Harrogate Climate Action Festival success but warning about complacency from Green Party

Harrogate Climate Action Festival may have put the town centre stage in the nation’s carbon emissions battle in recent weeks but there’s a warning from Harrogate Green Party that there’s still a “very steep hill to climb”.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 1:46 pm
Shan Oakes, coordinator for Harrogate and District Green Party, said the success of Harrogate’s first-ever Climate Action Festival should not obscure the scale of the task still facing us.

Last Friday saw more than 200 local business delegates and exhibitors joining one of the festival’s main flagship events, the Net Zero Business Conference in person and online.

The audience saw local firms including Yorkshire Water, Bettys and Taylor’s, Chameleon Technology and many more share their own experiences of embracing green policies in their own business practices.

Pictured at the Harrogate Climate Action Festival at Harrogate Convention Centre are Coun Phil Ireland, Andrew Jones MP and event organiser Jade Boggust.

Jade Boggust, who organised the all-day event at Harrogate Convention Centre, said the turnout showed there was positive hope of real change.

She said: “We are delighted to say the first Harrogate Net Zero Business Conference was a huge success. The event provides the foundation for The Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition strategy to support businesses on their own net zero journeys.”

A sign that Harrogate Climate Action Festival is making a wider impact came at the weekend when a group of 12 climate change protesters - who had travelled on foot from Spain - chose to stop off in Harrogate on their way to the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The special visitors were met by members of various Harrogate environmental groups, including Extinction Rebellion, as they reached Pannal before they all walked together into Harrogate.

Shan Oakes, coordinator for Harrogate and District Green Party, said the success of Harrogate’s first-ever Climate Action Festival should not obscure the scale of the task still facing us.

She said: “It was inspiring and uplifting to meet the protesters walking from Zaragoza in Spain.

"I also attended the Net Zero Business Conference and it was certainly useful in bringing business and others together to discuss this enormous issue.

"But it also highlighted the fact we still have a very steep hill to climb if we are to save the planet by stopping the exponential rise in global CO2 and temperature.”

But Professor Neil Coles, pictured, Harrogate District Climate Coalition Chair, who was the opening speaker at the Net Zero Busiess Conference, argued that the event showed Harrogate as a town was on the right path.

He said: “What was really great to see was the number of businesses in Harrogate that have already taken the plunge to decarbonise their businesses.

“I think the festival is showing Harrogate is firmly on the path to meeting its commitments to net zero by 2038, and this starts with local communities, local businesses and local government coming together to deliver greener more beneficial outcomes.”

And Jade Boggust said climate change support for local businesses would continue after the festival had ended.

“We can’t wait to provide details of future events, workshops and initiatives for many more to get involved in,” she said. “By collaborating we can encourage investment in the right areas.”

Having been treated to board and lodgings, the Spanish protesters were given a grand send-off at Harrogate’s war memorial on Sunday as they set off for Glasgow.

A bit like their journey - Harrogate has enjoyed all the positivity... but there is still a long way to go.

What’s still to come in Harrogate Climate Action Festival Fringe

The official Harrogate Climate Action Festival ended on October 21 but the fringe events will continue beyond that date:

Saturday, October 23: Code Red talks at the Crown Hotel in Harrogate from 4pm with journalist Alister Doyle, climate professor Peter Stott and law specialist Claire Bradbury on what can we do to save the planet. Organised by Harrogate International Festivals.

More info at https://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/whats-on/climate-change-code-red-for-humanity/

Saturday, October 23 and Sunday, October 24: Horticap Open Days from 10am-3pm with a tour and the chance to see the charity’s on-site green credentials.

More info at https://www.hdccc.info/horticap

Thursday, November 30: Epic Steps Sustainability Conference for Children running from 9am-noon at Harrogate College for Year 5 classes from local schools.

More info at https://www.hdccc.info/our-planet-our-home

For more details on Harrogate Climate Action Festival, visit their website at: hdccc.info/whats-on