More »

Cardiff Council Launches ‘One Planet’ Vision for a Carbon Neutral City by 2030

‘One Planet Cardiff’ sets out the Council’s response to the climate change emergency and calls upon businesses and residents to join forces with the council to make the lifestyle changes required, if Wales’ capital is to become a truly ‘Green’ and sustainable city over the next ten years.

The strategy, which will go to Cardiff Council’s Cabinet for approval on Thursday, October 15, launches in the same month as the council switches on its new 9MW solar farm.

Built on the old Lamby Way landfill site, the solar farm – which is equivalent in size to 20 Principality Stadium pitches – will offset almost 3,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). It also has the ability to generate enough Green energy to power approximately 2,900 homes every year for 35 years.

The solar farm is just one of a number of projects the council has brought to fruition to help tackle the Climate Emergency. The One Planet strategy documents several others which will go to consultation, including:

– A new district heating scheme;

– Increasing tree canopy coverage in the city by 25%;

– Ending the council’s use of single-use plastics;

– Reopening the city centre’s canals as part of a sustainable water management scheme;

– A farm park at Forest Farm to produce food for the city; and

– A sustainable food market in Cardiff market

Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council said: “In recent years, Cardiff Council has brought forward a range of initiatives to reduce its Carbon Footprint. Projects such as installing solar-energy systems on Council homes, introducing LED Street lighting on the city’s road network, improving energy efficiency in Council buildings, and generating 1.3 Megawatts of solar energy in our schools and public buildings have all helped reduce the Council’s direct Carbon Emissions by 45% since 2005. In the same time period, Cardiff’s carbon emissions have reduced in the domestic sector by 38% and in the industrial and commercial sector by 55%.

“Despite this success, we need to do more. That’s why we declared a Climate Emergency last year, and why we’re publishing this strategy today so we can deliver our vision of being carbon neutral by 2030. The need for change is right here, right now. Carrying on as we are is not a viable option. It’s not sustainable. We are all going to have to think and act differently. The council will do everything it can to drive this agenda forward, but all of us as individuals now also need to look at how we live, and all of us need to start making choices about what legacy we want to leave for our children.

“In some ways the pandemic has changed how many of us are living our lives now. More of us are working from home, we are finding ways to adapt and to get by without using our cars every day. We have begun to live more locally, using our local shops and nearby attractions. It has begun a process of re-evaluation, and it’s this process, this shift, that I believe we must use to help shape the way we think about our future. Any post-pandemic economic revival – an economic revival which will be sorely needed – must be one heavily focussed on green technologies. It should be based on creating jobs that help build and design a sustainable future for our city. As a council we have a role to play encouraging and driving these job opportunities. This is what the ‘One Planet’ strategy is all about – looking at ways we can design, deliver and safeguard the future for all of us. I urge the people of Cardiff to take part in this consultation and to join us, and help us, as we seek to make Cardiff carbon neutral by 2030.”

Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and the Environment, Cllr Michael Michael, said: “The statistics show that Cardiff is currently a three-planet city. This means, if everyone in the world consumed natural resources and generated carbon dioxide at the rate we do in Cardiff, then we would need the resources of three planets to enable us to carry on as we do. Quite clearly something has to give. I want people to join us on this journey as we aim to build a better, greener future.

“This document builds on the great ground we have covered so far in driving the city towards a carbon neutral future, but highlights that there is still a long way to go.

“If we are to achieve our ambitions then we need everyone in Cardiff to join us. This is about creating a brighter, sustainable future for our children and our children’s children.”

Cardiff Council’s aim is to become a ‘One Planet’ city by 2030. It will do that by focusing on the following 7 key themes.

Housing & the Built Environment

The Council has already brought 9,500 energy-efficient measures into houses across the city, and has delivered award-winning, energy-efficient Council house developments. It has also also installed energy-efficient boilers and other energy-saving measures in many of our core buildings, and achieved a 5% carbon reduction per year in our own direct activities by reducing the amount of energy we use. In our “10-Day Turn Down” campaign earlier this year 42 of our schools managed to reduce their electricity consumption by an average of 6% just through more careful management of energy.

The key projects that are being put forward in this sector are:

– A large-scale housing re-fit;

– Delivering 1,500 high-quality, sustainable homes in wards across the city;

– Delivering a zero-carbon, pilot, housing estate project at the old Eastern High School site;

– Developing a blueprint for all new schools so they are built to a carbon neutral standard; and

– Putting climate change at the heart of the new Local Development Plan (LDP) and planning guidance

Energy

The Council has already implemented a hydroelectric scheme at Radyr Weir, and has supported a number of new innovations in renewable energy, including portable solar panel technologies that can provide clean energy for events and other “pop-up” activities, and an innovative heating system that is providing renewable heat drawn from shallow ground water at Grangetown Nursery school. The Council is continuing to support the British Geological Survey to map out this available heat source under the city, looking for hot spots which could be used to substitute gas heating in nearby buildings.

