Cambridge, the city where I live, has a disproportionate influence on the world because of the academic research undertaken here, the links to many university alumni across the world and the growing number of innovative and global companies based in the city. Combine this with a local population which is concerned about environmental issues, an unusual (for the UK) cycling culture and a proximity to London which means many residents work in national and international institutions and it is clear that Cambridge has the potential to be the world leading city of its size for climate action. This is why I have decided to devote a significant portion of my time working to put this vision of Cambridge into action.
I am working to help Cambridge become the first zero carbon city in the UK, to become climate ready and to become a leading driver of climate action across the whole world.
I am on the organising committee of this lecture series which live-streams talks from world leading speakers to a global audience each year in February and March. The 2017 series #CCLS17 included talks from Baroness Bryony Worthington, Professor Kevin Anderson and Anthony Hobley, chief executive of Carbon Tracker. We have had great series in 2018 and 2019 as well.
Fossil Free Cambridgeshire is the local fossil fuel divestment campaign calling on the local councils and Cambridgeshire Pension Fund to remove all investments from fossil fuel companies. I set up this group with two others and continue to be a leading member of the group. The group was successful in October 2015 in persuading the Cambridge City Council to support divestment and recognise the need for a ‘fossil free future’. Our attention is now turned to the Cambridgeshire County Council and particularly the Cambridgeshire Pension Fund. Through this project I am learning lots about both the world of finance and the world of local politics.
In November and December 2015, with two others, I established and ran the Cambridge Climate Message Project. This project engaged with organisations from across the city, asking them to support a message from the city to send to the COP21 climate change negotiations in Paris calling for an ambitious and fair agreement to be reached. The message was supported by over 80 organisations and 700 individuals, including the City Council, colleges, academic departments, local businesses, community groups and schools. The message was even mentioned in the UK parliament by Daniel Zeichner, the MP for Cambridge.
Cambridge Climate Alliance
As a result of collaborating to promote climate action around the time of COP21, an alliance of local environmental groups has been formed to continue to coordinate climate action in the city. I help facilitate this group and encourage ever greater ambition and action in Cambridge. The group includes Cambridge Carbon Footprint, Transition Cambridge, 38 Degrees Cambridge, Greenpeace Cambridge, Friends of the Earth Cambridge, and Pivotal a group which uses the arts to engage people on the subject of climate change. This group is currently merging into another new alliance in Cambridge.
I also developing a new project to help promote the vision of Cambridge as a city racing towards a zero carbon, climate ready future and to help catalyse this change through system wide action. I hope to be able to announce more information about this here in the future.
I am always on the look out for more people to collaborate with and for funding opportunities to support these projects.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss anything related to the development of Cambridge as a world leading city for climate action. .