Harrogate District Climate Action Festival: Launch event inspires residents to take action

Hundreds of people turned out to ensure that the first Harrogate District Climate Action Festival got off to a flying start.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 9:07 am
Updated Thursday, 7th October 2021, 9:16 am
Visitors enjoyed environmental talks by expert guest speakers on the effects climate change is having on our planet

The three-week event was launched at Harrogate College on Saturday, October 2 when more than 30 sustainability-focused exhibitors spoke to visitors who attended.

They were treated to everything from environmental talks by expert guest speakers to encounters with friendly therapy sheep, an electric converted campervan, a passive house and bike-powered smoothies.

Guests also enjoyed live music courtesy of Leeds Conservatoire, inspired by the theme of climate, and an array of vegan and vegetarian food prepared by Harrogate

College students.

Chair of festival organisers the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition (HDCCC), Professor Neil Coles, said: “It’s great that we’re here and all willing to take action against climate change.

“There’s a window of opportunity for us to take action collectively and it’s not just about business and Government, it’s about all of us as well.

“Through small actions done collectively, we can make a big difference.”

Harrogate College Principle Danny Wild stressed the vital role that education providers have in delivering the green skills that are needed by employers to secure a greener future and stated that they need to be at the centre of providing the local economy with the right skills.

The college is focused on becoming a local centre of green excellence and, under its Sustainability Pledge, is committed to becoming net zero carbon by 2035.

Mr Wild also announced that all of its full-time students will be studying a carbon literacy qualification next year.

He said: “We’re going to require people to acquire new skills at all levels of the workforce so when we’re in conversation with businesses, we’re talking to them about the skills they need for upskilling.

“From the college’s point of view we need to be addressing those skills needs now.”

Professor of Earth Observation at the University of Leeds, Andy Shepherd, echoed those sentiments while outlining just how urgently action is needed.

He told the audience that the Earth is currently losing a staggering one trillion tonnes of ice a year but identified several areas where action could make a difference.

Those included building earth-monitoring satellites, fixing our climate models and adapting our cities and homes to be more efficient and

sustainable.

Reflecting on a busy day packed with positivity, Harrogate College’s Partnerships and Development Lead, Holly Hansen-Maughan, said: “We were really busy and have had so much positive feedback from visitors.

“We are proud to have been able to host the launch of this important festival and wish to express our sincere thanks to everyone who exhibited, contributed and came along.

“We hope that some of the ideas that were shared go on to inspire lots of people to take action.”

For information about further festival events happening over the next three weeks, including the Net Zero business conference at the Harrogate Convention Centre on Friday, October 15, visit: hdccc.info/whats-on