23 Community Actions In 2023
People who are worried about the impact of climate change – which is three-quarters of the population in the UK – are asking, “what can I do?” and too often receive answers that are clichéd and consumerist. Turn down the thermostat. Fly less. Buy this instead of that. Instead, we want better answers to the question, “what can we do?” We are here, we are many, and together we are important to this moment.
Everyone contributes to climate change and so we all hold some responsibility, and some power. This realisation that we can do something about the climate crisis can be very empowering. Taking individual action to be more sustainable in our everyday lives is absolutely worth doing and, if everyone did it, the positive impact from the sum of all these simple changes would be massive. The rest of this post does not change that; it’s just not enough to change a flawed system based on burning fossil fuels and endless consumption.
There’s plenty more that our government and corporations can do, and it’s important to hold these institutions to account. But there’s also something else that we can do that has an impact closer to home, by getting the right balance between individual and collective action.
You’ve probably heard the well-known African proverb, ‘If you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to run far, run together.’ Time is fast running out to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, a threshold beyond which lies a profoundly disrupted climate and its devastating impact on human, animal and plant life. We’re running out of time because we still have far to go and we need more people to join in and take action to address this climate emergency, wherever they live.
It doesn’t take an Einstein for us to realise (although I am paraphrasing what the genius said) that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. With this in mind, Carbon Copy identified 23 kinds of community actions for 2023 that tear up the notion of leaving it up to national government to think big. And what's more, ambitious place-based action can also help get our nation’s mojo back!
The good news is that most of the solutions already exist – it’s up to us in our communities to put these ideas into action. The community actions highlighted in this 2023 guide refer to some of these solutions, ranging in topics from green energy and heating to more climate resilient places to live; from affordable, sustainable travel to nature-based climate solutions; from addressing food poverty and farming practices to local, circular economies.
Three observations are clear from the hundreds of climate action stories already shared on Carbon Copy. Community action doesn’t need to focus on carbon reduction to have a positive climate impact (so you don’t necessarily need to be an eco-warrior!). Secondly, community action demonstrates how it is possible to ‘level up’ across the UK by addressing economic and climate goals together, locally. And last but not least, community action is compelling to so many people because it strengthens their community’s abilities to shape the things around them that matter most.
It's not a prescriptive list of 23 actions that every community should attempt: responses to the climate crisis are highly localised because every place is different. You may recognise several of these initiatives or they may all be new to you. Either way, you have a choice. Join one or get some people together and start one. At least one of these initiatives is a big idea where you live.