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A Great ‘Green Great Britain Week’

October 2018 by Helen Filby

Last week, the 15th October, commenced the first ever Green Great Britain Week. Created by The Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, Green GB Week has been designed to highlight the opportunities clean growth offers the UK, as well as improving understanding of how business, and the public, can contribute to tackling climate change.

Our aim is to educate and engage individuals to create a low carbon culture – so the week was a great fit for Carbon Literacy training to be delivered. Sessions were held by a number of organisations, both across the UK and further afield into Europe, including Castlefield Advisory Partners Ltd, One Manchester, NHS Salford CCG, Rochdale Housing, Keep Scotland Beautiful, and Cynnal Cymru. Over 100 people, from 28 organisations, were trained during the week; with the total count still to be confirmed and rising!

The Wordsworth Trust trained thirteen pupils from Grasmere C of E Primary School early in the week, and then those children went on to deliver CL training to thirteen adults from the village. Being situated in a fairly remote location in the Lake District, the benefits for their community would be far-reaching. Carbon reduction actions within the village could include – organising a walking bus to take the children to school, car sharing when travelling outside of the village (to work and other amenities), switching to renewable energy in the community buildings, together with creating a community garden where food could be grown and the children could learn gardening skills.

Manchester Metropolitan University held a full training day, which includes a morning film screening of ‘Before the Flood’, and then an afternoon activities session. Nine students completed their Carbon Literacy training, whilst a number of others attended just the first half of the training, completing the face-to-face activities the week after. Manchester Metropolitan also held the first day of their six-week student train-the-trainer programme. Attended by ten individuals, this innovative programme is credited with helping Manchester Metropolitan regain the title of ‘UK’s Greenest University 2018’, in the People & Planet University League table.

Among the CL training sessions that were held in Green GB Week, there were also a couple of milestone sessions –

  1. The world’s first Carbon Literacy for Labs training day was held at The University of Manchester. Often laboratories use very energy intensive equipment as part of their work, so an awareness of how to use these in a responsible way, as well as cutting unnecessary waste, ensuring equipment isn’t left on needlessly, and sharing of chemicals and equipment were all topics covered in the innovative session. Hopefully, increased conversation and communication between groups of laboratory users will enable more successful carbon reduction, with opportunities to implement existing low carbon initiatives such a ‘Green Impact Labs’.
  2. Furthermore, the very first course for Chief Executives was delivered at Great Places Housing. This was part of the fulfilment of The Carbon Literacy Project’s and Great Places’ pledge to Manchester Green Summit back in March 2018, enabling other organisations to contribute to the city region’s green ambitions. Engaging Chief Executives, from influential organisations, directly in Carbon Literacy training will help to facilitate the organisational change needed to reach the carbon reduction goals that we are striving for as part of the city’s climate change strategy, Manchester: A Certain Future.
  3. The first ever Carbon Literacy training in Germany also took place during Green GB Week. The training was well received by a group already highly knowledgeable about climate change, and who provided some really insightful feedback on the content and running of the course. Hopefully, more training will be catalysed over the next year as a result of this, so watch this space…
  4. It was also great to see Carbon Literate allies ‘EastEnders’ thread Green GB Week into their storylines for the week.

Green GB Week was a massive success for The Carbon Literacy Project and we are excited by how the organisations we work with really picked up the ball and ran with it, delivering training not just to those within their organisation, but opening up their doors to others in their sector, or producing entirely new materials to branch into new audiences. We feel very proud and grateful to have such empowered allies, and can’t wait to see what the next Green Great Britain Week will bring!

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