Bovey Climate Action
Bovey Tracey in Devon is a rural township of eight thousand residents. In November 2006, the local vicar urged members of his community to join with him to take action on climate change, and a group of eight volunteers formed an action group. The first few activities included a newsletter and posters advertising a showing An Inconvenient Truth at the local town hall to which 116 people turned up (the venue’s fire capacity). The group also used the town carnival to raise awareness and took part in procession as polar bears, wheelie bins, foot prints and coke cans!
Slowly the group formalised its objectives:
- to undertake activities that reduce emissions from Bovey Tracey and surrounding area
- to raise awareness of climate change and the need to adapt to its effects in Bovey Tracey and surrounding area
- to lobby to reduce carbon emissions
What are they doing
With its objectives in place, a determined professional aspect to its own branding and high profile speaker event (including Mark Lynas, Jonathan Porritt and Mark Edwards), getting credence and involvement from the local council and key agencies became markedly easier. The group now has two hundred members, a committee of eight, and action groups on food, waste, energy and transport. It aims to have one climate change activity every month ranging from speaker events which are attended usually by twenty to forty people, to practical ‘weekend’ activities like their very successful ‘Seedy Saturday’ to which over two hundred residents attended.
During the course of the project, the group has witnessed an increase in concern for and action on climate change amongst the residents. Whilst their internal communications are almost entirely by done by email, to ensure inclusiveness for the wider community the group also uses a telephone tree, a local community newsletter as well as a regularly updated internet site. The biggest challenge has been to ensure that volunteers are not over burdened.
The next action the group is planning is a complete carbon footprint of Bovey, funded by their National Park, in order to instigate both further carbon reduction activities and also to identify alternative energy sources, put together a carbon reduction plan and set up an ESCO (energy services company).
Bovey Tracey Top Tip
Get as many people involved as early as possible; there are lots of skills in communities but you’ve got to ask people to help out.
Web address: www.boveyclimateaction.org.uk