2019 is shaping up to be the year of climate action…...and quite frankly it’s about time! Finally, the topic is being given the attention it deserves by mainstream media – the debate about man made global warming has finally be put to rest and arguments about climate change denial are confined to history.
Awareness of the implications of climate change are high, especially in light of the fact that recently the UK Government was the first country to declare a state of climate emergency - a historic action. Yet no-one is really sure what exactly this means and ultimately will the government’s policy agenda truly put climate change at the heart of all policy decisions?
Doing it for the kids
There is little doubt that the huge shift in awareness and pressure on Governments to take action against the threat of climate change was brought about - at least in part - by the actions of the younger generations who staged strikes and protests in order to get their voices heard.
And no voice was heard louder than that of 16-year old Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, who began her climate protest outside the Swedish parliament just over a year ago, and since then has made her voice heard at the UN Climate Change negotiations, World Economic Forum and numerous other global bodies, urging them to take action……not at some point in the future…..but now!
The current climate movement is inextricably linked with children and young people, and for good reason. Who can be more aware of the predicted destruction of the planet in the future than those who will be living with the consequences of inaction? Inhabiting a planet blighted by famine, heatwaves, forest fires, droughts, flooding and ecosystem collapse sounds apocalyptic – yet this is the reality that could be in store for the next generation. It’s no wonder that many people are feeling ‘climate anxiety’ and want to know what they can do personally to drastically cut carbon emissions and protect biodiversity. ?
How can rapid climate action be catalysed?
The UK government has a critical role to play in helping to provide a policy environment that incentivises change and given the size of the challenge at hand…..and fast. This could take the form of tax reliefs for community energy projects, subsidies for more sustainable forms of transport, tax hikes for fossil fuel fuels – think petrol, diesel and coal, energy efficient homes, banning polluting items like single use plastics and promoting ecosystem restoration through tree planting, re-wilding and much more sympathetic farming practices that can support not erode biodiversity.
Unfortunately, there is no single silver bullet and action will be required on multiple fronts with all new policy decisions taken through a climate change lens.
Mobilisation on multiple fronts
However, it’s not just governments which need to act. Top UK scientists have also recently issued an unprecedented plea to foundations and philanthropists to spend more on tackling our “extraordinary ecological collapse”, including investments into carbon-cutting projects.
The rise of the citizens agenda! As concerned and motivated citizens of planet earth we all need to play a role and must be prepared to make some critical changes to our everyday lives. We need to examine what we consume, how we travel, what we wear and even what our money is funding via our current and savings accounts and our pensions.
While we are asking ourselves what action we, as individuals, can take to join the fight against climate disaster, several UK projects from Brighton Energy Coop and Solar for Schools are being funded by investments from everyday people and will bring benefits to the planet and to schools across the UK.
Over the past 8 years Brighton Energy Coop has raised more thatn £1.9 million to install and operate 28 large solar arrays, which have prevented more than 1,700 tonnes of CO2 from enereing the atmosphere. Currently the Coop is raising over £500,000 to provide solar energy for 9 schools in the Brighton and Hove area. Everyday people can support their withdrawable share offer helping schools to cut energy costs, reduce CO2 emissions and promote sustainability to children, whilst targeting financial returns of 5%.
The Solar for Schools bond offer enables people to use their money to help fund the installation of solar panels on schools across the UK, producing cleaner, cheaper energy, reducing CO2 emissions, and importantly, educating the school children on sustainable energy generation and its critical importance as part of a low carbon transition.
Aiming to raise £1 million, Solar for Schools have already raised more than 80% of what they need. By reaching their target they will be able to install another 8,000 solar panels in schools across the UK which will enable each school to make cost savings on their energy bills of between £30,000 and £250,000 over 30 years (depending on the size of the solar panels) and also prevent 10,000 tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere.
Take action with your money
Solar for Schools as a project demonstrates that people have very real and tangible choices to use their money in ways that can create considerable impact when it comes to addressing climate change. Find out more about Solar for Schools and Brighton Energy Coop or other opportunities to invest to support renewable energy projects from as little as £50, whilst targeting returns of 5%. Capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed.