As 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 resource–efficient 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 carbon. It’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!
- 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 [:]