Calderdale climate campaign launched

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

The campaign, launched this week, is already planning visits to schools, information to households, talks for Calderdale organisations large and small, and lots of other ways for local people to get involved.

And on the new local Climate Challenge website, children and adults can take the 'climate test' to find out how much they know. There is also lots of information about what causes climate change and what its impact could be.

How many Piece Halls does it take to hold a year’s worth of the carbon-dioxide produced in Calderdale? Zoheb Khalil, Abubakar Dar and Rosemeen Hussain know the answer – and now Calderdale Climate Challenge is aiming to get everyone in the district climate clever too. Pictured with the project co-ordinator Anthony Rae are (left to right) Rosemeen, Zoheb and Abubakar. 

“You can’t open a paper these days or watch television without seeing some news about climate change, so we couldn’t be starting our project at a better time,” says project co-ordinator Anthony Rae. “We’ll be explaining and communicating how climate change will affect our lives here, and what we can do about it.

“The climate really does affect us in all sorts of direct and indirect ways. The sorts of flooding we get locally will just increase in frequency if climate change gets worse.”

The campaign, though, is hoping to show local people that it’s not all doom and gloom, and that people do have the power to stop climate change from getting worse.

The campaign was one of just seven projects in the region to win money from the Government’s Climate Challenge Fund.

Eleven-year-old Zoheb Khalil, who lives in Halifax and goes to Parkinson Lane Community Primary School, was also chosen as part of the same scheme to be West Yorkshire’s Youth Climate Challenge Champion. He, his classmates and teachers worked hard on creating a DVD about how children – and their parents – could help prevent climate change.

He – along with 11-year-olds Rosemeen Hussain and Abubakar Dar - helped launch Calderdale Climate Challenge at the Piece Hall in Halifax this week.

"Climate change might be bad news, but there is some good news too! It’s not too late to do something about it and there are things we can all do to help," says Zoheb. “It’s easy to think someone else will do it for us, but it really is up to all of us to do something.”

Calderdale Climate Challenge…

…is one of the 'action partnerships' of the Calderdale Sustainability Forum. The other two are Calder Future (the partnership to improve the River Calder, its tributaries and banksides), and the Calderdale Waste Partnership (with Calderdale Council as the lead partner, and the Recycle for Calderdale promotion).

Calderdale Sustainability Forum (CSF) is the Local Agenda 21 organisation for our area. It’s aim is to  promote action on sustainable development, and to help our communities get involved in that process.

At the start of 2006, CSF decided to apply for one of the local Climate Challenge grants that the government department DEFRA was offering to increase awareness of climate change issues and the fact that, by working together, we can tackle climate change. The rules of the DEFRA scheme were that only the best bids in the country would win a grant!

DEFRA emphasised that they particularly wanted to encourage applications from partnerships led by a voluntary sector or community organisation, which is exactly how CSF operates. In a very short time, we put together a strong partnership, involving regional and local organisations of every kind who have an interest in tackling climate change. In fact, we think Calderdale Climate Challenge (CCC) has more partners than any other scheme in the country (see list overleaf).

All this, and our plan to try to communicate about climate change to everybody across Calderdale, and to particular sectors and communities, must have helped – in June, we heard that we had been one of the seven successful bids from Yorkshire and the Humber. A month earlier, it had been announced that the regional Climate Change Champion (a young person who could be an ambassador for climate challenge in the region) was also from Calderdale - Zoheb Khalil from Halifax, now aged 11. So that’s a double success for Calderdale.

Since then, we have been preparing to launch our campaign. Our main programme will take place throughout 2007. CCC has no permanent staff. Instead, it is being organised by expert freelancers, and the overall project co-ordinator, Anthony Rae, is not paid. It will be delivering its sizeable communications programme very cost effectively.

In our 2007 communications programme, Calderdale Climate Challenge:

  • will have, as its centrepiece, a 12-page website. This will provide information and lots of ways to take part in the project
  • will also use the communications channels of its many partners, media relations and print material to drive traffic to the website
  • distribute two information leaflets to every household.
  • continue the work of our newly appointed Climate Change Schools Advisor, who has already started her programme of visiting every primary school to give an inspiring and instructive school assembly
  • offer free talks and presentations to decision-makers and communities about climate change
  • will be developing a business programme, particularly to SMEs, with a message that lowering emissions will raise their profitability
  • will be working with three neighbourhood management areas (Ovenden, Mixenden and West Central Halifax) to take the climate challenge story into these communities.

Calderdale Sustainability Forum (CSF): co-ordinator and lead partner
Calderdale Council
Environment Agency
Calderdale Forward - Local Strategic Partnership
NHS: Calderdale Primary Care Trust & Calderdale & Kirklees (Acute) Trust
Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Assembly
Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Environment Forum
Yorkshire Forward (RDA)
Calderdale and Kirklees Green Business Network
West Yorkshire Business in the Community
HBOS – Halifax Bank of Scotland
Calderdale Community Forum
Voluntary Action Calderdale
Ovenden Initiative & Mixenden Initiative (Neighbourhood Management Programmes)
Calderdale (and Kirklees) Affordable Warmth Partnership 
Pennine 2000 (principal social landlord)
Metro – West Yorkshire passenger transport executive
First Calderline – principal bus operator
Eureka! The Museum for Children
Calderdale Waste Partnership
Calder Future – river improvement partnership
Alternative Technology Centre, Hebden Bridge
Treesponsibility – a tree planting for climate change voluntary initiative

Floods closed Market Street, Hebden Bridge in July
more photos

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