Last month kicked off a new year for the Circular team (C-team). With representatives from across the LEP, this group aims to shape our workplace policies and culture in order to reflect and promote the wider objectives of Circular Yorkshire.
An opening discussion about what excites and scares us about the climate emergency, as well as what we feel we don’t know, set a vibrant tone for the forum. It also reflected the diverse range of opinions and how it affects each of us individually.
Tipping the balance
The overwhelming feeling in the room was one of being scared by the immense scale and gravity of the situation. With reports warning that a ‘business as usual’ approach could see our entire carbon budget up to 2100 consumed in as little as five years, we questioned whether enough is being done to tip the balance?
The answer is largely rooted in the adequacy of the action being taken by world leaders, major governments and corporations. However, there was also a fear that we are not doing enough on a personal level or indeed whether our collective actions have sufficient power to effect change.
A drive to do more
So, how do we make a difference and what will it take to move from rhetoric to action? How can carbon neutrality be achieved, and do we currently have the right tools and skills available to us? Our discussion highlighted that the questions surrounding the climate emergency are many and represent much of what we simply don’t know.
However, previously complex themes are being broken down and communicated at a much more human level by documentary makers, activists and similar. Moreover, we have all been touched by the devastating impact of unprecedented wildfires, weather extremes and pollution levels. These are a poignant reminder that we can ill-afford the time to wait for answers and are awakening a much needed drive to do more.
With the agenda becoming infinitely more relatable, the C-team are excited by the passion, enthusiasm and opportunities for innovation that this brings. Last summer, the UK was the first major economy to legally commit to a net-zero carbon target and there are already tangible shifts in the mind sets of high carbon generating industries, as well as in the reuse of raw materials and deriving value from waste.
We are also excited to see how the activities proposed by the C-team will gain momentum within the LEP and define its future direction with regards to the Carbon Neutral, Circular Economy (CNCE) agenda. However, we also recognise that for this to become embedded in our working practices, there must be an unpinning theme of collaboration.
As such, the C-team will aim to create simple and practical steps towards change. Evidenced by our opening discussions, we are not too proud to admit that we don’t know it all and that much of the process of putting plans into action will have an element of trial and error. However, by inviting feedback and having an open dialogue, we are confident that together we can make a meaningful difference. Watch this space for future updates.