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So, you've declared a climate emergency - what next?

09 Dec 2019

So, you've declared a climate emergency - what next?

2019 has undoubtedly been a year of climate awakening, culminating in the global climate strike on 20 September. An estimated 7 million people took to the streets - that’s a staggering 1 in 1000 people globally.

With this unprecedented number of people calling for action on the climate and ecological emergency, I’m inspired to see local authorities and governments responding by acknowledging the issue. But admitting there is a problem is the easy bit.

Creating the radical changes needed to prevent catastrophe feels like an insurmountable challenge. It can be done, but you need a plan that everyone can get onboard with. We’ve found an effective way to do this.

Create a shared vision for the future

Embedding sustainability at a city, town or regional level is a powerful move. We must make it easy for people to make sustainable choices – from heating their homes and how they commute to what they buy. Local authorities are uniquely placed to influence all these decisions and scale-up change quickly.

But any change must be owned by local people too. Without the support of the people who live and work in your area, widespread change will be impossible.

For the last 18 months we’ve led the One Planet Cities project, working with four places in four countries to help them create sustainability actions plans. These plans use our One Planet Living framework as a common language to create a shared vision of a happier, healthier future that everyone can understand and work towards.

With its ten simple principles covering health and happiness, land and nature, food, waste and zero carbon energy, One Planet Living creates a joined-up approach to sustainable change. This interconnectedness allows you to spot opportunities for actions that will tackle several principles at the same time.

All four plans were created collaboratively using workshops with local people representing the local authority, businesses, community groups, schools and other organisations, drawing on diverse experience and needs.

Use One Planet Living to tackle the climate emergency

From our learning with the One Planet Cities project, we have created tools to help two key stakeholders in towns and cities use One Planet Living to act on the climate emergency:

For local authorities

We’ve launched a new service for local authorities. It’s designed to help you work out what needs to change, create a vision to work towards, train staff, and set targets in line with climate science.

Building ownership locally is essential. We can work with you to make sure all stakeholders, from local businesses to schools, buy into the wider plan – and help them create their own plans that contribute to it.

You may find the toolkit for community groups below useful too as it outlines the process for co-creating a shared vision with local stakeholders.

For community groups

We know there are 1000s of community groups that want to create a better future for all the people that live in their area.

Our new toolkit for community groups is designed to help you start the process of creating a shared One Planet Living vision and get a wide range of local organisations and businesses onboard - including your local council.

But we also know that community groups are very time and resource-limited. If this is you, we’ve also created a simple list of initiatives to run and actions to take to help your local area become more sustainable.

Radical change is possible – we’ve seen it happen. As we enter 2020 and emissions continue to rise, the situation becomes even more urgent. Join the move towards One Planet Living and be part of the solution to the climate and ecological emergency.

Climate emergency declarations in 1,216 jurisdictions and local governments cover 798 million citizens.

Article & image source: Bioregional

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