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Accelerating local climate action in the UK

Posted by Ric

OPPORTUNITY
Carbon Copy focuses on the power of local action and the potential of local areas to become a focus of climate policy. Because while climate change impacts the entire world, the specific challenges it creates – from flooding to biodiversity loss – manifest locally. Because those activities that drive the problem that create the emissions and destroy our ecosystems – for example, from poor policy decisions or corporate strategy – happen locally. And because most of what will constitute large scale change, at least in the near term, is the spread of ambitious local initiatives.

Our intended audience are not those environmentally driven individuals leading the charge; instead, it is the ‘early majority’ of the population who are on the cusp of making changes, as long as it makes social sense and appeals to their innate sense of fairness. According to Johan Rockstrom (renowned researcher in environmental science), we have a unique opportunity right now to target this receptive early majority of the population, as the most effective way to tip the scales towards dramatically changing our social norms.

AIM
Our aim is to hook up civic society with climate action and empower more people locally to embrace and help lead this fundamental change in how we live together.

RESEARCH OUTPUT
To date, people all over the UK have shared their climate action stories with us and we have published around 1000 initiatives on Carbon Copy. This is a unique collection of first-hand experiences that offer insights on how to bring people together locally in the name of climate action.

Using this original repository, referencing other published research reports and conducting interviews, we would like your help to research and understand the attitudes and preoccupations of the segment of population that could be persuaded to join in these kinds of local initiatives. Who are they, what are their motivations, what messaging would engage them, what kinds of community-led action would influence them? Who among them would have the biggest impact if they joined in?

The output of your research would help us answer these questions.

RESEARCH OUTCOME
Based on this understanding, we will adjust our current communication tactics and messaging to reach this audience more effectively. The 1000 climate action stories and people behind them will not simply inspire others, but lead to similar collective local action elsewhere as they copy what’s working.

Please note the start and completion dates for this research are flexible and we are open to suggestions.

Remedies for urban drainage problems

Posted by Daisy

The Brighton & Hove Green Party is leading an issue-based campaign which seeks to raise awareness of the widespread practice of illegal and intentional sewage dumping.

The behaviour of Southern Water – the supplier for 4.2 million consumers in Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – marks it out as the worst polluter amongst competitors elsewhere in the country.

Southern Water has been dumping untreated sewage along our beaches. The company argues that this is due to a mismatch between their infrastructure and volumes received. When it rains, water drains into the Victorian sewers where it dilutes the sewage and reaches volumes above and beyond what their treatment facility can handle. If they did not dump the raw sewage the excess fluids would flood the system and we would have sewage coming up out of the sewers.

The Environment Agency has investigated and found evidence that Southern Water has deliberately chosen to dump untreated sewage as this is cheaper than updating their infrastructure. This resulted in the company being fined £90m in July 2021. A catalogue of harmful activity was unearthed in the most extensive investigation by the Environment Agency (EA) to date. (Southern Water dumped raw sewage into sea for years | Pollution | The Guardian).

The enquiry found that between 2010 and 2015, Southern Water knowingly dumped untreated sewage on 10,741 occasions at the 17 sites examined by the EA. 78% of these occurrences were illegal (Guardian, 2021). Treatment works were being deliberately maintained at less than half of their capacity in the interests of maximising profits. The tanks that exist throughout the apparatus were kept full, leaving them to turn septic and contaminate the sea with a venomous potion of sewage and precipitation. This is the probable origin of faecal matter found in shellfish along the south coast, which risked exposing consumers to the potentially fatal norovirus (Guardian, 2021). Similarly, pollution with untreated sewage is introducing E. coli into waters making swimmers and bathers ill (BBC, 2021). All of this paints a bleak picture of what Surfers Against Sewage CEO, Hugh Tagholm, labelled ‘criminal capitalism’.

Southern Water is ‘committed’ to curtailing the recurrence of storm overflows from their combined system, proposing to reduce storm releases by 80% by 2030. We are increasingly seeing this infrastructure activated to tackle routine rainfall, pumping raw sewage into our rivers and seas with a disturbing regularity. That’s why the Green Party has been leading calls for a commitment to zero sewage in our water.

From Parliament to council chambers, Greens are speaking out against Southern Water’s blatant dereliction of duty. In October 2021, Green MP Caroline Lucas criticised the 265 Conservative MPs who voted to cut back an amendment to the Environment Bill which would have given the water companies a legal duty of care not to pollute. Meanwhile, in the House of Lords, Jenny Jones has called out our “toothless” system of environmental enforcement and weak regulatory structures.

In Brighton & Hove, Councillor Elaine Hills proposed a Notice of Motion which asks Southern Water to stop sewage overflows by 2030, invest in sustainable water management locally and explain their plans before council committees and the public. Her counterparts in Lewes Green Party, Councillor Matthew Bird and Green Council Leader Zoe Nicholson, have demanded that Southern Water detail how they will prevent sewage pollution in the River Ouse.

Meanwhile, Councillor Martin Osborne has been appointed chair of The Aquifer Project (TAP), a partnership comprising the South Downs National Park Authority, Southern Water, the Environment Agency and Brighton & Hove City Council. The first priority for TAP is progressing the development of a new system which will counteract polluted runoff from contaminating groundwater in Wild Park, Brighton. The Wild Park Rainscape will encompass a multitude of planted permeable basins that sequester rainfall.

Communities can be supported through investment in sustainable urban drainage systems – known as SuDS. SuDS are designed to mimic the natural interception and diversion of surface water. The term covers a range of environmental measures such as wetlands, green roofs, rain-water harvesting systems and porous asphalt. Two SuDS are planned for Brighton & Hove, and the first is almost complete. This innovative project in the north of the city will provide soft surfaces to intercept water at the midpoint of a ‘flow path’, that is, a long sloping road. This should prevent a surplus of surface water from running downhill, and thus overwhelming drainage systems during intense downpours. In Sweden, SuDS have been crucial to flood prevention, absorbing up to 90% of stormwater in some areas and preventing the need to discharge sewage overflow into the sea.
The essence of the research project is for a student to look into the remedies for urban drainage problems, to inform our campaign. We need to create better drainage and infrastructure to support an increase in water due to climate change and extreme weather conditions.

We would particularly like to quantify the problem and gather some data on the impacts of sewage spills and weather conditions in the area under Southern Water’s care. This includes investigating and listing the impacts of: aquifers under Brighton & Hove drying out, and flooding in the valley by The Level and Hanover. It would be useful to find out if any modelling has been done to see how the weather is expected to change regionally as a result of global warming.

This opportunity is flexible in terms of the time commitment and start date. We have an office in central Brighton, right by the station. We are happy for the student to join us in the office or work remotely.

2030 SDGs Game

Posted by Nick

Participants playing the 2030 SDGs Game learn through play and experience a change in perspective, they feel more connected to the challenges we all face and are more ready to take action.

Come and participate in the 2030 SDGs Game workshop in order to:
• Understand relevance of sustainable development
• Demystify the SDGs
• Experience first hand what it takes to create a balanced world and how everything is are interconnected
• Explore the power of your actions and how you can contribute to a more balanced world.
Who can play the game?
Anyone can! Whether you have no prior knowledge of the SDGs or you are an SDG expert you can play this game. The game has been played by people all over the world from senior management of leading global companies, government official, to university students, activists and everyone in between. The more diverse the game participants are, the more representative of society it is.

To participate in this game please express your interest by emailing: valeria.andreoni@liverpool.ac.uk

Community Manager (Paid Placement)

Posted by Sonya Peres

We have BIG DREAMS at She Almighty and we need great people who care about others and our planet to realise those dreams. There are a number of roles and opportunities which we could provide from social media, design, marketing, and community management, to administrative and business development or being our impact ambassador. You could actually try all of those things! In return, we will provide personal and professional development and career coaching; after all, that's what we do best! We are also open to suggestions and opportunities to shape, collaborate on, and support projects and research. The She Almighty mission is to empower girls and women of all ages, stages and backgrounds and to make our world a better, healthier, and more harmonious place. If you share our values and believe in our mission, we'd love to welcome you to the team!

