Bishop Paul Slater was one of the panel of experts at the launch of a three month city wide engagement process to find out what Leeds residents want their city to be like as it transitions to a zero carbon economy in the next ten years.
At a packed event at Leeds University on Tuesday 16th July, Bishop Paul (pictured below), took questions on how the Big Climate Conversation could reach every community in the city and how to speak to friends and colleagues whose reckless consumption challenges all our futures.
Leeds Climate Commission, on which Bishop Paul sits, has set out an outline plan or roadmap of how the city can reach carbon neutrality by 2050. However, Professor Andy Gouldson, Chair of the Commission, spoke of the need for an inclusive and participative process, saying he wanted the changes needed by Leeds residents to “Be done by us, with us and not too us”.
Others outlined the risks to the city associated with global average temperatures rising above 1.5oC such as food insecurity and more extreme weather like heatwaves and flooding.
The opportunities for Leeds to lead the way in developing a just transition, were highlighted. Those most vulnerable to climate impacts could be supported with, for example, home insulation improvements at the same time tackling fuel poverty, or improved public transport and pedestrian and cycle networks helping with public health and air quality.
As part of a city wide interfaith group, Bishop Paul has set up a programme for Carbon Conversations within faith communities. This 6 week course is shown to help participants effectively reduce their personal carbon footprint and become more confident to share their new found knowledge with friends and family. The programme is starting with an introductory session on 18th September at LCI for volunteer leaders, who once trained will them be able to lead the course in their own faith communities.
The Diocese has its own policy, passed at Diocesan Synod in March this year, with a commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. A wide range of strategies are in place to start to achieve this, including encouraging churches to participate in the Eco Church award scheme and to utilise the Green Journey to manage their energy consumption and switch to renewably generated energy.
You can watch the Big Climate Coverstaion event on Youtube here.