TAP Time: Climate Awareness and Education

“TAP Time” sessions at the Cities & Regions Pavilion showcase the most promising projects from the Transformative Actions Program (TAP). The TAP aims to raise global climate ambitions by accelerating local and regional climate action. A session on Climate Awareness and Education on 4 December featured presentations from Kyoto, Manchester and and Rio de Janeiro.

Takuya Matsuura, General Manager of the Global Environmental Policy Office Environment Policy Bureau of the City of Kyoto presented Kyoto’s approach to generating behavioral change. To guide the initiative, the city established six visions that they aim to realize by 2030. The campaign encompasses education for recycling (with the goal of significant waste reduction), eco-mobility (with the goal of a pedestrian friendly city) and general awareness raising (with the goal of getting citizens on board). The program uses the catchphrase “Do you Kyoto?”, a phrase introduced by Angela Merkel that uses Kyoto as a symbol for environmental activity all over the planet. Finally, Matsuura stressed the importance of the collaboration between ICLEI and Kyoto for the city of Kyoto and pointed to the joint statement in preparation for COP21, which references the Kyoto Protocol and call for ongoing action in the direction of the protocol.

The Acting Mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, presented the Carbon Literacy Project – a “whole population project” that aims to foster change in all strata of society, from the children to the elderly. “We have to change the hearts and the minds of the people in order to put change forward”, Lloyd stated. This is where the Carbon Literacy project comes in, with education and awareness raising for everyone: “This if for everyone, not just for the hippies” Lloyd explained.

The project enables citizens to access one day’s worth of climate change education, covering climate science, context and opportunities for action. With the support of 30 partner organizations, the project has established a Carbon Literacy Standard, offering a consistent measurement of community education. The training aims to guide audiences to this standard, equipping them with the tools and knowledge they need to act on climate change within their communities.

The team offers trainings and spreads the message through online media. Lloyd explained that carbon literacy is “an awareness of carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions on an individual, community and organizational basis”. “Carbon literate citizens behave instinctively”, he added, and “are aware of the footprint of every action”. Lloyd concluded: “We need more resources, staff capacity, networks, collaboration, people to use our method. This has to be something that goes everywhere. Carbon dioxide does not recognize boundaries!”

Nelson Moreira Franco, Climate Change Manager of the City of Rio de Janeiro highlighted the importance of youth education: “We should support the youth to provide a better future for everyone”. Rio is implementing the Sustainable Schools Project, which aims to transform society within the local context through environmental education. The program will evaluate six municipal schools from a sustainability perspective. Schools will be evaluated in five areas: energy efficiency, waste management, water use, health and safety, and greenhouse gas inventories.  Following the evaluation, measures will be suggested by the municipal authority to increase the sustainability of the schools.

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