Marketing Manager (Paid Placement)

Posted by Sonya Peres

We have BIG DREAMS at She Almighty and we need great people who care about others and our planet to realise those dreams. There are a number of roles and opportunities which we could provide from social media, design, marketing, and community management, to administrative and business development or being our impact ambassador. You could actually try all of those things! In return, we will provide personal and professional development and career coaching; after all, that's what we do best! We are also open to suggestions and opportunities to shape, collaborate on, and support projects and research. The She Almighty mission is to empower girls and women of all ages, stages and backgrounds and to make our world a better, healthier, and more harmonious place. If you share our values and believe in our mission, we'd love to welcome you to the team!

Social Media Manager (Paid Placement)

Posted by Mikaela

We have BIG DREAMS at She Almighty and we need great people who care about others and our planet to realise those dreams. There are a number of roles and opportunities which we could provide from social media, design, marketing, and community management, to administrative and business development or being our impact ambassador. You could actually try all of those things! In return, we will provide personal and professional development and career coaching; after all, that's what we do best! We are also open to suggestions and opportunities to shape, collaborate on, and support projects and research. The She Almighty mission is to empower girls and women of all ages, stages and backgrounds and to make our world a better, healthier, and more harmonious place. If you share our values and believe in our mission, we'd love to welcome you to the team!

Videographer for ‘Down the Lens’

Posted by Emily

'Down the Lens' is an online drama session for children and adults with learning difficulties and additional complex needs. I currently upload the footage onto Imovie and attempt to edit the videos myself - adding subtitles and limited effects which the participants ask for. However, the quality is not that good. I would really like to create a showreel for each participant that showcases the amazing work they have created over the past 18 months. I would like the editing to look professional and be of a standard that I can upload onto my website, which is currently been made.

I have recently received funding from Unltd, so this opportunity will be paid.

If the collaboration is successful, then the offer the individual to work alongside me more frequently will be available.

Kindest regards,

Emily

Green Impact Auditors for the Highland Council

Posted by Sonya Peres

Green Impact

Green Impact is an environmental accreditation programme with an awards element, designed to encourage, support and celebrate organisations and educational institutions in embedding sustainability in all areas of their work. Interested staff and students volunteer to participate in the programme and receive a toolkit outlining actions they can take to progress sustainable practice.

Depending on the number of environmental actions teams carry out, they can achieve either: a working towards accreditation, Bronze, Silver or Gold award. All teams participating in Green Impact will need an audit to verify their level of achievement… and this is where you come in!

Auditing

We are looking for volunteer auditors support the teams and schools in the Highland Council area in reflecting and taking stock of their first year on the programme. Each volunteer auditor will be fully trained on the criteria and what they need to do in order to audit through a half-day of training. In pairs auditors will then complete one or more audit. An audit should take around an hour to complete depending on the size of the team.

What skills do I need?

No technical knowledge is needed! Full training will be provided. All you need is an interest in environmental issues and sustainability.

Please get in touch if you’re eager to get involved with Green Impact in an auditing capacity, or if you have any further questions.

What’s the next stage?

  1. Ensure you are free all day (10:00am – 5pm) on December 1st.
  2. Fill in the online form using this link. Spaces are limited, so apply soon!
  3. You will be contacted by Sonya Peres if you have been successful in your application.

If you have any questions about taking part, please email Sonya Peres at sonya.peres@sos-uk.org

[1] Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment - http://www.iema.net/

Exploring how feasible an sustainable lifestyle is for the young people on a low income

Posted by Sue

We want to explore just how feasible an environmentally sustainable lifestyle is for the young people we work with, particularly for those on a low income and who have experienced homelessness. Are choices such as ‘organic’, ‘low carbon’ or ‘veganism’ attainable for everyone and if not, how can we help bridge the gap?

A project like this might consist of interviews with staff members and service users, research into other industries and sectors and shadowing meetings with young people.

Maximising the potential of renewable energy: problem solving for the RED WoLF project

Posted by Rachel

The RED WoLF summer school will take place entirely online from June – August 2021, where small groups will develop impactful projects, research or initiatives addressing real-world challenges faced by the RED WoLF project, which is maximising the potential of renewable energy and smart renewables.

Students will be presented challenges by the RED WoLF project partners, and other key stakeholders and then will be assigned in small interdisciplinary groups to a challenge stream based on academic discipline, experience and interests. Students will be invited to join a number of online workshops and seminars to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to problem-solve their assigned challenge, before working independently and in groups to address the challenges over the 9-week programme.

