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Carbon Literacy Pioneers

November 2018 by Helen Filby

Monday 29th of October saw the re-convening of our Carbon Literacy Pioneers event, held at HOME, in Manchester. This event was a fantastic way of bringing together trainers from multiple sectors, giving them a chance to connect, whilst informing them about all The Carbon Literacy Project’s updates.

We started with project headlines – outlining some changes to the team, as well as our most up-to-date expansion statistics from the past year, and new developments. This provided us with a chance to mention a recently developed and exciting new course, Carbon Literacy for Labs, which is happening during October and November at the University of Manchester.

Furthermore, changes to the Carbon Literacy Standard were discussed, with particular emphasis on the importance of significant individual and group actions when it comes to evidence for the certification of participants. At its core, Carbon Literacy training aims to give society the education and motivation they need to reduce the carbon footprint of their own lives, organisations and communities. Pledging an individual and group action at the end of each training session has shown to be the most effective way of enacting real change, in addition to checking that the message of Carbon Literacy has been effectively communicated. A quick relay of 3 actions: switching to a renewable green energy tariff in your home, reducing your meat and dairy intake, and moving money to a bank that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels; was a perfect reminder of some individual actions that do not involve a massive lifestyle shift, but are extremely effective in reducing a person’s carbon footprint.

Next up on the agenda included a discussion surrounding the recent IPCC report, stressing the importance of the next 12 years in our bid to tackle climate change. This update is particularly relevant, as it affects the urgency and understanding needed in terms of creating a Carbon Literate population. The ‘Zero Carbon’ by 2038 target soon to be set by Greater Manchester and the achievability of this was also a key topic of conversation. Discussions concluded that this target is both necessary and achievable with the technology we have now, but will likely come down to political will, stressing the importance of reaching politicians so they can understand the urgency of the issue and the catastrophic effects of inaction.

The event was also a chance for trainers to explore what has been going well in their training, as well as thinking about key areas for improvement. The excitement and buzz around Carbon Literacy was picked up by multiple trainers, as well as a feeling of how informed people seem to be now on the subject of climate change. Bringing a personal aspect into the topic has also been seen as a success in terms of getting people invested & involved. However, some areas of improvement could include our ability to reach the widest cross-section of society possible. As discussed earlier in the session, no matter what part of the organisation someone comes from, whether they are in management, or in their first day on the job, everyone has their specific knowledge for their role and will, therefore, have something to contribute to the conversation which can ensure that carbon reduction is implemented at every level. A notable quote from one of the trainers:

‘The more diverse the group of people you can get in the room, the better! Education is empowerment!’

As this event has shown, bringing trainers together is beneficial for everyone. If you missed this one, don’t worry, our next Pioneers event should be in the new year. If you haven’t already, you can sign up to our trainer newsletter here, where you will receive all manner of useful information including the times and dates of upcoming events.


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