OPINION: Constructive discussions will help people on their own journey to sustainability - Kirsty Hallett, Harrogate Climate Change Coalition

It was great to see hundreds of local people of all ages enjoying the community day of our local Climate Action Festival at Harrogate College.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 9:31 am
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Over 30 stallholders demonstrated how individuals can make travel, home and lifestyle choices which improve our personal carbon footprints. Excellent exhibitions from local businesses and charities gave people a hands-on chance to see new technologies, ask questions and have fun at the same time as learning about many different climate solutions.

Personalised conversations helped people to decide which next steps to take on their own journeys towards sustainability. In my case, I have decided now is the time to put thicker insulation in the loft. This is a task that I have put off for some time. However, it seems better insulation means we will save money on our fuel bills.

Encouraging such constructive discussions is a key aim of the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition volunteers who have co-ordinated the Climate Action Festival. Strong relationships between residents, businesses and policy makers will make it easier to make changes that will significantly reduce climate damaging emissions and maintain a comfortable local environment. Some of these conversations will continue during Climate Action Festival ‘Fringe’ events which are being organised and hosted by local organisations. For instance, the training charity Horticap are holding an open weekend on October 23-24.

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New learning and vibrant connections between young people, educators and employers are also going to be a vital part of our net zero future. During the formal launch of the Climate Action Festival speakers from the worlds of science, education, politics and commerce highlighted the need for action to encourage the development of new ‘green’ skills. We heard that Harrogate College are already putting climate literacy into the curriculum this year.

In future, highly specific expertise will be needed by the scientists monitoring the climatic improvements which will come if our combined actions reach net zero quickly enough. Closer to home, almost all workers will need new ‘climate friendly’ skills in the future because job roles will evolve to meet our employers’ routes to net zero.

To help these workplace changes occur quickly and easily, businesses who are well along their journeys to sustainability will come together to share some of their carbon reduction, capture and accounting experiences during the full day Yorkshire Net Zero Business Conference on October 15. The Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition have designed a packed agenda which includes speakers from many well-known local organisations. Also, on route to COP26, the government supported Zero Carbon Tour and Carbon Battle Bus will provide input during the day.

The Yorkshire Net Zero Business Conference will allow attendees to explore the commercial benefits of net zero, which include financial and supply chain resilience, as well as improved engagement with customers. Attendees will be invited to maintain the new connections they make and to sign up for follow on net zero business workshops. This free business event has been sponsored by Chameleon Technology, with additional support from several other local organisations.

Business and local government leaders and employees from across Yorkshire are invited to sign up for their free tickets as soon as possible from: https://tour.planetmark.com/

More information about the Climate Action Festival fringe events is available from the website www.hdccc.info/whats-on