Events galore today

I’m on my way to London at the moment to go to two conferences:

This Changes Everything – a swish-looking event based around Naomi Klein’s book, creating a space for people from different social & environmental movements to join together.

New Directions for Local Action – a collaborative event between a few NGOs involved in campaigning, providing training and workshops around local movement building.

They are within walking distance from each other so I’m intending to flit between both!

Hopefully I’ll be feeling inspired and motivated to be part of plans leading up to the Paris climate change conference in November by the end of the day.

Wrapping up

Getting in touch with everyone I have met on this trip…
Dear all,
I hope this email finds you well.
My trip has come to an end and I am now back in the UK – it has been a phenomenal journey, all thanks to all of you who I met along the way.
I am currently reviewing and rounding up all that I learnt, and putting together some final outcomes.
I wanted to get back in touch with each of you, for a number of reasons:
- to maintain our connection, and to reiterate to get in touch if any of you come to the UK in future – it would be great to see you again!
- to ask if there is any useful follow up you would like us to have (e.g. for me to share some of my experiences with you that might be particularly relevant to your circumstances/initiative, to promote again what you are doing through my networks, or something else I might be able to help with!)
- to offer to link you up with any organisations/initiatives I have met elsewhere that are particularly relevant/useful to what you are doing (note I will only do this on agreement of both sides).
More than anything else, this trip has taught me the importance of sharing and of linking up and staying in touch with others working towards shared aims – it is the way real change happens and spreads, how positive actions take root, and, as far as I can see, it’s the way we will move from small pockets of fantastic things happening to full-scale sustainable living.
It has been a privilege to meet every one of you and to learn about the contexts you are working in, the challenges you are facing, the great things you are achieving, but most of all the drive with which you are acting. I hope you all continue to have great success.
With so many incredible people working on these efforts, I feel more positive about the challenges we are all trying to overcome, and more motivated to keep working on them. I hope that these words convey the inspiration you have all given me, and I hope I can reflect it back to give you extra motivation too!
Thank you for meeting with me, and please keep in touch.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Emily
@changeseeking

Inspiration a long way from here

After travelling through Siberia, feeling quite far away, it was fantastic to find a hub of activity going on around environmental action in Irkutsk. Two of the people leading in this area are Svetlana and Lubov who have so much positive energy running through their veins. Unsurprisingly they have been making lots happen. You can read a brief summary of their initiatives here: http://www.seekthechange.org/profiles/russia/eco-idea/

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The climate change movement in China

It may not be expected but there is a definite civil society movement amongst young people in China around climate change…for a small insight into it, see www.seekthechange.org/profiles/china/cycan – it is a youth organisation providing a platform for Chinese youth to do something about the issue.

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Getting close to coastlines

The last organisation I met with before my return to the UK was on my final morning in Auckland – I went to visit Sustainable Coastlines who are doing a fantastic job of leading the way in looking after New Zealand’s coastlines: http://www.seekthechange.org/profiles/sustainable-coastlines/

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Education for Sustainable Development

One of my original excuses for going to Japan was to try to attend the final event of the Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). I wasn’t able to go in the end but I have been in touch with a couple of the youth delegates who went to learn what happened, and how momentum is being taken forwards.

The 50 delegates representing youth from around the world met up just before the World Conference in order to work on a Youth Statement to articulate the vision of youth on ESD topics.

The final document is here, described by one country representative as “a powerful, well organized, and inspiring statement that conveys a sense of hope and commitment for making a better world”:

UNESCO ESD_Youth Statement

And you can get a flavour of both of these events here in a video made by one of the youth delegates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68ndl7c0W7s

Since that event, there has been an energy around the participation of youth, as actions related to Education for Sustainable Development are taken forwards. At an impromptu side event these youth representatives organised, many country representatives committed to involving young people with the follow-up commitments and actions at national level.

In the months that have followed, discussions are underway about setting up a youth ambassador programme and involving youth representatives in the various groups within UNESCO to take actions forwards. It’s hard to get down to tangible actions but what I take from it is that this involvement of young people at the event in November – and the continued commitment to involve them since – will lead to more ambitious, more relevant and more tangible action to ensure sustainable development is at the heart of education.

Getting Auckland moving, making sustainability easy

This trip has taught me the importance of a person’s surroundings for determining how easy it is to live sustainably. The infrastructure of a place – the likes of access to public transport, or presence of recycling bins, or the half flush button on a toilet – can dramatically affect the size of a person’s environmental footprint. When features to aid sustainable lifestyles are part of the fabric of daily living, everyone can be more environmentally friendly, whether they think about it actively or not.

This still all starts with individual action – the Generation Zero crew (see profile at www.seekthechange.org/profiles/generation-zero) are a passionate, committed and professional bunch of young people who are helping to change the debate around transport issues for making New Zealand sustainable. They realise the need to engage with politics and decision-making to make changes to infrastructure happen.
Generation Zero have become an authority in this area. The recent debate in Auckland about the city’s future transport plan demonstrates this – Sudhvir Singh, the direction of the Auckland branch of Gen Zero was on the panel (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11410472 – if you’re keen to learn about the city’s transport deliberations).
They have come up with an alternative to the two proposals from Auckland Council, and by the reception it has had so far, I could see it becoming THE chosen option.
I’ve learnt a few things from them about how to engage in creating infrastructural changes:
- They know their stuff – they go through relevant documents with a fine tooth comb to ensure they understand everything about the issue they are addressing
- They keep up to speed with political processes and engage with them at every stage
- They make it easy for their networks to engage too by producing online quick submit forms so that people can respond to government/council proposals to make their voices heard
-They provide thoughtful, pragmatic and realistic alternatives, focused on the solution not just the problem
- They are professional – in their publications and in the way they look (check this out to see what I mean: www.fixourcity.co.nz)
- They work as a team, and they know who is good at what – the design guru, the articulate spokesperson, the political processes expert
Generation Zero makes grappling with the gigantic building block of infrastructural development for creating a sustainable society seem not only possible but also achievable.

Goodbye NZ, hello UK!

Here’s a video update/summary of the past 2 months in New Zealand and a tiny bit about what’s next now I’m back (6 mins)…

Last video on the road: http://youtu.be/dOR7w1OgUrM

…and a photo of Cambridge start of spring! It feels good to be back – already bumped into 3 people I know in just under 24 hours!!

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