May 2019 Newsletter
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May has been a full month of activity, let us tell you all about it - Georgia.
Letter from our director, Jo
This month we hosted a sunflower growing competition in our office building. The Workstation in Sheffield hosts 60 organisations working in business and culture, and the competition was an ideal opportunity to start some conversations about climate change with our neighbours.
I also had the the privilege of speaking at Evensong at Jesus College, Cambridge. I used the opportunity to draw attention to the UN's most recent report that over one million species are at risk of extinction as a result of climate change. You can read my full address by clicking the link.
The last few months we have seen an increasing recognition of the mental health toll that working with environmental issues can take on all of us (see this BBC article on eco-anxiety.) Our team took a couple of hours out for a self care workshop, giving us some basic techniques to avoid burnout.
I re-read an excellent book this month, 'Never Split The Difference', by Chris Voss. The book covers lots of techniques for persuasion in basic day to day conversations, excellent for spreading the word about climate change and especially working with MPs. I would recommend it highly!
Thank you for your support for the work we do, whether that is in reading our newsletters, engaging with our resources or supporting us financially. We really appreciate it!
If you haven't already don't forget to take a look at our new subscription to keep up to date on the world's climate news, find out more here.
Jo and the HFTF Team
What’s New Weekly:
Thank you to all of those of you who have signed up to our new HFTF subscription, because of wonderful people just like you we are able to keep doing our amazing work getting climate change on the political agenda.
If you haven’t already, we would love to invite you to become a part of the HFTF community. By joining our monthly membership, you will be able to stay more up to date with the latest climate news, with a weekly news update, as well as helping us continue our great work. We are even offering one completely free month trail of our membership.
What’s more, you’ll have free access to our exclusive quarterly webinars featuring input from some of the UK’s senior policy advisers and green think tanks. The webinars are designed to cover the basics of different areas of climate change policy (net zero, renewables, electric vehicles etc.) so that you can get a better understanding of these issues.
On 10th June we'll be holding our first webinar. We'll be joined by Dr Jonny Marshall from the Energy and Climate Change Intelligence Unit to discuss the topic of net zero. We'll cover what net zero is, why we need to achieve it and how the UK can become carbon neutral. We'll also bust some myths about net zero (a net zero target will harm the economy, we won't be able to fly anymore etc.) and hear from our own Assistant Director, Sarah Robinson, on how you can persuade your MP to support a net zero target and the action needed to achieve it.
It will last about an hour and is free for HFTF subscribers and £3.50 for non-subscribers. Find out more about the webinar here.
Find out how to sign up to our membership by clicking the button below.
Climate Change Communication:
PART FIVE: Discussing Your Individual Choices
In this fifth post we explore how to discuss individual action on climate change and the difficulties that can arise when doing so.
How to talk about people’s individual decisions in response to climate change without making them feel guilty is a topic that came up in a recent Hope for the Future training session. There are many areas that could be discussed here, including the decision of some people not to have children due to climate change, but I will focus on food and travel.
Beverley High School workshop with Graham Stuart:
Sixth form students at Beverley High School challenged Graham Stuart MP on climate change at a Hope for the Future workshop. The students presented campaigns on various issues relating to climate change, followed by a lively discussion with Mr Stuart. The students were able to voice their greatest concerns as part of the future generation not yet able to vote. Mr Stuart assured them that the UK must play its part and be leaders in the global efforts to tackle climate change, and encouraged them to seek future careers that would shape the way the UK acheives this.
If you would like a Hope for the Future workshop at your own school and the opportunity to meet your MP about climate change, contact Sarah at email@example.com.
On a sunny Monday lunchtime we gathered up twenty of our fellow tenants at The Workstation to join our sunflower growing fundraiser. This was a fun way to raise money for HFTF, and start a climate conversation with more of the tenants in our building!
We've got a range of eco-friendly prizes for the biggest flower head, tallest flower and best team effort. The prize giving will be in August, so let's hope that they grow a lot between now and then!
Here is a little peak at how one of the sunflowers is progressing, we will keep you all updated!
If you have a fundraising idea and would like our support, get in touch with our fundraiser, Sarah, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team development day:
This month the HFTF staff team had a development day focused around wellness and looking after ourselves, especially due to the toll working in the field of climate change can have on our lives. Georgia, administrator, provided a quote of her experience,
More than a third of MPs back campaign for fossil free pension
Over 200 MPs have called for their pensions to divest from fossil fuel investments. Their pension fund currently has £11.7 million of shares in BP and £11 million in Shell but a campaign led by Caroline Lucas (Green MP) and Ed Davey (Lib Dem MP) is aiming to change this. A range of organisations, including the Greater London Authority, New York City and the majority of UK universities, have divested their pension funds already. Read here.
130,000 trees to be planted in English cities and towns
Michael Gove has announced a new Urban Tree Challenge Fund to support the planting of 130,000 trees in urban areas. The scheme will be run by the Forestry Commission and aims to bring about a number of benefits. As well as storing carbon, trees in urban areas can help to absorb noise, reduce flood risk and provide shade. Read here.
Glasgow and Edinburgh fight to become the UK’s first ‘net zero’ city
Scotland’s two largest cities have both unveiled plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Edinburgh is aiming for a net zero target of 2030, while Glasgow wants to reach net zero “well before” 2045. Both cities are planning to increase the provision of EV chargers, invest in renewable energy and make their more cyclist-friendly, among other things. Read here.
SolarPower Europe predicts global solar power to reach 1.3 terawatts by 2023
The European solar trade body has predicted that 800GW of new solar capacity will be brought online between now and 2023. As the prices of solar panels continue to fall, the body expects that solar installations will increase at a rapid rate. Read here.
Irish parliament declares climate emergency
The Irish Parliament has become the second (after the UK) to declare a climate emergency. While there are few concrete plans as to what this declaration means in practice, some Irish parties have talked about reaching net zero by 2030. The news was welcomed by Greta Thunberg, the leader of the school climate strikes. Read here.
Jersey’s Environment Minister pledges to make island carbon neutral by 2030
The island of Jersey’s government has backed a proposition to declare a climate change emergency and commit to a goal of reaching net zero by 2030. The environment minister will now set out a plan of how to reach this target. Read here.