Carbon Literacy

How carbon literacy makes a difference

An infographic sharing the small actions Fiona takes to reduce her carbon emissions

Probably like a lot of people, I sometimes wonder what I, as just one person, can really do to effect the change we need in the world. The news can be depressing – even overwhelming. It’s easy to fall into a fatalistic mood and think that nothing we do will really change anything.

Becoming Carbon Literate has given me a more optimistic view of things. At work, I’m surrounded by people who care about the challenges of climate change – and are doing something positive about it. I work closely with the Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru (CLCC) consortium, a group of Welsh registered social landlords who came together to improve Carbon Literacy within their organisations by pooling their knowledge and resources. Cynnal Cymru worked with the Carbon Literacy Project to create a certified course tailored to the housing sector, and volunteers from each member organisation learned how to deliver it and then began rolling it out to their colleagues, providing the peer-to-peer training that is a key tenet of Carbon Literacy. I facilitate regular Community of Practice meetings for the consortium to provide a platform for support and networking, and the enthusiasm and hard work of the trainers are inspiring – and have so far resulted in more than 400 people becoming certified as Carbon Literate. With the consortium due to continue into 2023 and beyond, that number will continue to grow. As part of my own Carbon Literacy group pledge I’ve also been working with the Cynnal Cymru team to create content for our newsletter and social media, providing advice and tips on how everyone can reduce their daily carbon footprint.

Outside the office, I’ve been doing my best to reduce my own carbon footprint – and the training has given me the knowledge I need to make meaningful changes. It taught me that some of my preconceptions were wrong, and that something as simple as buying a new pair of jeans can have a huge carbon footprint. I’ve now restricted myself to only buying essential items of clothing, buying second hand if possible, and if not then choosing companies that have good sustainability policies. We’ve also just made the switch to a full electric car – it’s a bit of a step into the unknown, but should significantly lower our household’s carbon footprint. My individual Carbon Literacy pledge was to not take another commercial flight, but I’ve also become much more aware of the importance of the things I do every day. Taking a shower, making a cup of tea, even sending an email – everything we do has a carbon footprint, and thanks to the training, I understand much better now how to make changes to the little things that will have a much larger cumulative effect. The Carbon Literacy training bridges the gap between enthusiasm and knowledge, providing the keystone that informs what we do and the impact we can have. The choices I make now are far more informed, and I am confident that they are making a difference.

Find out more about our Carbon Literacy course

10 years of The Carbon Literacy Project

It was five years ago that I first met Dave Coleman, co-founder and director of the Carbon Literacy Project. He had come to Wales at the invitation of the then Director of the Size of Wales Project. They had met at the historic Paris COP summit where The Project was awarded TAP100 status. Dave presented the Carbon Literacy Project on a sunny morning to a small group of us in Cardiff. At that time, in 2016, the CL Project was only operating in Manchester and Scotland and Dave was looking for partners in other parts of the UK. I listened carefully, asked questions and then reported excitedly to my colleagues in Cynnal Cymru that I had found something that we simply had to get involved with.

We delivered our first Carbon Literacy course in 2017 and five years, 700+ trainees 200+ organisations and 1476 pledges later, I had the great pleasure to attend the tenth birthday party of the Carbon Literacy Project on Tuesday the 1st of November 2022 in Manchester.

In the early days after first meeting Dave, we worked together to introduce Carbon Literacy in Wales. Progress was slow at first but the recent exponential growth of the project in Wales is mirrored across the world. Globally the project is now on 43.5 thousand trainees and just under four thousand organisations engaged. Dave and colleagues have extrapolated the rate of growth and think a target of 1 million people trained could be reached by 2030 or earlier. Each month, the calculations push that target closer to 2022, month by month, as the enquiries, bookings and certifications continue to pour in.

I am very pleased to be able to say that I was the first certified Carbon Literacy trainer in Wales and that Cynnal Cymru was the first organisation in Wales to champion the project. We worked hard to establish it and prove its worth but hey look – this isn’t about me or us. Carbon Literacy is about everyone. We are delighted that more people are offering the training in Wales and as we say to all our clients, our role is to start you off. Ultimately Carbon Literacy works best when the trainee is being trained by someone like them…. When the conversations around climate change are embedded in the context of the participants and when actions are agreed in a collaborative atmosphere by peers challenging each other and holding each other to account. And everyone needs to get better at following up on the actions pledged and calculating/estimating the carbon savings that result.

