Written by Laura Rutland, Wesport
When it comes to tackling climate change it can be seen as an overwhelming topic. We often feel like we don’t know where to start and there is so much to do we end up asking ourselves what impact can I have, can I really make a difference?
The office for national statistics for Opinions and Lifestyle survey found that around three in four adults (74%) reported feeling (very or somewhat) worried about climate change and that climate change was the second biggest concern facing adults in Great Britain.
There are 43 Active Partnerships (AP’s) that cover the whole of England, bringing together people and organisations to increase physical activity levels. As a network we reach an enormous amount of people across the whole of England. This collective reach gives us an opportunity to encourage change and get people thinking about what they can do to have a positive impact on the climate change crisis.
This is where the creation of the AP Climate Change Steering Group comes in! Led by David Gent, CEO of Active Humber the Steering group is made up of 8 people from across the network with a passion for positively making a difference! One thing we recognised early on is you don’t need to be a climate expert to implement change or encourage others to do so.
Over the course of the last few years the steering group have been working with experts to provide learning opportunities and to identify actions we can all do to positively make a difference in both our internal organisations and externally with our networks.
Below are some of the pieces of work we have done together with the network to take small steps that can make a big difference, hopefully this will highlight some important steps everyone can implement:
Having an advocate for Climate change in each Active Partnership
Recently we have worked together to identify a climate lead in each of the Active Partnerships. This has allowed us to share key information and to have someone in each organisation being a voice for the climate change agenda. We hold climate lead calls from time to time to understand what Active Partnerships would like support with and to help implement change.
This group has also provided a space for shared learning, this has led to different Active Partnerships sharing their environment policy documents, blogs, external reading and resources
Being a voice for the topic
Sharing the message:
- Climate change calendar
A climate change social media calendar was put together and shared with the network highlighting all of the awareness days throughout the year that link to climate change. We wanted to encourage all Active Partnerships to use their sport and physical activity platforms and reach as positive advocates for change. If we keep sharing the message and sharing what we are doing individually this can encourage others to implement change and keep climate change on everyone’s agenda.
Active Partnership also help amplify partners messages for example Sport England’s short animation for clubs and community groups to help them think about the action they can take to tackle climate change. https://youtu.be/EgTfc5_VMb8
Linking up with professionals to work with the network
- Climate change events for the network
Over the last few years several webinars have been held for the Active Partnerships, we have had guest speakers at each of the events who are experts in the field. More recently these sessions have been structured around what we can do as a network and how the sport and physical activity sector can make the biggest change.
- Working with national partners
Active Partnerships are a member of the Sport Environment and Climate Change Coalition (SECC) who recognise achieving our collective ambition on climate change and environmental sustainability will require a collaborative approach and as a group we are committed to working in partnership with our members, partners and government at national and local level to deliver meaningful change.
- Working with local partners
Active Partnerships work with local organisations to help make changes in their communities. For example under the banner of One System for Cornwall Schools, Active Cornwall promotes & encourages sustainable travel by bringing together local and national initiatives that schools can engage with. Read more here.
This is just a snapshot of some of the work being done across the network and we are still early on in our journey. The main takeaway from this blog is that no action is too small, if everyone takes small steps it can lead to a big impact. So start those discussions with work colleagues and family and identity what short and long term changes you could make.