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  • Writer's pictureEllen Worrell

#Write52 week 44: Starting Carbon Literacy training

It's been a while, so hello again! I promise I've still been on my mission to make the world a little bit greener, but you know, life got in the way so I've been somewhat silent on the social media front. Sorry about that. But anyway, it's time to change that now...

In a bid to finally complete my #Write52 challenge, I thought I'd kick-start things again with a mini-series of 4 posts all about Carbon Literacy training.

"But what on earth is it?!", I hear you cry. Established by the Carbon Literacy Project, this global charity is working to provide everyone with a day's worth of climate change education. I'm attending four two-hour sessions over the next four weeks and want to share my thoughts, reactions and – most importantly – actions. My ultimate goal is to be certified Carbon Literate so that I can share my newfound knowledge with friends, family, colleagues and community groups, and help you all come up with your own meaningful, significant actions that will go towards reducing carbon emissions.

To quote the Carbon Literacy Project itself: "More than just small personal changes, Carbon Literacy highlights the need for substantial change and supports you, as an individual, to have a cascade effect on a much wider audience." Those are some serious ambitions, but ones I admire and fully support.

So, today's session (led by the wonderful Jen Gale of Sustainable(ish)) was all about Talking Climate. Scary stuff.

Did you know that a recent survey claims an overwhelming 75% of us are concerned by the climate emergency, yet only 8% of us are actually talking about it? Unsurprisingly, I'm in that 8%, but it doesn't mean I feel like I have all the answers when I'm chatting with other parents on the school run. Far from it.

But if you feel like nudging that 8% figure upwards, here are a few of my favourite tips from today's session:

  • Make it personal

  • Talk about your feelings, rather than bombarding people with stats – even the world's biggest climate deniers (yes, there are some still out there) can't deny your feelings

  • Find a connection

  • Don't assume you need to be an expert

  • Be gentle & respectful

That last point is crucial for me. We've no idea what other people are going through behind closed doors, and the last thing they want is some "do-gooder" with a green bashy stick berating them in the playground for buying individually wrapped hunks of cheese or yearning for a Friday-night takeaway. Besides, I love a takeaway every now and then! And cheese. Life would be much sadder without cheese if you ask me.

And I certainly don't want this to be people's reaction whenever they see me approaching...

Jen also shared a wonderful nugget of wisdom from Mark Maslin, Professor of Climatology at University College London: "We can't pick and choose which bits of the science we want to believe, and which bits we want to reject." The science is irrefutable. We are in a climate emergency and the time to act is now.

Some days, that need to act immediately is overwhelming and terrifying and anxiety-inducing. But equally, I think it's important for us to accept we are where we are, and we can use all this knowledge as power. This will help us to act now.

Early on in the session, Jen also asked us why we were there. Why had we bothered to find 8 hours to complete this training when life is already throwing curveballs at us left, right and centre? So I thought I'd end by sharing some of my reasons here, in the hope they might inspire you to explore becoming Carbon Literate, too.

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