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Climate emergency summit to help plan next steps in Cumbria

A county-wide action summit for councils, environmental organisations and campaigners is to be held in Carlisle this month.

The summit, sponsored by Ecology Building Society, has been organised for everyone who’s campaigning for or implementing a climate emergency motion in Cumbria.

“It’s not easy to know where to start with planning next steps after a climate emergency has been declared, as it’s pretty new territory for councils,” said Hazel Graham, chief executive of Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS), which is organising the event. “We’ve designed the summit to answer that question, giving delegates access to sought-after national experts.”

The summit starts with the bigger picture of the climate crisis in the national context, with a keynote address by Paul Allen from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT).

“Local actions in Cumbria will all contribute to reducing the UK’s overall carbon emissions, and Paul leads the groundbreaking Zero Carbon Britain research at CAT, showing how the UK can reach net zero emissions using technology we already have.”

Paul’s seminal Zero Carbon Britain report is currently being updated and delegates at the summit will be among the first to hear the very latest insights and research, helping to guide local actions as part of the national picture.

“The summit aims to answer the basic question of what districts can actually do to cut carbon emissions and how to plan their actions. Joining us to share his direct experience of this is Councillor Simon Pickering from Stroud District Council,” Hazel said.

Stroud was the first council in Europe to declare itself carbon neutral, back in 2015, and Simon was instrumental in planning and driving the council’s actions, as chair of its environment committee.

Also speaking is Pete Bryant, chief executive of Shared Future, who is a national expert in running citizens’ assemblies and juries.

“Getting the public involved in deciding and planning the actions that should happen in their districts is really key after a climate emergency declaration, but it’s a step that a lot of councils are struggling with,” Hazel said.

“Pete has 15 years’ experience in running engagement forums and he’s the lead facilitator for the Leeds Climate Change Citizens’ Jury. He’s the ‘go-to’ person for guidance on this, so it’s fantastic that he’s coming to Cumbria.”

The delegates will also hear the voice of young people, whose school strikes and protests have helped to bring about the national wave of climate emergencies by councils across the UK. The summit concludes with sessions on communication and campaigning, and opportunities for councils and other organisations to network and share experiences.

Places are still available at the event, on Saturday 21 September at Shaddongate Resource Centre in Carlisle, and can be booked at https://cafs.org.uk/events/?page=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/event/info&id=147.

The summit is part of the Cumbria Green Build & Sustainable Living Festival, a programme of fifty events across Cumbria throughout September, organised by CAfS and supported by Electricity North West.

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