14,000 new LED street lights have been installed across the road network. This has reduced the amount of energy they use by 60% and more are planned.

The Council’s pension fund has divested £200m away from fossil fuel companies into a fund which tracks the Low Carbon Index. Plans are in place to divert the remaining sums of money in the pension fund by 2025.

The Council will also continue to work with universities and researchers on new ideas to further reduce C02emissions in the city.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

– The new Solar Farm at the former Lamby Way landfill site. This facility will generategreen energy, equivalent to the typical demand needed to power approximately 2,900 homes every year, for the next 35 years;

– The delivery of the first phase of Cardiff’s new District Heating System which will use heat produced by Viridor’s Energy Recovery Facility at Trident Park. This project will provide low-carbon heat to large buildings and properties in Cardiff Bay. In energy terms alone it will significantly improve the efficiency of the waste facility and provide up to 80% CO2 reduction in customer buildings, compared to their current gas heating systems.

Transport

The Council recently set out a transport vision for the city for the next 10 years. Its Transport White Paper was published in January. The transport strategy sets out projects to improve public transport, as well as improvements to routes and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians. Some of these projects are now being brought forward as part of the COVID-19 Recovery Plan, with two new pop up cycleways planned to be in place by the end of this year.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

– A cross city train-tram service connecting Creigiau in the west of the city with St Mellons in the east;

– A Cardiff circle tram-line which will connect Radyr and Coryton, by extending the existing city line service;

– The completion of the transport interchange on the former Marland House site;

– The development of a cross-city bus network, by creating bus priority lanes to key destinations in the city;

– New park & ride facilities at Junction 32 and 33 off the M4;

– Progressing with a business case for a congestion charge in the city;

– Remodelling roads in the city centre to improve routes for buses, cyclists and pedestrians;

– The development of an integrated-cycle network through wards across the city’s boundary, which in the main will be separated from traffic.

Green infrastructure and biodiversity

Cardiff is fortunate to have a substantial amount of parkland and green spaces in the city centre. Bute Park’s trees play an invaluable role in absorbing carbon dioxide (C02). The Council has a number of partnerships in place to increase the space in parkland for pollinators; is assessing tree cover in the city and looking at ways to expand tree cover both on council and private land; and is working on raising awareness among school children about nature and biodiversity.

The ‘Giving Nature a Home’ project has connected 11,399 children to nature through a free outreach programme, available to all Cardiff’s schools. Green habitat corridors have been established and an ‘i-tree survey’ is underway to assess the tree cover in the city.

Other measures have included installing a ‘green wall’ which absorbs C02outside Tredegerville Church in Wales Primary school, and there are plans to roll out similar schemes in schools across the city.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

– Working with partners including the city’s schools, to encourage a major tree planting exercise in the city;

– Investigations of the feasibility of a local tree farm to supply this need;

– Building and developing environmental volunteer networks;

– Delivering enhanced green/blue biodiverse habitats through Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SuDs); and

– Implementing the recommendations of the ‘i-tree’ survey on tree cover in the city to increase tree cover from 19% to 25%.

Developing low-cost, healthy foods

While it is accepted that Cardiff will never be able to be self-sufficient in its food production, there are clear opportunities to increase the amount of food that we grow locally. Residents can also play their part by choosing healthier and more sustainable food to eat.

The key projects being put forward in this sector for consideration are:

– A hydroponics growing unit will be set up in Bute Park using a shipping container which can grow the equivalent of 3.5 acres of food;

– Revamping Cardiff Market into a sustainable and local food market;

– Increasing local food production by making council-owned land available for community groups to grow food;

– Using the planning process to plan for space to grow local food;

– Increasing commercial opportunities for growing local food in the city on new housing developments;

– Exploring the possibility of a ‘food park’, which would bring together advocates and interested parties for local food growing into one location; and

– Looking at how our food procurement processes can be adjusted to bring more support for a sustainable food sector.

Waste Management

Since 2001, the city’s recycling and composting rate has increased from 4% up to 58%, with Welsh Government targets in place to reach 70% by 2025. Cardiff is currently the best core city for recycling and measures are in place to reach Welsh Government’s challenging targets.

A partnership has been set up with five local authorities to treat waste which cannot be easily recycled to produce green energy and further recycling materials.

The city’s food waste is processed at an Anaerobic Digestion plant to produce green energy and a fertiliser which can be used on agricultural land. This means the Council currently isn’t sending any waste to landfill.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

– Reforming our kerbside waste collections by increasing the quality of the recycling collected using kerbside sorting – specifically the glass stream;

– Continuing roll out of the Pink Sticker educational campaign, designed to reduce contamination in both the recycling and composting waste streams;

– Improving customer service and the controls at the city’s recycling centres to maximise the amount of recycling recovered;

– Exploring the options of a new residential and commercial recycling centre in the north of the city to accommodate further growth when it is required;

– Exploring new models to manage green garden waste;

– Delivering a new Reuse Centre by working with the third sector;

– Removing all single-use plastics from council venues, with plans to replace the green bags provided to residents for recycling with reusable sacks; and

– Working with Welsh Government to deliver the Circular Economy Strategy.

Water

As a result of climate change, more extreme weather patterns are being seen across the globe. This increases the likelihood of flooding and drought. Measures need to be put in place to decelerate the impacts of climate change, preventing the twin threats Cardiff faces from flash flooding and rising sea levels.

The award-winning Greener Grangetown project uses the latest sustainable drainage techniques (SuDs) to catch, clean, and divert rain water directly into the river Taff. This project is the first ever to be retrofitted into a community and ensures that over 42,000m2of surface water – the equivalent of 10 football pitches – is being removed from the waste water network. This project also has substantive savings in energy that would otherwise be used to pump the water into the sewage works.

The Rhiwbina Flood Defence project has also been installed which protects 200 homes and businesses from flooding and works have also been carried out at Waterloo gardens.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

– Ensuring that all developments which are 100m2or bigger have a sustainable drainage system in place to manage on-site surface water. This includes the new cycleways;

– Implementing river flood defences on the river mouth and lower estuary of the River Rhymney, protecting properties and amenities as well as ensuring that the former landfill site is protected from erosion;

– Opening up Churchill Way Canal Dock Feeder and restoring the historic city centre waterway. This will manage surface water in a more sustainable way and increase the opportunity for more trees and biodiversity alongside the route; and

– Make drinking water refill stations available across the city to avoid the need for single-use plastic bottles.

Have your say

The council is calling upon the public and business to feedback on the draft strategy to help it shape its final delivery plans. A five-month period of consultation is due to open after Cabinet takes the report on Thursday afternoon, October 15.

A series of more detailed engagement events will also be held with stakeholders throughout the consultation period. These will focus on selected topics and on gathering the views of a wide variety of stakeholder groups, including young people and schools.

The full One Strategy document and report can be found on the One Planet Cardiff website.

Cardiff Council Launches ‘One Planet’ Vision for a Carbon Neutral City by 2030 Read More »

Carbon Literacy Consortium Demonstrates Partnership Working at it’s Very Best

Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru – CLCC is a consortium of 27 Welsh registered social landlords, who have pooled their money and resources to increase Carbon Literacy within their organisations.

The project aims to give everyone the opportunity to explore what the reality of climate change means for them in their home life and work life.  Equipped with the facts on how human activity, climate and natural systems are inter-related, individuals, communities and organisations are helped to take action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses.

This month seven of the housing associations – Linc Cymru, Taff Housing, Melin Homes, Hafod Housing, Wales and West Housing, Pobl Group, and Tai Tarian – undertook the Carbon Literacy trainer course facilitated through Cynnal Cymru and delivered by Manchester Metropolitan University.

This means nine staff have now completed the course with a further 74 staff signed up in October to complete the train the trainer course. This demonstrates great partnership working and a corporate commitment from all – the trainers within each organisation will roll out training to other staff members in the new year.

Luke Penny – Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru coordinator said:

“It is so exciting to see the first cohort of CLCC trainers go through the Carbon Literacy train the trainer course. This is the first step in establishing a peer to peer learning programme of Carbon Literacy across Welsh housing – empowering organisations to up their game in the response to climate change.”

Director of Cynnal Cymru Sarah Hopkins said:

“This is the second Carbon Literacy consortium that Cynnal Cymru has helped to set up but is by far the largest and most ambitious. We have learned a great deal from the experience and look forward to replicating this great model of partnership and collaboration with other sectors that want to become Carbon Literate.”

Dave Coleman from Carbon Literacy said:

“It has already been inspirational working with Welsh Housing Associations. Seeing and hearing the passion for collaborative working, and the level of commitment to reducing carbon footprint across their organisations, staff and communities is fantastic. We look forward to seeing the partnership continue to thrive and grow, and to seeing the results of that success, in the organisations, communities and nation of Wales.”

Find out more

Find our more about our Carbon Literacy training

Carbon Literacy Consortium Demonstrates Partnership Working at it’s Very Best Read More »

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