Blog

X
Act Now — Be Part of the Solution!

Act Now — Be Part of the Solution!

July 22, 2020

WE ARE CLIMATE REALITY

We believe in the power of communities as the seedbeds of transformative narratives and new policy directions. Together we need to mobilize people, stakeholders, and decision-makers to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy at both the national and local levels. 

SCIENCE-BASED FACTS 

Climate change is happening here and now — its devastating impacts, together with science-based forecasts, show that the whole of human civilization is under threat. From extreme weather events to rising sea levels and climate refugees, the potential cost of a slow or gradual approach to fighting climate change cannot be overstated. According to the latest UNEP Emissions Gap Report, global emissions will have to fall by 7.6 percent each year from now until 2030 if we are to stay within the 1.5°C ceiling on global temperature increase to avoid the most disastrous consequences of this crisis. The IPCC Global Warming Special Report shows that exceeding a 1.5°C rise would mean putting the very livability of our planet in jeopardy. This is a true crisis – and like all crises, it demands an emergency response.

THINK GLOBAL — ACT LOCAL

While climate change is a global environmental problem, evidence of its impact can be seen in even the smallest communities. This is why we need to send a clear call to communities to support the momentum for bold action. We need more people, more stakeholders, and more local authorities to act now, starting with low-hanging fruit and building alliances to achieve substantial progress. Highly motivated citizens and local initiatives already exist, but we need to reach out to new audiences, create new networks, and inspire and challenge decision-makers to acknowledge the climate emergency and turn this acknowledgement into action.

The Climate Reality Project Europe is taking up the challenge. We focus on local communities in order to facilitate climate actions and ambitions at the local level, where ambitions are typically higher than in national governments. Through local decisions and measures, citizens are able to send a strong signal to national governments to make climate a priority. 

By June 25, 2020, a total of 1,736 jurisdictions and local governments globally had declared a climate emergency — many of them in Europe. While some declarations may be more symbolic, we recognize that this is just the beginning of a journey that can lead to coherent decisions and a real impact on a community’s carbon footprint. Our goal is to encourage meaningful actions, empower citizens, and build alliances with progressive influencers, partners, and policymakers, showcasing the best solutions in Europe and beyond. And this is where you come in.

FROM AWARENESS TO DECLARATION — FROM DECLARATION TO ACTION

Get engaged and see how you can take action to spread the word about the climate crisis, support the declaration of a climate emergency in your community, and turn that declaration into action where you are. Follow the ideas below step-by-step, or simply send an open call to action for all key stakeholders. 

Do the groundwork: 

Know your community

Research existing climate practices and policies in your community. Find out about the civic initiatives and networks in your neighborhood and get involved. What is your town or region already working on? Is there proposed legislation in the works? Join a town council meeting and start a discussion on these issues. Being aware of the local circumstances will help you to hone your plans and understand how you can make the biggest impact at the local level. 

Generate awareness 

Organize presentations for the local authorities and for the community. Make sure you’re continuing to challenge the public. Write blogs or articles and create spaces for practitioners to share their experiences about emergency actions. Building capacity and sharing stories and best practices will foster a local critical mass of demand for climate solutions.

Build alliances

Contact influencers, engage allies, and join a local citizens’ assembly. See what advice they can give you. Engage with other local allied groups, and in particular, consider partnering with non-traditional allies. Identify what would drive them to collaborate on declaring a climate emergency. Locate fellow Climate Reality Leaders in your region. Together, we are stronger!

Drive progress

Send an open call to stakeholders, including local authorities, residents, civil society organizations, and businesses. Initiate a dialogue and support these groups to develop local climate emergency plans based on a community vison. Having partners will help you accelerate your progress, identify the most appropriate actions, and build citizen support. If local stakeholders are unsure where to start, suggest beginning the work by focusing on one of the aspects below:

  • a target date for achieving zero emissions, including interim targets;
  • a roundtable for regular dialogue with stakeholders;
  • a local action plan based on a community vision; or
  • rigorous cohesion between climate emergency targets and local policy decisions.  

By bringing together residents, organizations, stakeholders, and policymakers, we can support the transition to a sustainable lifestyle — consuming less, emitting less carbon, and becoming part of the solution.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  1. List of climate emergency declarations

  2. How to declare a climate emergency 

  3. Best practices from the UK

 

Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash