Climate Week promises collective action on climate change
Last night saw the launch event for 2011’s Climate Week. Climate Week runs from 21 – 27 March and is a national attempt to highlight climate action being taken in workplaces and communities across Britain.
Its main focus is encouraging people to take practical action through the networks they are involved in – workplaces, schools, communities. The plan is for businesses, charities and voluntary organisations, councils, schools and others to run events during Climate Week, showcasing what can be achieved, sharing ideas and encouraging others to get active throughout the year.
Climate Week is the brainchild of social campaigner Kevin Steele and coordinated by a small London based team and judging from last night’s impressive turn out, the week is appealing to a wide range of organisations
Making the keynote speech last night, climate minister, Greg Barker, promised the Government would put the disappointment of COP15 behind them saying “It is clear Government can’t do it on its own, we need to reform, rethink and go forward with a new sense of purpose”. Unsurprisingly, Mr Barker drew parallels between the aims of Climate Week and the coalition’s ideas for a Big Society.
Engaging with such large scale campaigns is indeed an important part of raising awareness of the power that individuals have when they act through their networks and take collective action to tackle the climate challenge we face. But it’s crucial that we don’t lose sight of the large scale investment that’s needed to truly reduce emissions and secure a low carbon economic recovery.
So, can Climate Week, with its host of celebrity supporters, bring issues around climate change into everyone’s living room? Can we open up the debate? Let’s hope so. People are influenced by commonly held views and by the media and we need to mainstream climate action and encourage high profile, highly visual campaigns. The campaign is sponsored by household names, Tesco being the headline partner, and Aviva, RBS, Kellogg’s and EDF acting as supporting sponsors. No doubt there are those observers who will take the stance that the week provides such corporate and banking giants with a proverbial green feather in their cap.
Nonetheless, Climate Week is supported by over 180 organisations and gives everyone else the chance to take some of the kind of mass action that thousands of union environmental reps are already engaging in week in, week out. And that’s without our reps being granted the statutory rights to time off and training they so badly need.
Now, some statutory recognition for our environmental reps really could make a national impact on emission levels.