798 million people live in places that have declared climate emergencies. Nicole Lazarus shares how local authorities and community groups can work together to create the transformative change we need
Bioregional’s new service will help any local authority that’s declared a climate emergency to get started on the action needed to achieve rapid, transformational change. Based on its proven One Planet Living® framework, the service will help councils to create effective action plans for healthier, happier, more liveable places.
60% of councils in the UK have declared a climate emergency. But a recent survey has found that 43% of English councils don’t know their current carbon footprint, making it ‘inconceivable’ that they will achieve net-zero targets. They need support to create realistic action plans.
Drawing on learning from Bioregional’s One Planet Cities initiative, the new service addresses that need by guiding local authorities through the following ‘One Planet Action’ process:
A - ASSESS gaps and opportunities
C - CREATE a vision, and a plan of action to get there
T - TRAIN staff through upskilling workshops and CPD-certified training sessions
I – INVOLVE others in the learning process, including other councils and local solutions-providers
O - build OWNERSHIP among local organisations including businesses, community groups and schools. Our One Planet Living framework provides a common language for engaging everyone
N - NAIL your impact by developing a robust system for measuring and communicating progress.
Throughout the process we use the ten principles of One Planet Living - covering all aspects of wellbeing and the environment – from health and happiness to zero carbon energy.
Alongside this service, Bioregional has also launched a free One Planet Living® toolkit for community groups. These groups are often catalysts for sustainability action. The toolkit shows them how to create their own shared vision and ‘One Planet Action Plan’.
It explains how to involve other local organisations including businesses, schools and the local authority. A toolkit for small and medium-sized businesses that want to embed sustainability in their operations has also been developed.
With urban areas currently responsible for more than 70% of global carbon emissions and 75% of resource consumption, embedding sustainability at a city, town or regional level is imperative if we are to tackle climate change and ecological collapse.
Nicole Lazarus, Head of One Planet Living, said: “We must make it easy for people to make sustainable choices – from heating their homes, to the ways they commute to work, and what goods they buy. Local authorities are uniquely placed to influence all these decisions and scale up change quickly – and they need support to do this.
“We also know that in every region there are 100s of community groups trying to make their own change. Our new service and toolkit aim to make the process for both types of organisation as painless as possible and encourage collaboration between them. We hope this will help drive the rapid change we need at a local level for a healthy planet and global population.”
One local authority already benefitting from Bioregional’s One Planet Action service is Cherwell District Council in North Oxfordshire. Bioregional is working with sustainability consultancy Aether to help the council create a sustainability plan to slash carbon emissions and train staff to scale up this action.
Cllr Dan Sames from Cherwell District Council, said: “We are committed to continuing to take action to address the climate emergency facing us.
“All of our council services will need to take action to reduce their emissions…This expert support from Bioregional and Aether will support our efforts and identify further measures that we can take to address the issue. We will also be calling on the Government to make further powers and resources available to us to accelerate this work.”
Bioregional’s One Planet Cities project has supported the creation of four ambitious sustainability actions plans for cities and city regions covering more than 4.4 million people.
Find out more about Bioregional’s new One Planet Action service for local authorities, or download our new One Planet Living toolkits for free below.