It’s London Climate Action Week (14-20 November 2020), which aims to bring Londoners together for a week of more than 200 virtual events across the arts, community, schools, local authorities, development and the City, to drive climate action in the lead up to COP26, now rescheduled to November 2021 and taking place in Glasgow.
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. The task for Glasgow is to close the massive gap between the objectives of the Paris accord – to seek to limit global warming to 1.5C – and the commitments of countries, including the United States of America, who we hope will rejoin the Paris accord, now that they have a new President.
Our ESOL (English) students have been studying climate change
Our teams at KLS are keenly aware of climate change and its impact on local (and global) communities.
Last academic year, for example, our E3-L2 English (ESOL) students acquired a lot of their language studies through immersion in a year-long project on the subject of Climate Change. Though aware of some of the issues, much of the present zeitgeist was beyond their experience and grasp. This was due to the pressures of bringing up families in a country with a different language, as well as all the other pressures of being a migrant.
The subjects they focused on were food, clothing and pollution and the effects of our consumption of these on the planet. Studying a lot of new vocabulary, alongside encouragement to watch and listen to the news in English, the students were excited and empowered to believe that they had the ability to change the future and get involved in community action.
We also got Reusable Theatre to share one of their actors with us for an afternoon. Rosanna did an improvisation workshop with our students which we followed up by taking several students to see their play “This play will change your life” at City Lit in December 2019. Steve from Extinction Rebellion also ran a seminar with the students on the effects of climate change and the changes we can all make to our consumption habits.
We plan to do more once the Covid-19 pandemic has abated.
We have a plan
And we’ve set ourselves the following objectives, to:
- Reduce our energy consumption
- Reduce our waste
- Reduce our carbon footprint
- Educate our staff, volunteers, members and the wider community about climate change and so change our behaviours.
We last conducted a Green Audit of KLS back in 2013. We scored 7.4/10 and implemented a number of the recommendations. We have a new action plan that is looking at all aspects of life at KLS including: energy consumption and efficiency; waste; transport; food; water; cleaning; building materials; IT; printing and stationary; sourcing and buying locally; training needs for staff and volunteers; and campaigning.
We have a fantastic volunteer, Catherine, who’s helping us. We’ve also started a conversation with local firm, Crew Energy, who we hope can help us improve our buildings, and support our climate change education and advice programmes.
Wandsworth Council declares a climate emergency
We’re pleased that Wandsworth Council has declared a climate emergency. They are trying to become inner-London’s greenest borough and to be carbon-neutral by 2030. It’s great to see that they are putting their money where there mouth is and allocating staff and funding to make this happen. In February, for example, they announced a £20m investment into funding measures around energy efficiency, air quality, urban greening, sustainable drainage and transport and cycling initiatives. Their Climate Change Action Plan is a good start, but there is certainly plenty of work to do to achieve all of the targets.
As it’s London Climate Action Week we’ll be attending a number of Wandsworth Council’s Climate Summit workshops. Do sign up and attend if you haven’t already.