The Tackling Climate Change event hosted by VANL provided an initial opportunity for the community and voluntary sector in North Lanarkshire to be updated on climate issues and discuss current and future actions by the sector to contribute to reductions in carbon emissions in North Lanarkshire.
The session took place after Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire’s AGM and started off with a welcome and introduction by VANL’s CEO, Maddy Halliday.
Deryck Irving, Central Scotland Green Network Trust’s Head of Strategic Development was the first to deliver a presentation at the event. His presentation titled ‘The Challenge and What Can Be Done’ covered the climate emergency declarations made by the UK’s member countries as well as the declaration made by North Lanarkshire Councillors at a Full Council Meeting. At the Full Council meeting, NL councillors agreed a motion to declare a climate emergency in North Lanarkshire and also discussed North Lanarkshire Council’s plans to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2030. Deryck went on to discuss three key elements in tackling climate change:
Mitigation - the reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses as well as capturing and holding carbon;
Adaptation - responding to the changes that we have seen in Scotland’s climate over the last few decades, and preparing for the challenges and opportunities that we will face as our climate continues to change in the decades ahead;
Resilience – the ability of communities to reduce exposure to, prepare for, cope with, recover better from, adapt and transform as needed to, the direct and indirect effects of climate change.
Deryck explained some actions the voluntary sector could take to reduce carbon emissions such as getting our own houses in order, generating and supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation projects and by reminding government that urgent action is required and that solutions must be multifunctional in order to adapt.
Next to the floor was Lynda Stevenson, Service Delivery Manager at North Lanarkshire Council’s Enterprise & Communities department. Lynda discussed North Lanarkshire Council’s Carbon Management Plan, the structure of NLC’s Carbon Management Group, the Councils Carbon Journey from 2007 to 2019 and how they are currently measuring carbon emissions using the RES toolkit. Following on from Deryck’s presentation, Lynda also covered NLC’s plans to reduce North Lanarkshire Council’s carbon emissions to zero by 2030.
The next two speakers were Eve Smith and Elena Marigotti - both members of the Scottish Youth Parliament. Eve is a member for the Airdrie and Shotts area and Elena is a member for Coatbridge and Chryston. Their joint presentation titled ‘Our Future Our Voice: contributions from young people from North Lanarkshire’ was an inspiring talk covering disastrous outcomes we face if actions aren’t taken and reminded us all of the importance young people play in advocating and leading positive change.
After the presentations, table discussions took place discussing three action points: raising awareness, advocacy and direct measurers to be taken. Ideas ranged from approaching counsellors to integrating better climate change awareness into the education system. Partnership working was also considered a key driver. On closing, it was agreed by most attendees that an action group should be formed to take actions discussed and future actions forward.