Tom explains why UKYCC is getting excited about going local. For more information on getting involved in this new programme as a ‘Local Catalyst’, click here.
The UK Youth Climate Coalition is a pretty special organisation. At a national level we’ve been running creative and powerful campaigns, such as ‘Youth for Green Jobs’, and at an international level we’ve been pushing for a fair, ambitious and binding deal on climate change at the UN climate talks.
But while we’ve been doing this, something amazing has happened: a grassroots movement for action on climate change has developed in communities up and down the UK. We know this because many of us are part of it ourselves.
Simon, our content developer and general communications guru, has played a similar role in the South West London Environment Network. This charity supports other local groups working on conservation and food-growing projects as well as helping citizens lead low-impact lives in their own homes through environmental audits and recycling advice. They’ve helped Richmond achieve one of the highest recycling rates in the country.
In my city, Bath, I’m involved in a youth group called Green Vision. We run fun, practical sustainability projects such as ‘guerrilla gardening’ – planting food and flowers on neglected public land – and ‘People’s Kitchen’ events – cooking and serving perfectly edible food to the public, for free or for a donation, that would otherwise have been thrown away. Through this and our annual Youth Climate Summit, we’ve engaged and inspired hundreds of young people to act on climate change.
Jamie, our International Trainer, works in Glasgow with a community group called ‘Playbusters’. Working with children from the city’s East End, he runs cycling and food growing classes in local allotments, allowing a new generation to benefit from a more environmentally friendly – and a more healthy – lifestyle. Playbusters works concurrently to educate parents on climate change and energy efficiency, having a positive impact across the whole community.
This sort of local action helps engage new people with climate change, demonstrating that not only can we solve it, but that we can have some fun and improve people’s lives in the process. At a local-level we can achieve the sort of systemic change that is incredibly daunting to achieve nationwide – and this can be a great path to securing national and even international change.
UKYCC has expertise, experience and resources and we think we can help supercharge this powerful local-level youth climate movement. That is why we’re recruiting ‘local catalysts’. As a local catalyst, you will engage with groups and individuals in their community, identifying how UKYCC can support them to take action on climate change and facilitate the delivery of this support in the form of resources, training and workshops. You will also be supported to promote collaboration between groups and perhaps even start new projects, if you feel it is necessary.
This is a fairly flexible role that could be pursued in a number of ways. This is exactly as it should be – every community is different and we will be trusting you, as someone that knows your community, to decide what is most appropriate. But you will not be alone. You will not only have the support of UKYCC and the dedicated Local Engagement Developers (Clare, Raj and me), but you will also have the mutual support of a team of peers, undertaking similar work in communities up and down the country.
This is a hugely exciting new adventure for UKYCC, and we hope you can be a part of it! Change is already brewing in communities in all corners of the United Kingdom and we want to catalyse that, working together to bring a youthful energy, urgency and vibrancy to the UK’s local-level climate movement. Together with our friends across the globe, we will solve climate change – and it’s going to start in your community.
For more information on becoming a Local Catalyst, visit http://ukycc.org/local-catalysts/. Feel free to contact us using the information on that page if you have any queries, or if you just fancy having a chat! We’re all part of the same team solving climate change and if you want to get involved in some way or would like support from UKYCC, don’t hesitate to get in touch.