Richmond Climate Week 2021 Overview

Habitats & Heritage, is a local charity that cares for the natural and historic environment and climate in south and west London.

The charity partnered with Richmond Council to co-create and co-produce Richmond Climate Week running 1st -7th of November coinciding with the first week of COP 26. The Week had 24 events raising awareness about climate change, understanding what can be done to help reduce its affects and to inspire everyone to take action. 

The Week commenced with Food, Waste and Recycling Day on Monday, with the surplus food café The Real Junk-food Project at the ETNA Community Centre, followed by an online event “The Journey of Waste”, and then an online Q&A with local refill and bulk food shop, The Source in Richmond. Monday finished with a cooking demonstration from local chef Livio of Massanello Twickenham demonstrating ways to use common food waste items, such as broccoli stems and stale bread.

Tuesday the focus shifted to energy and what can be done to reduce one’s carbon footprint. We started the day at Whitton Community Centre’s food bank with an energy café and then wrapped up the day with two online talks, one looking at simple things everyone can do to save energy at home, reduce our carbon footprint as well as saving money and an event around setting up a community energy group or energy project. In Richmond upon Thames, 49.3% of the Borough’s CO2 emission come from homes.

Wednesday was Youth and Education Day with both primary and secondary school conference events at York house, teaching the pupils about why COP26 was important as well as giving them an insight into climate decision making. Fantastic discussions were had about impacts and what actions the students would like to see. In the build up to the Week, over 80 local school pupils entered a poster competition highlighting the impact of climate change, COP26 and what we can all do to be climate positive – choosing the winners was extremely difficult.

Heritage and the Climate was the theme for Thursday. The Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) gave an informative online talk about reducing the environmental footprint of old buildings. Following this was a tour of the heritage landscape at Marble Hill Park to see the enhancement works that have taken place. In the evening Jason Debney of the Thames Landscape Strategy gave a fascinating online talk about rewilding in a heritage landscape, looking at the impacts of flooding and how nature can help to protect our local heritage.

Friday’s focus was on transport and air quality. Richmond Council shared information about their work to improve air quality across the Borough and the transport team ran workshops to encourage families to step out of their car.

Saturday’s theme was in line with that of COP26 being Net Zero. An Open Forum event brought the public together with officers from Richmond Council and some of Richmond’s prominent climate conscious organisations, to have discussions about what can and is being done locally in regards to the climate crisis.

On the final day of Richmond’s Climate week, Sunday, Habitats & Heritage hosted the Draw Off Litter Pick on the foreshore at Richmond collecting 25 bags of rubbish. The Friends of Ham Lands and the Westerly Ware Association (Kew) also led projects to increase the environmental and community value of their spaces.

As the finale to the Week, the Net Zero Panel Event, brought residents together to listen and ask questions to experts on climate change, the drive to reach Net Zero and COP26. The panel consisted of representation from Kew Gardens, sustainable kids clothing company The Little Loop and Richmond Council.

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