Carbon Conversations are facilitated workshops that help individuals to reduce their personal carbon footprints. They bring together small groups of people to discuss the different areas of life in which we can reduce our carbon emissions: in domestic energy, in travel, in food, and in consumption and waste.
I took part in a Carbon Conversations group in 2014. I loved the experience. I met some great people, had some fascinating and amusing conversations and came away with lots of ideas about how to reduce my carbon footprint. Climate can seem (and is) a rather big, abstract issue. But finding practical ways to take action was fun and empowering - it feels good doing your bit. Climate change is a non-ideological issue, in the sense that whatever your political outlook, it is imperative to take action on it. I think carbon reduction is a great way for all people, no matter what their political views, to take action together to tackle climate change.
I also really like the scheme because I'm a teacher. Carbon Conversations is full of unusual learning activities that get you to think differently about the world around you and how you relate to it.
Groups meet over six weekly sessions. During these meetings you can discuss in a supportive and friendly atmosphere the practicalities of making low-carbon lifestyle changes. The sessions include a mixture of games and activities and are co-ordinated by two trained volunteer Carbon Conversations facilitators. The scheme started in Cambridge in 2006 and has been hugely successful, spreading around the UK and internationally to Europe, Australia and the USA. In 2009 it was included in the Guardian's Manchester Report as one of the top 20 solutions to climate change.
Over in Tooting we have been running groups for the last ten years. On average, participants are able to reduce their footprints by nearly four tonnes shortly after participating, with further reductions over subsequent years. We are running another group this spring, from April 19 – May 24. If you would like information about how to take part contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's what recent participants have to say:
"At the last session I don't think anybody wanted to leave."
"The beauty of Carbon Conversations is the optimism, creativity and ideas that are shared."