Friday, 30 October 2009

350 Hand's Up!

On October 24th, people in 181 countries came together for the most widespread day of environmental action in history. Over 5200 events took part in the 350 campaign, calling for strong action and bold leadership on the climate crisis.

My 350 Hand's Up! event, held in Worcester town centre.

People from around the world were asked to organise an action incorporating the number 350 at an iconic place in their community, and then upload a photo on the website. By raising awareness of the significance of the number 350, which refers to the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide we can have in our atmosphere, we can hold our decision-makers accountable to producing a treaty at Copenhagen that is strong, equitable and grounded in the latest science.

I was inspired to join this campaign and organise my own event for the 350 International Day of Action. I came up with the idea of collecting 350 messages from my local community, asking them why they care about climate change and called the project Hand’s Up!

I collected messages from my local rugby team, the Bishop of Worcester, the fire service, children as young as 3 and local MP’s. Peter Luff MP said, “I am delighted to help Katie with her excellent initiative. There is no more pressing issue facing the planet than climate change and I really hope what Katie is doing will draw even more attention to it ahead of the vital summit of world leaders in Copenhagen in December.”

Worcester Warriors, my local rubgy team, invited me to have a photo taken with a couple of their star players at the stadium before a match. They made me feel very short!

I received great support from a number of local organisations and individuals, including Transition Worcester, Worcestershire County Council’s Switch It Off campaign and the local Green Party. It just proves that climate change needn’t be something to be scared or angry about as it can bring local communities together to achieve amazing things!

Katie x

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Meeting with David Kidney, Parliamentary under- secretary

Meeting with David Kidney, Parliamentary under-secretary of state for DECC on the 26th October, was insightful and informative, as well as a great opportunity to take a sneaky peak at where all our government ministers hang out in Portcullis House. It was amazing to see so many people’s faces lit with the phosphorescence of politics and to feel, for a short time, part of the system that dictates so much of our lives.

The meeting was surprisingly informal, we all really liked David’s positive attitude about a ‘greener, brighter future’ with lots more jobs- a phrase he was clearly fond of. The meeting opened with an affirmative handshake. Katie, Luke, Graeme and myself then all gave a short synopsis of what we have been doing in our local areas, before we got down to asking some probing questions, including:

· What is the UK government hoping to get out of Copenhagen? A FAB deal that is fair, ambitious and binding – we thought this was fabulous.
· What are the barriers to action being taken on climate change? David was concerned that copyrights and patents would restrict technology being available to developing countries and there would be a degree of reluctance from developing countries also.
· Do you see the recession as an opportunity or a hindrance to tackling climate change? Building a sustainable future will create new jobs and work opportunities, so would be beneficial.

Fortunately, David didn’t over indulge in the usual political trick of pretending we asked a different question and answering that! We hope to meet with him or Ed Miliband again after the forum. And of course, handing over the manifesto from the Children’s climate forum to Gordon Brown would be the icing on our ‘don’t bake the planet’ campaign.

Fingers crossed!

Cressie M-T

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tagd gets blogging for Climate Change Blog Action Day

Today is Climate Change Blog Action Day, when thousands of bloggers around the world post their thoughts on climate change. The aim is to spark discussion on this pressing global issue.

Apparently, it will be one of the “largest social change events on the web”. Even Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s at it.

Never one to miss out on a party, Tagd is also doing a blog for the Climate Change Blog Action Day (you’re reading it right now!). Climate change is one of UNICEF’s central campaigns, after all.

So we thought we’d use this opportunity to fill you in on the climate change campaign activities Tagd is involved with.

As you might have gathered from the posts below, Tagd are sending four young people to Copenhagen to represent the UK in the Children’s Climate Change Forum in December, ahead of the very important United Nations Climate Change Conference, where world leaders will meet to formulate a global agreement on climate change.

The ‘Copenhagen 4’, Cressie, Graeme, Katie and Luke (pictured above), won the chance to attend the forum on behalf of young people in the UK after entering UNICEF’s Big Climate Callout competition. Stay tuned for more enlightening posts from our foursome on their preparations for the trip and the forum itself over the coming days and weeks. You can also keep up to date with UNICEF’s work leading up to the conference by registering with Tagd.

Tagd is also promoting loads of ways you can get directly involved in the climate change campaign. You can email your MP, asking him to contact Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, to demand that he takes decisive action at the Copenhagen conference. Or, you can join us at the Wave march, the UK’s biggest ever protest in support of action on climate change, in London on Saturday 5 December. If you can’t make it, why not paint your hands blue and send us your photos, which we’ll bring to the march.

And if you’re feeling particularly inspired, Tagd has details on how you can organise a ‘Wave Day’ with your school, youth group or your friends. We’ve produced a downloadable climate change resource pack, filled with tips and ideas on how you can take action on climate change.

So there you have it. But now we’ve done our bit and got you up to speed on Tagd’s climate campaign work, why not get blogging yourself? If you’re passionate about this issue, you couldn’t choose a better day to start. And even if you don’t have a blog, you can do a post on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo.

For more inspiration, check out our tips on writing an article and getting creative.

Monday, 12 October 2009

7 Weeks To Copenhagen

The Copenhagen 4's second preparation weekend at the UNICEF offices, London

The Copenhagen 4 getting involved with UNICEF's call to action for the Wave.

After a long week at school, we all arrived in London pretty tired. But after a good night’s sleep and some nice toast – according to Luke and Cressie – we were raring to get on with our jam-packed weekend’s worth of work.

We kicked off Saturday with some exciting, if still slightly vague news about the Forum, including where we will be staying in Copenhagen and details about the workshops. Finding out that we will be working from 8am to 9pm every day, excluding socialising time, was a bit of an eye-opener! It was also great to have a chat with a couple of the 2009 J8 team about their experience and the sort of things we can expect to happen at the Forum.

We were really lucky to receive media training and blogging and videoing tips from the UNICEF staff. Whilst Cressie had a tendency to laugh uncontrollably when in front of the camera – to the amusement of the rest of the team - I think we will be experts at expressing our key messages in the future. Exhausted and in need of food, we headed over to South Bank for a lovely meal and walked along the river, like true tourists!

On Sunday we had the opportunity to really work together as a team, and I can now safely say that the Copenhagen 4 is ready to face all the challenges that the world can throw at us! Firstly, we prepared for our meeting with David Kidney, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and thought about what we’d like to get out of the discussion. We are also planning to write a letter to Gordon Brown, praising him for committing to go to Copenhagen, whilst also seeing whether he would like to meet with us in the future.

The final thing to do was to start thinking about what we could do for the UK presentation that we will present to our Copenhagen partner school at the Forum. All plans are under wraps, but all I’ll say is that it includes a sheep (whatever Luke says!), dodgy accents and certain chaos!

Watch this space.

Katie x