In August 2022, we recruited and trained 15 enthusiastic volunteers in the latest climate science and solutions, to equip them with the knowledge and skills they needed to go out into their communities and share their learning with others. The aim was to engage audiences who might not have been to a climate-themed event before, and encourage them to do something to reduce their carbon footprint or do something climate positive, to contribute towards Cumbria reaching its net zero goal. Champions were active across the county, and occupied a diverse age range from 20s through to 80s!

Armed with knowledge gained from CAfS Carbon Literacy training, the Centre for Alternative Technology’s Zero Carbon Britain training day along with internal ‘Train the Trainer’ guidance and support from CAfS, the volunteers conjured up a wide range of events and activities to attract a diverse audience.

Six months on, nearly 40 events have taken place, including climate themed craft and art exhibitions, talks to schools and children’s youth groups, workshops, presentations and discussions, lobbying local councils, a carbon-cutting Facebook group, and a Toy Swap. The project has also increased the membership and number of local sustainability groups, with many champions having joined or even founded their own local group!

We’re continuing to support our Climate Champions and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the outcome of funding application which would enable us to recruit a fresh team of volunteers for this fun and impactful project.

If you’re inspired by any of what you’ve read to get involved in the project, either by applying to become a climate champion yourself or to set up an event led by a champion in your area – we think a pub quiz incorporating climate topics would do well to reach new audiences! – please get in touch with Clare Taylor, Project Coordinator: [email protected] or call her directly on 01768 593243.

We’d like to end with a massive shout out of appreciation to all our climate champions, for the huge amounts of hard work and determination they have applied to the project, and moreover for the success they have achieved in increasing the awareness and engagement among ordinary people about the climate emergency and how to tackle it, across the county.