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Professor Christopher Dent at the first ever Lancashire Community Climate Action Forum.

News story

Edge Hill University champions community voices on climate action

May 18, 2023

Community voices urging greater action on the climate emergency will be presented to political leaders after Edge Hill University hosted the first Lancashire Community Climate Action Forum.

Edge Hill University brought together over 60 community groups and around 30 other organisations from across Lancashire to set out new collaborative ways forward on climate action across the county. 

Hosted in the Business School building, over 150 representatives from these Lancashire-based organisations came to Edge Hill for the first ever Lancashire Community Climate Action Forum to explore new ideas on working together on climate action. 

One of the workshops at the Lancashire Community Climate Action Forum held at Edge Hill University

The timely event comes on the day scientists predicted the world will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold for the first time between now and 2027. 

Researchers from the World Meteorological Organisation say there is a 66% chance of passing the threshold by 2027 due to rising emissions from human activities, as well as the El Niño weather event expected this summer. 

The event at Edge Hill’s campus in Ormskirk united community groups and projects from Lancashire working on climate action related efforts, led by Professor Christopher Dent, who heads the University’s sustainability group SustainNET.  

Professor Christopher Dent at the Lancashire Community Climate Action Forum held at Edge Hill University.

“Edge Hill University wants to play its part in helping the county advance its climate action efforts and meet net zero emission goals.  

“Universities are uniquely resourced to bring people and communities together to work collaboratively on common challenges.  

“Climate action is integral to advancing the sustainability agenda in Lancashire and beyond, especially in the context of accelerating global warming which could have a calamitous impact on our planet.” 

“This event will help the wider Lancashire community find solutions to shared problems and explore ways of mutually supporting each other’s work, inspiring real collaborative actions and working in partnership with our county’s political leaders to achieve our common climate goals.”  

Professor Christopher Dent, leader of SustainNET

People from across all Lancashire who attended the event came together for a series of discussive activity sessions to better understand the goals, problems and challenges of working on climate action. Most were from community-based organisations working on different sustainability fronts, such as energy, nature, food, transport and general climate action. 

The event also featured a thought-provoking and highly entertaining eco-drama show entitled ‘While You Wait’ performed by the Tenderfoot Theatre Company at the start of the day, and at lunchtime a moving and reflective eco-dance performance entitled ‘Khule Dil (Open Hearted)’ by Edge Hill University’s very own dance students and choreographed by Jessica Bennett.

Participants shared good practice and explored new ideas on developing collaboration and mutual support, leaning on expertise from specialists working on different aspects of climate action and community engagement. There is a plan to develop a new Lancashire network of community-based organisations working on climate action following on from this first Forum event. A second Forum is planned for 2024, and future ones to hopefully follow annually thereafter. 

One of the information stalls at the Lancashire Community Climate Action Forum held at Edge Hill University.

In addition, the captured community voice outputs from the event will be fed back to Lancashire’s political leaders and local councils, for their consideration as they implement the Lancashire 2050 Plan

SustainNET was established in February 2020 as a network community of individuals at Edge Hill University who are passionate about sustainability. Formed with the support of the Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR) and led by Professor Dent, it seeks to advance the sustainability agenda both on campus and in our region on four interconnected fronts, namely research, education, student engagement and local community partnership.  

May 18, 2023


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