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Richmond Climate Week

Date: 2 November 2021
Author: Cllr Julia Neden-Watts
Title: Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee

Running from November 1, Richmond Climate Week is timed to coincide with COP26 in Glasgow. Through the week, the Council and local charity Habitats & Heritage are hosting a series of events (in person and online) to encourage residents, businesses and communities to participate in tackling the climate and ecological emergency.

Climate Week will address the themes of Richmond’s Climate Emergency Strategy adopted in 2020 and its annually refreshed Action Plan. Topics include the environmental impact of food waste and better ways to manage food; energy efficiency and sustainability; transport and air quality and alternatives to car use for neighbourhood journeys; and nature, habitats and biodiversity.

Tuesday’s events include the pop-up Energy Cafe at Whitton Community Centre (with information for residents wanting to fit home energy-efficiency measures and signposting towards funding to help with costs) and a Climate Tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (examining sustainability at Kew and the impact of climate change on the natural world).

I’m particularly looking forward to the summits for Primary and Secondary School students on Wednesday at York House. Young people learn about and understand climate and ecology issues, and they have high expectations of those currently in charge. Young people need to know (a) what we are doing about it and (b) how to prepare themselves positively through science and understanding for the challenges they will inherit.

There will be discussion of how improving our natural habitat can boost emotional and physical wellbeing - and how, whilst national and international action is sorely needed, we can also act locally on achievable projects here in the borough in our schools, parks, and gardens. Secondary School children will be taking an international outlook and considering the viewpoints of different nations in meeting the challenges that affect them. That sense of everything being in play, from the most local initiative to the widest international partnership, is fundamental to achieving a sustainable future.

Highlights towards the end of the week include the Open Forum at Orleans House Gallery on Saturday 6 November, where residents can chat with Council teams and community organisations at a family-friendly event with activities suitable for younger residents as well; and a panel discussion on Sunday 7 November where debate will include nature-based solutions to climate challenges. Alternatively, there’s a communal Sunday litter-pick on the Thames foreshore in Richmond.

Finally, seamlessly emerging from Climate Week, Richmond's 30th Literature Festival continues the theme into the following week. The impacts of the climate emergency seep into every aspect of life, practical and cultural, and I welcome this broader engagement and look forward to joining events both during Climate Week and on into our Literature Festival.

Find more information about Richmond Climate Week.

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Updated: 24 November 2021