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.