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Four years ago, the RSA published “A New Agenda on Climate Change”. More recently, the RSA Sustainability Group has grown rapidly, demonstrating a real commitment to changing our society (and economy) to a sustainable basis.

In “the New Agenda”, Jonathan Rowson argues for a re-framing of climate change from an “environmental issue” to a long-term, whole-systems approach.  Limiting average temperature rise to 1.5 oC means we must keep 80% of known fossil reserves in the ground.  To achieve that, change is needed in the deep and complex relationships between values, civil society, state interventions and the economy.

These developments in the RSA are reflections of a huge global shift in attitudes and approaches to climate change.  The watershed event of course was the agreement at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, December 2015.  In the UK, just recently, The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published the “Clean Growth Strategy”, normalising the shift away from a fossil-fuel based economy – at least in principle.

How might such whole-systems change be brought about?  That question is at the heart of a Big Lottery-funded project run by Climate Action Network West Midlands (CANWM). The project aims to boost practical climate actions at local community level in the region. 

The “Further, Faster, Together” project takes its name from the COP23 climate conference in Bonn 2017.  The project will facilitate increased contact and cooperation between community groups and leaders and the many organisations focussing on climate and broader environmental concerns.  Working together, we can better address the currently limited public and corporate engagement with climate change and support practical local projects. These might tackle, for example, fuel poverty, air pollution, local energy production and use, food production and consumption, etc.  Clearly there are strong links with personal and public health and broader social well-being.  A fossil-free future will benefit everyone, except perhaps energy and mining company shareholders.

On 31/Jan/2018, the project launch event will include key speakers from RSA – Ian Burbidge  and Noha Nasser, both well known for their work on community development.  RSA members will be very welcome to bring expertise and enthusiasm to the event and subsequent workshops.  Please also use your personal and professional networks to encourage others to contribute. 

For more details about the project or to offer expertise and information, please contact Jules Todd FRSA or email canwestm@gmail.com  

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