We are expecting the time commitment for students to be around 1 day per week, with very few set hours so it is manageable around other commitments. In August, student groups will write up and present their findings, results and recommendations back to the challenge setters and other relevant stakeholders and receive feedback.

Through taking part, you will develop and demonstrate transferable professional and academic skills and apply them to challenges which are addressing the climate emergency. You will also earn a digital badge. Whilst we expect the majority of students to take part in an extra-curricular capacity, we can aim to meet academic requirements if you are able to claim academic credit for placements such as this as part of your course. Please talk to your supervisor and get in touch with us to discuss more.

Applications are open now for students from all disciplines in North-West Europe (UK, Ireland, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland). Apply here (deadline 7 May): bit.ly/redwolfschool

Employment, family and sustainability

Posted by Catherine

Neuroscience has demonstrated that the relationships we experience, particularly early in life, have a significant impact on our future life outcomes. Recent ONS data has also confirmed that when family and key relationships are working well, they are the leading factor supporting our resilience through tough times. Our research, has highlighted the key role employers and organisations play in influencing whether families of all forms, thrive or not. The Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as actions that take account of impact on current as well as future generations and we want to strengthen the understanding, commitment and inspiration of employers and corporations to shift the dial on this key issue.

We are currently confirming budget available and are open to discussing the best ways to deliver this opportunity and attract someone who will be the right fit. We are currently in discussion with other potential partners which is likely to result in this brief being finetuned.

The objectives of our overall project are:
1. To scale an urgent and national-level on family as a central part of organisational sustainability practice
2. To partner with 2-3 leading entrepreneurs to further develop their learning, practice and tools to inspire wider system change, inclusive of diverse and dynamic families
3. To partner with leading sustainability and employment groups to scale conversation and action and embed this within their ongoing support to organisations
4. To share learning with government professional bodies to influence future regulation and good practice

We are open to other ideas; our thinking is that this colleague would work with us to develop the following outputs:
- creation of a business case template to support organisational champions to get traction on family as an ESG issue
- creation of 2-3 simple organisational self-assessment tools and processes which inform meaningful organisational improvement
- meaningful and accessible metrics that align with existing ESG frameworks
- strong partnerships with key sustainability organisations (as a result of high quality work and relationship building)
- recommendations for inclusion in influencing activities with investment activists, professional bodies and government consultations on future employment and ESG

We are a micro organisation which works remotely and part-time as business as usual. We have a system of annualised TOIL and flexible working. Employees provide their own equipment. There are many opportunities to learn and develop through the organisation and role including access to some external training and networking opportunities. There will be an expectation of strong planning, problem-solving ability, active listening and relationship building skills. Since we are breaking new ground and influencing from a low starting position, it will be important that candidates are both resilient, self-aware and communicative. We are an inclusive organisation with a strong commitment for all families -whatever their make up or circumstances- to thrive.

Research into economically inactive women in Devon

Posted by Alice

We work with Positive People, a programme which helps people who are out of work to build their confidence and develop their skills. Currently Positive People is not meeting the targets it has set itself for the number of women participating in the programme. We are helping them to explore why this is and how they could engage with more women across Devon. One area we are interested in is the number of women in Devon who are economically inactive as opposed to unemployed. We would like to get a better understanding of what these figures look like, why women are economically inactive and what support they might want or need. The areas of research we would propose to cover are:

Figures for economic inactivity across Devon. How do these compare for men and women and what’s the breakdown by gender and ethnicity?

How has the picture changed since the 2011 census?

Is there any evidence yet of the impact of Covid?

Draw on findings above to carry out qualitative research into women who are economically inactive in Devon:

Who are they?

Where are they?

Why are they economically inactive?

Would they like to gain any education or training?

If they would like to be in work, now or in the future, what steps do they need to take/what support do they need?

There is flexibility for students to help shape the direction of the work, so we would be happy to talk through any ideas for other related areas of research. The start date and deadline can also be flexible - we anticipate it would take around 8 to 12 weeks, depending on your schedule and availability. We will provide as much support as we can. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions.