Yesterday we petitioned Parliament with the Clean Air Parents Network, tomorrow we are leading a 24 hour tour of Birmingham for Climathon. But are we really tackling Climate Change, and do our most disadvantaged citizens have a say about how we tackle climate change?
Acting locally on global issues needs coordinated effort at a local level, and with others across the UK and the World. On Wednesday 24th October parents and their children travelled from Liverpool, Manchester and Birmgham to represent their cities, including Alice from The Active Wellbeing Society.
‘All the children were amazing! Not to detract from the parents who were brilliant too. The room was packed and MPs simply couldn’t ignore the passion and energy. I think all the MPs heard our message loud and clear.’
Event organiser Sue Huyton
Tomorrow we take action locally and globally, as part of Climathon. We will give participants from all walks of life in Birmingham a whirlwind tour of 24 hours in the life of Birmingham City. We will surround with experiences, residents, academics, service providers, activity providers, volunteers, politicians and anything else we can think will prompt thought and discussion – all there to help challenge the “norm” and help us create some innovative but practical solutions to our challenges. The Climathon lasts 24 hours (Yes, 24 hours!) For participants it will be exhausting but stimulating and leaving everyone committed to helping tackle climate change here and anywhere else we come across it.
To tackle climate change we need to ensure that everyone, from an 8 year old to an 80 year old has their say about how to create sustainable happy communities. Our more disadvantaged citizens need to have a say about tackling climate change in the context of their, often difficult, circumstances. A good example of where there are challenges to implementing climate change locally is the newly proposed, and much needed Birmingham ‘Clean Air Zone’
Following the consultation, although everyone agrees the importance of clean air in our city, 53% of individuals who took part said they thought it would have negative impact on them and their families.
Birmingham is a city of 1.1 million people in the city with 408,000 Birmingham citizens in the top 10% most deprived in England. Measures to reduce air pollution, such as clean air zones, have been found to impact those from the most deprived communities hardest, leading to increased financial pressures and reduced mobility.
Evidence tells us that living happy, fulfilling lives is about far more than money or economic growth. We know that citizens who are connected with and contribute to their communities and adopt sustainable behaviours like collaborating and sharing are happier. They start to demand and take decisions for themselves that support this. Communities that behave in this way also therefore take decisions that reduce climate change.
We know that increased wellbeing can have positive impacts on air quality and climate change and that large health inequalities are directly linked to poverty in the city. But sadly, we face some massive challenges to make the connection between wellbeing and the environment – such as the role of the car contributing in part to ¼ of Birmingham children being overweight/obese when they start school (rising to 40% by the time they leave primary school) with over 80% of the population are inactive in the city.
There is much to be done together if we are to make a change. By creating solutions that educate, involve and engage our poorest communities, we have the best chance of creating a city-wide focus on positive impacts for these citizens rather than making them victims of change.
So, come on, help us. Help take on these challenges and join up, for what’s going to be a life changing day!