More than half of the U.K.’s 408 principal local authorities have now declared a climate emergency, making it one of the fastest growing environmental movements in recent history, and the first country in the world to reach this landmark.
The declarations are well spread geographically, across councils and London Boroughs. Most of these councils have the intention of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, twenty years ahead of the national U.K. target. All are moving from policy declarations to the harder work of implementation.
Together, we need to work more closely to amplify local action, to make it travel across disciplines and borders, so that it lands in the right place. This can be achieved by developing collective intelligence and emergent solutions within an online network, where participants have the power to make change happen locally and advisors can guide ideas.
The U.K. Accelerator for Climate Action will be launched by 408X – an independent, non-political organisation – early next year. Its members will be individuals from local groups on the ground within each area where the council has declared an environmental and climate emergency. They represent different stakeholder interests, from the council itself to local businesses to special interest groups to citizens’ assemblies. We have lined up over 200 principal councils so far, and expect even more by the time we launch.
We are pushing against an open door. Councils are energised but under-resourced for the massive task ahead. Translating declarations into tangible actions requires a significant step-up in resources. And yet we are not in a position of scarcity but of abundance – provided councils view their role not simply as service providers but also as service facilitators of citizen groups and of community-led initiatives. By scaling down to scale up, 408X is in a position to make local change massive.
An online panel of 408 advisors will be set up within the Accelerator, to advise members collectively on climate action challenges and opportunities across six different areas: renewable energy, built environment, circular economies, blue/green infrastructure, land use and the public realm. Advisors start discussion threads online within their respective area of expertise, as well as add and respond to open queries from members. They can also contribute to the pool of 408 climate action solutions, with examples from their own experience.
408X is different by design, encouraging compulsive collaboration between members; building swarm intelligence within the network; and helping live solutions to multiply. The power of this emergent network lies in these swarms of small groups, able collectively to respond more flexibly and accurately. Advisors will play a key role in channelling decentralised initiative and be at the heart of this civic-led environmental movement.
If you want to be part of this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org