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Climate Change Week at Sustainable Sunderland

13 March 2014

Dean T Huggins, programme manager from Sustainable Sunderland, explains in this blog how  they marked Climate Week.

AFrican drummers welcome people to the event

Sunderland Black and Minority Ethnic Network Limited (SBMEN) is the lead partner for the Sustainable Sunderland project and works with several other local organisations to deliver their Communities Living Sustainably (CLS) project.

This project focuses on energy saving and we target in particular four wards with the highest levels of fuel poverty in the city. After engaging local people, voluntary groups and businesses, we introduced the concept of ‘One Planet Living’ which we are promoting to local residents to help them reduce their carbon footprints and live more sustainably.

During Climate Week we promoted our work and ongoing activities to a wide audience through events including an Environmental Showcase. Organised by the International Community Organisation of Sunderland, and hosted by Sunderland University and the University Students’ Union, we used the event to share information about our partnership and talk to students about how they can be involved with the work that we’re doing.

We think that students will be good ambassadors for energy saving and One Planet Living, and can help spread the word to other young people. We can also give them opportunities to take on projects that relate directly to their studies. For example, we are recruiting students from the MSc Environmental Science course to do projects around behaviour change and climate change and currently have an MA Marketing student helping us to develop our marketing processes.

Many students from the university, mainly those studying environmental sciences, attended the event to hear presentations on a range of topics from experts in the field. They also had the opportunity to meet people representing a range of organisations, including Sunderland City Council’s recycling officer. Sunderland University are now reviewing the feedback from the event which was successful in drawing around 50 students and lecturers during the day.

Sustainable Sunderland open eventAt Sustainable Sunderland we’ve been using our project to engage with a range of people of all ages including students. We’ve found many young people are keen to find out more about how they can protect their environment which is why I think it’s great that Big Lottery Fund is going to help young people to do just that through its new programme, Our Environment Our Future.

We, along with our partners all agreed that through this event and Climate Week we had raised awareness of work on climate change, particularly with young people, and we now plan to organise something similar again next year.

Sustainable Sunderland is one of twelve projects supported by the CLS programme which aims to encourage behaviour change among individuals and communities so they can cope better with the environmental, economic and social impacts of a changing climate.

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