Being in Manchester for the tenth birthday celebration felt like being part of a family. But every one of us there knew that while we could pause to savour the success, our pleasure could only be short lived. There is still an enormous mountain to climb. Global warming looms over us like a huge wave of destruction threatening everything we love and take for granted. There are powerful forces of ignorance and greed that push against the growing surge of citizen action and enlightened corporate commitment. People are asking us what we should be looking for from COP in Egypt. Our message is clear. Look for nothing. Look only to your own spheres of control and influence. Take care of your world. You are one of a growing number. Tipping points can be positive as well as negative and no-one knows which small action will start the avalanche or spark the revolution. The world does change for better as well as for worse. For one short evening in Manchester we smiled and enjoyed our achievements but the following day it was back to work. Indeed, some important colleagues missed the celebration because they were delivering evening Carbon Literacy training! This does not stop. It can not stop. Cynnal Cymru is ready to help you start your Carbon Literacy journey. We are waiting to hear from you.

Find out more about our Carbon Literacy and Train the Trainer courses

How the CLCC is breaking down barriers in climate education

Since its inception, 75 members have become trainers and 157 individuals have certified as carbon literate. CLCC’s Project Lead (Luke Penny) and Facilitator (Fiona Humphreys) were interviewed by Abi Hoare Development Officer at Cynnal Cymru to share the story behind the collaboration.

What is the CLCC?

Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru (CLCC) is a consortium of 27 different housing associations in Wales, which have individually contributed resources to increase Carbon Literacy throughout Welsh social housing.

Through peer-to-peer delivery, the project provides the tools necessary for individual tenants to understand the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as empower them to act upon their choices. At the close of 2021, 75 trainers were involved, and 157 individuals had been certified as Carbon Literate, even though most independent courses weren’t due to start until 2022.

What is a consortium?

Effectively, a consortium is a formal collaboration, where people work together to achieve a common objective. In this instance, the common objective is to certify as many Carbon Literate individuals as possible within housing associations – both staff and tenants.

How does it work?

Each of the housing associations involved have contributed resources to fund the development of Carbon Literacy delivery within their individual organisations. Currently, 75 staff members have attended Cynnal Cymru’s ‘Train the Trainer’ course to support their teaching.

Even though the delivery is down to the trainer’s own discretion, participants will typically receive a day’s worth of virtual peer-to-peer learning, before submitting an evidence form to become certified. This will feature two pledges that will have a positive effect on carbon reduction at home and in their workplace/ with a group.

What is its main advantage?

Firstly, it removes the ‘us and them’ narrative that dampens climate activism and makes it inaccessible. One of the difficulties with climate change discourse, is that it’s difficult to know where to start if you have no formal education.

By providing Carbon Literacy training through housing associations, the course can give individuals the starting block they need that they may not have had the time, money, or knowledge to access otherwise.

How has working in collaboration increased action on Carbon Literacy?

In simple terms, by training new trainers, more individuals can take part in the Carbon Literacy Project than before. Not to mention, the resulting network and Communities of Practice are providing moral support that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

The energy and excitement of the CLCC’s trainers is what makes all the difference, so having a safe space to share experiences and challenges has helped significantly.

What role does Cynnal Cymru play in the consortium?

Cynnal Cymru acts purely within a secretariat and facilitator role. It has no specific requirements within the project, besides its initial creation and providing the necessary tools and support. What housing associations and trainers choose to do with Carbon Literacy beyond that is entirely their own decision.

What’s next for the CLCC?

A second version of the course is currently in development based upon the feedback received in the Communities of Practice, but the next big step is translating the course and delivering it entirely in Welsh.

In time, there is the possibility of starting new Carbon Literacy consortiums in different sectors or industries where Cynnal Cymru are available to offer that inception and on-going support role.

Free Carbon Literacy Training

*Rural Newport includes the wards of Llanwern, Marshfield, Graig, Langstone, and Caerleon.

Up to 90 free online training places are available for members of the community in the area who’d like to know more about the Climate crisis and how to take action.

There are also up to 116 places available for Town or Community Councils and those looking after Community Buildings.

Carbon Literacy is a training course which develops an awareness of:

“the carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis.”

