What Is Zero Carbon Guildford Doing?
Zero Carbon Guildford’s objective is to help the borough of Guildford reach carbon neutrality by 2030, through the development of a community-led climate action plan.
Only around 30% of Guildford’s emissions can be directly tackled by the borough or county council. The remaining 60-70% must be addressed through strategies aimed at reducing consumption, better energy management, and waste reduction.
This is clearly a HUGE challenge, and effectively impossible unless we all work to engage as many of our fellow residents as possible.
We recognise that we can only succeed against existential threats - such as climate change and ecological collapse - if we work across political divides, viewing threats of an existential nature as a shared problem, which must be faced together, as a community.
Once we acknowledge this, the diversity of our communities becomes a strength, allowing us to reach a powerful consensus which keeps fairness at its heart, protects the most vulnerable in our community, and allows us to view our differences as a crucial aspect in delivering projects and policy that help us survive - and even thrive - as a strong, resilient community, even when faced with global scale crises.
How Will We Do This?
In 2021 we launched ZERO, vibrant town centre hub which will act as the focal point for building a community led climate action plan. ZERO hosts a wide range of events, installations and exhibitions, talks and workshops, and lots more, to help drive engagement in climate action.
Our strategy, based on extensive community consultation and discussion, is made up of three complimentary parts:
1. Climate change and environmental education and engagement
2. Providing practical solutions which help residents and businesses cut waste and emissions, remove confusion and misinformation on how to make a difference, and provide local solutions to a global crisis
3. Provide mental health and wellbeing support, to empower individuals to take action, rather than letting overwhelming emotions of anxiety, grief, depression shut down our response to the climate crisis
By using ZERO to bring together the energy and ideas of those enthusiastic about tackling the challenges we face, we hope to inspire genuine change and ignite the sparks of a truly revolutionary approach to how a community can work together for the sake of its future, and its younger generations.
ZERO is focused on 5 strategic areas laid out by the Climate Change Commission as crucial for mitigation and adaptation to the Climate and ecological crisis. These include:
Environmental protection and restoration
Clean energy - with our focus particularly on community energy, support for renewables and smart energy systems
Active travel infrastructure and behavioural change
A circular economy and community re-use schemes
Low carbon solutions, retrofitting, and energy efficiency
Central to this plan is community cohesion; ZERO brings together individuals, projects and organisations and offer resources and platforms for collaboration to enable greater benefits than each individual project alone.
August's IPCC report - a unanimous agreement on the state of our climate by all the world’s nations - shows that the last decade was hotter than any other period in the last 125,000 years. It also shows that global governments’ policy implementation to date puts our current trajectory of warming to a catastrophic 2.5C - 4C. And this sort of news, coupled with the constant newsreels of wildfire, extreme weather events, and heat death, is exactly what we mean when we say that climate education can be overwhelming and dis-empowering.
But it’s not all bad news! The IPCC report also lays out the clearest path yet to implementing a successful strategy in climate mitigation - the immediate, rapid and managed transition away from the burning of fossil fuels.
And whilst this will be a massive amount of work that requires ambitious government policy to eliminate systemic emissions, local communities can have a hugely important role. Through a combination of collaborative behavioral change and by pioneering ways that we can put human and planetary well-being at the core of everything we do, communities might be our best hope.
Who We Are
We are an expanding coalition of residents, local community groups, businesses, and organisations putting collaboration and community building at the centre of a climate action plan.
Zero Carbon Guildford was borne from the ackowledgement that groups working in silos we were losing the inspiration and power derived from community building, making it harder for us to achieve our goals. But by coming together to share resources, skills, and knowledge we have a far better chance of building a strong, well-functioning community that can survive the accelerating threats we face.
We welcome - in fact we need - people from every walk of Guildford life, from right across the political spectrum, to join us in mapping out our future as a town. It doesn’t matter what skills or experience you have, there are hundreds of ways you can get involved to help Guildford build a better future.
We are faced with the certainty of a rapidly changing planet. This is undeniable. We can sit back and watch the climate crisis escalate out of control, and forever be on the backfoot, trying to desperately bail water faster than it pours in (like we see in the countries currently struggling to handle the Covid-19 pandemic).
OR we can immediately begin the process of building a strong, resilient, local economy and community, giving ourselves a chance to avoid the worst of the climate crisis through mitigation, whilst prudently planning for the worst through adaptation and resilience building.