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Change one thing on World Environment Day
05/06/07

Climate Change and Environment Minister Ian Pearson will today ask people to mark World Environment Day by identifying the one change they can make in their everyday lives to protect the environment and fight climate change.

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Mr Pearson, opening the £18 million River Quaggy Flood Alleviation Scheme in South London, called on people to consider how they interacted with the environment and their impact on the planet – and how they could make a difference.

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats we face today – it threatens our precious environment, our economy, our health and well-being, and the way of life that is so important to us,” he said.

“We are already feeling some of the effects of climate change – and that will inevitably increase. But if everyone acts now to help stop climate change, we can avoid its worst effects and reduce the level to which we need to adapt – both here in the UK and the support millions of people around the world will need.

“All around the world today people are being asked what they can do to become more conscious of their effect on the climate. Here in the UK, the Environment Agency is carrying out the biggest survey on climate change ever, asking three questions: the number one thing people are doing to tackle climate change, the one extra thing people could do to tackle climate change, and what’s stopping them doing it.

“This really underlines one of the most important messages we need everyone to take on board – not only will climate change affect each and every one of us, but we can’t fight it unless we’re all working together.”

Mr Pearson will also announce that the Government is to hold a second competition for youth Climate Change Champions, young ambassadors from the English regions who communicate climate change across the country.

The nine inaugural Champions, aged between 13 and 17, have been active in speaking out about climate change. Their efforts have reached an estimated 18% of the adult population and have engaged a large number of young people in the debate on what needs to be done. The competition will kick off in the summer, and nine new Champions will be appointed in the autumn.

To reach a broad range of audiences, Defra has released a new booklet, Climate Change: Your Guide to Inspiring Action, to help organisations communicate the ways in which people can make changes in their lives to help fight climate change. The first guide, produced last year, has been downloaded 40,000 times and 6000 hard copies have been distributed.

Mr Pearson will make special mention of two other initiatives launched today that focus on young people, funded by Defra’s Climate Challenge Fund.

  • The Royal Society of Arts and Tesco today launched a ‘Carbonator’ – an online CO2 calculator aimed at children aged 7-14 to raise awareness of climate change.
  • The Royal Geographical Society, with the Institute of British Geographers, has launched a new website for 11-18 year olds linking to the geography curriculum. It provides a wealth of resources including interactive features, images, and downloads, and has been developed in partnership with schools to engage and inspire teachers and students to understand climate change.

Other Climate Challenge Fund projects are marking World Environment Day. Some highlights include:

  • A London Climate Awareness Project initiative from the GLA Initiative, with a stand at London City Hall on the Southbank to raise awareness of climate change;
  • The London Sustainability Exchange will be using World Environment Day to pilot their project (including a magic artiste) outside City Hall. They aim to reach the Asian community at festivals throughout the summer;
  • A Green Roadshow in Newcastle-under-Lyme, produced by Keele University in partnership with Staffordshire County Council, with activities involving a fuel cell car, solar power, and other renewable technology demonstrations;
  • Bradford Council are delivering postcards to 175,000 local households as part of their June campaign, to enable people to get a free climate change guide. The guide includes a cut-out-and-keep “Act Now” page for people to refer to for ideas.
  • The London Borough of Bromley will be out at Glades Shopping Centre with a manned display including its Climate Challenge film and other resources for local shoppers.

link Climate Change - No Storm in a Teacup!
link NSA North Sheep 2007: gearing up for business
link Climate Change - Complete Codswallop or Cleaner Wellies?

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