Participants will:

  • Develop action plans for themselves and a group
  • Use their knowledge for the benefit of their own lives, their local area and the Climate.
  • Those successfully completing the course will be awarded a certificate
  • Follow-up contact will help them maintain progress and share ideas to inspire others.

Duration

The course is “A day’s worth of learning spread across one week.”
Several cohorts will run online from January – March 2022 – you can see the available dates and booking links below
Participants will:

  • Join two online sessions (3hours each on different days)
  • Complete 1 hours worth of self-directed learning online at their convenience
  • Give a total time commitment of 7 hours across one calendar week.

Members of the Community – find your cohort here!

Choose a Cohort number from the table below. Follow the booking link and click on the cohort number to book your place on both Workshops.

Cohort Name and No.Workshop Dates and TimesBooking Link
Community Cohort 1 1. January 11th 2022 09:30-12:30
2. January 13th 2022 09:30 -12:30
Book your place
Community Cohort 2 1. January 25th 2022 18:00-21:00
2. January 27th 2022 18:00-21:00
Book your place
Community Cohort 31. February 21st 2022 13:30 – 16:30
2. February 23rd 2022 13:30 -16:30
Book your place

Town and Community Councils and those looking after Community Buildings – find your cohort here!

Choose a Cohort number from the table below. Follow the booking link and click on the cohort number to book your place on both Workshops.

Cohort Name and No.Workshop Dates and TimesBooking Link
Councils and Buildings Cohort 11. January 18th 2022 18:00-21:00
2. January 20th 2022 18:00-21:00
Book your place
Councils and Buildings Cohort 21. February 7th 2022 13:30-16:30
2. February 9th 2022 13:30 -16:30
Book your place
Councils and Buildings Cohort 31. February 21st 2022 13:30-16:30
2. February 23rd 2022 13:30 -16:30
Book your place
Councils and Buildings Cohort 4 1. March 8th 2022 09:30-12:30
2. March 10th 2022 09:30 – 12:30
Book your place

The free places are available thanks to Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government’

The Carbon Cost of your Christmas Tree

As the Partner in Wales for the Carbon Literacy Project and a growing team working on our consultancy offer– we are often considering, as a Team, the Carbon cost of everyday choices. Sometimes, at Christmas we can get overwhelmed by wanting to enjoy the festive season to the fullest but also make the most ethical and environmentally friendly choices.

We’re hoping the below considerations from Karolina can help you to do that regarding your Christmas tree;

According to Carbon Trust, the fake tree has a much higher carbon footprint than a real tree, because of the processes that go into producing one.

The estimated carbon footprint of a fake tree is 40kg, compared to 16kgs for a real tree (if both end in a landfill).

So, the emissions to avoid after Christmas aren’t the ones produced by eating too many sprouts. The real issue is to do with the disposal of the trees – real or fake.  If both trees end up in landfill – the fake tree might take hundreds of years to decompose, whilst the real tree will emit methane – a very potent greenhouse gas.

If you want to avoid these trees going to landfill, you can reuse the fake tree and pass it on to your family (think of it as an heirloom tree – a forever tree that can be passed down through the generations). Whereas a real tree can be chopped and turned into wood chips that can later be used for mulching.

The best thing you can do to keep your Carbon emissions down is to plant a tree in a pot, watch it grow, bring it indoors for Christmas and take it outdoors until the next year. Or, adorn your existing plants at home with festive LED lights.

Growing real Christmas trees at mass might take away precious land that can be used for creating carbon sinks, in other words, real forests for people and wildlife.

So, if you want to be environmentally friendly this season, use what you have at home and garden already, have a friendly chat with small scale suppliers as to how they manage their land to learn about the process of growing trees, and focus on planting trees or shrubs at the right time and at the right place in your community.

Dr Karolina Rucinska, Sustainability Consultant

Sinclair Group Drives Ahead with Carbon Literacy


Coinciding with the opening of the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow, the event was hosted by sustainable development company Cynnal Cymru, the official Welsh partner of the Carbon Literacy Project, as part of a day to catalyse action on climate change.

Nine senior representatives from the Sinclair Group undertook a bespoke training course at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire, where they gained a better understanding of the impact of greenhouse gases and the effects of climate change together with an appreciation of the company’s own footprint and the influence this has on the local environments around its 21 dealerships and much further afield.

They are the first business in Wales to engage with the Carbon Literacy Project at a senior management level and the only motoring group so far. The Sinclair Group represents a number of motor manufacturers that are already taking significant strides towards an emission-free future with the electrification of their vehicle ranges. By 2025, Audi will offer more than 20 models with all-electric drive and estimates around 40 per cent of its sales will be for electrified models, whilst by the same date, Mercedes-Benz will produce electric-only vehicles as it gets ready to go all-electric by 2030.

Meanwhile as the decade draws to a close, Volkswagen intends to have increased the share of its all-electric vehicle deliveries to more than 70 per cent across Europe. From Brecon to Neyland, Sinclair employees are also making a difference following the appointment of ‘eco-champions’ at each site to co-ordinate colleague suggestions for green initiatives that can be introduced across the Group.

As a result, solar panels have been installed on the roofs of 10 of the Group’s dealerships to convert the sun rays into electricity. The company has also switched its energy supply to providers using renewable sources. Other ideas include the introduction of meat-free Mondays to encourage staff to opt for vegetarian/vegan options at the start of each working week, the use of china cups in showrooms instead of plastic or paper alternatives to reduce waste levels and the installation of recycling stations in every location.

“In partnership with the manufacturers, we recognise that as a retailer we have a responsibility to do all we can to best protect our environment and offset carbon. It is our aim to see an 80% reduction in our carbon footprint by 2035 and to be carbon neutral as an organisation by 2050”


“Our colleagues across the group are already making progress but, as Directors, we want to demonstrate our commitment too and, following our involvement in the Carbon Literacy Action Day, each of us has made a pledge that includes giving our customers access to electric courtesy cars, improving our provisions to car sharing and investing in ethical pension funds.”

“We want to inspire our staff to understand climate change, their role in it and to take positive action at home and at work. That way we can make a positive difference together.”

During their training session, the Sinclair Group received a virtual visit from the Carbon Literacy Project to share the actions resulting from their day of learning with over 30 other leading UK businesses participating in similar events around the country.

Andy Sinclair, Sinclair Group Managing Director

Cynnal Cymru has trained 548 people since they first introduced Carbon Literacy in Wales in 2017. Up until now, they have primarily provided this type of training for the leadership of local authorities but this is the first time that a course has been delivered for the executive directors of a leading Welsh business.

Lead trainer and Principal Consultant, Rhodri Thomas, explained:

“It’s not easy for executive teams to find the time to ask for training. It shows a level of humility, but it is also bold. In fact, it’s a sign of true leadership – being willing to learn in order to improve, innovate and ultimately succeed.
“The Sinclair Group recognises that this is a hugely significant moment for the motor industry. We must stop using fossil fuels – petrol and diesel, but can we really expect people to give up the convenience and freedom of personal mobility? We are on the verge of a revolution in transport and the Sinclair Group wants to lead the way by providing solutions for customers but also ensuring that their own behaviour is exemplary. Carbon Literacy is the perfect tool for bringing about this profound change in business culture.”

Rhodri Thomas, Lead Trainer and Principal Consultant, Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales

The National Botanic Garden of Wales provided a fitting location to host the landmark event.


“It was great to welcome the Sinclair Group to the Botanic Garden and help celebrate a real ‘first’”

“We were delighted they chose us as the venue for their milestone ‘seize-the-day’ moment.”

Huw Francis, Director, National Botanic Garden of Wales

765 Citizens Certified on Carbon Literacy Action Day

On November 1st 2021, to coincide with the first day of negotiations at COP26, Carbon Literacy Action Day took place as a fully inclusive and open to all climate education action. We witnessed thousands of people from all walks of life, sectors, genders, ages and nations all around the world, participate and complete their days’ worth of Carbon Literacy training.

Virtual visits to courses and initiatives were live-streamed throughout the day, and at 17:00 GMT a virtual global tour via Zoom was commenced, giving participants and their groups the opportunity to share some of the best actions coming from their learners. At the same time, the total number of learners participating in the Action Day was being tabulated and actions counted with estimates of the predicted amount of CO2e saved as a consequence.

765 citizens received Carbon Literacy certification on this one day, across the globe as part of the largest ever low-carbon climate education day and developed a greater understanding of climate change and how to take immediate and effective action to tackle the climate crisis.

Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales are the partner for the Carbon Literacy Project in Wales, and you can read about our contribution to the tally in collaboration with members Sinclair Group.

