Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Finale: Carbon Conversations Meeting 6

We have hosted the last meeting of the May-July series of Tooting Carbon Conversations.
Please come and join us for the next series! 
More information on next steps below, and to go straight to the other five recent blog posts by series participants, click here.

Dan has written this response to taking part...

The Final Conversation in the series
 
Low-carbon living pops up everywhere
"The final conversation gave us the opportunity to reflect on the things we had learned and decisions we had made along the way, and to think about where we go from here.
It was also an opportunity to celebrate what we had done – and accordingly everyone brought along some delicious (low carbon!) food that we ate to round off the finale.
 

The session began with everyone sharing a “carbon moment” that they had experienced during the week – these could be something positive, something negative or just a moment of realization. 'Carbon moments' included:
  • Swimming in the (unheated) Lido and feeling you're on holiday (while in the heart of Tooting)
  • Cooking a home grown artichoke
  • Giving a rose from the garden to a girlfriend instead of one that was flown in from Kenya
  • Drinking local beer
On the subject of beer, we discovered that Adnams do a great deal to reduce their carbon footprint  - this was just one of the many useful bits of knowledge I have learned over the course of the conversations – and one that suited me down to the ground as Broadside is one of my favourites!

Next, we played the Climate Walk game in two teams: we had to make a series of choices about things we would personally do and things that, if we were in government, we would legislate on. 
 
The group's 'Climate Walk'  via choices, and chances, to 2100.
Would we take steps to limit the global rise in temperature?
At the conclusion of the game, we found out where (if everyone in the developed world made these choices) we would end up – in terms of the average temperature rise and the ensuing climate changes/wider impacts.
It was interesting that the group found it harder to commit to the personal sacrifices (e.g giving up flying, giving up air freighted exotic fruit) than to the pieces of legislation.
 
In discussion, we concluded that it felt easier to do things if everyone did them (as in the case of legislation). Reflecting on this on the way home, I also wondered whether part of what was off-putting was the absoluteness of giving something up permanently.
 
I feel it is perhaps easier to think in terms of working towards a carbon budget of around 6 tonnes a year (as recommended in the Carbon Conversations workbook and in How Bad are Bananas) because then you can still choose to fly if you want to – but in order to do so you could “save up carbon" by cutting down on milk and dairy – or by changing your car commute to a bicycle one, and so on.

To conclude we reflected on where we go from here.
It was inspiring to hear what people were planning to do, including:
Training as Carbon Conversations facilitators
> Considering lifestyle changes, such as living or working differently to avoid a commute of 6,500 kilometres on the tube every year
 
> Creating a game for the Tooting Foodival to help spread awareness of carbon choices

> Setting up Carbon Collaborations – developing a community to bring people together, face-to-face and via a new website and Facebook page to spread these ideas widely in a very participative way


Personally, I learned a great deal from the whole Carbon Conversations process and made a few fairly significant choices about my own lifestyle.
I’m now busy reflecting on ways to communicate what I have learned to others in a way that avoids preaching and guilt trips.
In the meantime, I’m loving seeing London from a bicycle rather than sweating on the tube.
And I'm trying to convince myself that I prefer coffee without milk…"
 
..thank you for sharing your own experience of the meeting, Dan!
 All welcome to join in with the next Carbon Conversations series when we fix new dates. Meanwhile, everyone is welcome to enjoy taking part in Carbon Collaborations
 
And of course there's the Tooting Foodival on the weekend of Sept 13th and 14th - you can grow local vegetables, cook a dish and participate in many ways on the weekend.
 
Dan will be at the Foodival with FanSHEN theatre company on Sunday Sept 14th.

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