The total of organisations with employees who have completed Carbon Literacy training with us in Wales now stands at 116. This has resulted in 548 certified citizens and 1096 actions pledged.

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

Why has Carbon Literacy proved to be such a success?

Carbon Literacy is a learning methodology that allows people to engage with the huge, complex and frightening reality of climate change and break the challenge down into manageable personal and organisational responses. Formulated in Manchester, the concept has now spread to over ten countries.

Cynnal Cymru is the official partner of the Carbon Literacy Project in Wales. Still managed in Manchester by Cooler Projects and overseen by the Carbon Literacy Trust, the concept 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.”

On the 17th March Cardiff Council announced that it had become the first Welsh local authority to achieve Carbon Literate Organisation status in Wales. They are also the first organisation from any sector in Wales to meet the standard at a bronze level. Carbon Literate Organisation status goes from bronze to platinum.

Our Carbon Literacy trainer, Rhodri Thomas, shares more about the success of Carbon Literacy as well as his goal to reach six platinum level organisations in Wales and many many more at bronze to gold level over the next four years.

Rhodri was also the first resident Welsh certified Carbon Literacy trainer in Wales and has trained over 400 people and has seen the concept take hold in Wales.

Over to Rhodri…

Why has Carbon Literacy proved to be such a success?

Before answering that question, first let’s review what has been achieved:

  • After initially training the Sustainable Development forum of Museum Wales, we supported initial efforts by the whole museum sector to develop bespoke Carbon Literacy training.
  • We co-founded a consortium of twenty seven housing associations and oversaw the training of around 140 staff including a Train The Trainer programme as well as the development of a dedicated Carbon Literacy course for the social housing sector. Our partners in the consortium are launching a cascade of peer to peer training this spring using their own course.
  • We have just completed a project funded by National Resources Wales to train around 200 leaders and influencers from the organisations that make up the five Gwent Public Service Boards. On this we worked with Manchester Metropolitan University and Great Places Housing group.
  • We recently trained the whole cabinet and executive management team of Newport City Council.
  • We developed an introduction to climate change e-learning course for Denbighshire County Council that will accompany their Carbon Literacy training.
  • We designed a Carbon Literacy for Engineers course in collaboration with the Flexis programme.
  • We have trained Cardiff Council colleagues and cabinet members allowing them to apply for the Bronze Carbon Literacy Organisation accreditation.

So why the interest?

Some time ago, I was challenged with, “why should working class people in the valleys be burdened with this knowledge – they are not the ones causing all the problems.”

As I stumbled for a reply, someone else said, “Why shouldn’t they understand climate change and their part in it?”

That for me sums it up. Climate change – the effects and impacts of global warming – will spare no one. And yes, everyone is responsible although of course some people make a greater contribution to greenhouse gas levels than others. But through Carbon Literacy, this big scary problem becomes the stuff of everyday life.

The injustices of it are exposed but so are the solutions and the co-benefits of taking action, and above all, the awareness of personal agency is developed – everyone can do something to reduce emissions and everyone can do something to protect themselves, their families and their communities from the predicted and current impacts of this problem.

Managers, elected leaders, community workers, volunteers, specialists, skilled and unskilled workers and people looking for work have all been helped by the Carbon Literacy method to unpack the problem and stare the monster in the face.

We now have seven local authorities in Wales who have discovered the benefit of Carbon Literacy within the context of their declaration of a climate emergency and their formulation of complex plans to reduce their own and their county’s emissions.

Decarbonisation and climate change adaptation are two big and complicated challenges. They simply cannot be left for a small group of specialists to solve. When we all work together as a team, sharing our knowledge and insights, taking personal as well as collective responsibility, then we can hope to reach more effective solutions faster.

This is what we hope to see now from Cardiff, Newport, Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Caerffili and Denbighshire – all the local authorities that have so far embraced Carbon Literacy – the use of their Carbon Literacy to develop team work, horizontal and vertical collaboration, everyone speaking the same language and striving towards the same goals.

Climate change caused by global heating will define every aspect of life in the twenty first century. Everyone should understand it and be supported to develop a response. It’s not certain that our social and economic systems will adapt, decarbonise and survive what is already starting to happen but we give ourselves a greater chance if we face the problem and deconstruct it. As far as climate change is concerned, ignorance will be a very short lived and morally questionable bliss.

To stay informed about Carbon Literacy training and other training opportunities, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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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