Without change agents, the world we live in today would be very different.
The Climate Coalition (TCC) are the UK’s biggest group of people dedicated to action on Climate Change. Jaz Vorraso, TCC’s Community Organiser for Great Big Green Week, spoke with us to discuss the brilliant work going on behind the scenes.
TCC boasts over 130 organisations ranging from Non-Government Organisations to community groups to businesses. “Our work mainly focuses on bringing people together from all walks of life to call for action on climate change and to ask our decision-makers to put the solutions in place to achieve a cleaner, greener future for generations to come,” says Jaz.
During the 10th – 18th of June this year, TCC are hosting their flagship campaign, Great Big Green Week (GBGW). Jaz’s role supports the involvement of members within the week and describes that: “It’s the UK’s biggest celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature. We see people from all across the country getting involved in events, activities and green weeks in their local areas,
“This showcases the action that’s already being taken in all areas across the country to tackle climate change and pulling that all together to make this national moment that shows politicians that we’re already taking action and we need them to do the same,”
Image Credit: The Climate Coalition
Jaz’s role ranges from having a call with someone who wants to organise something in their local town to running training sessions for people. Whether that’s advice on how to engage their local decision-makers on climate and nature during the week or creating resources to help organisers get involved, Jaz sure has her hands full.
“Having that personal contact with the people who are taking action and getting involved is a reminder of how many people do care about the issues that are affecting us,” she says.
At 22 million voices strong, TCC covers a national agreement: “Different aspects are important. It shows the breadth of people that do care about these issues, and giving them that channel to take action translates to interest from our politicians and decision-makers because they know that people care about these issues.
“With over 100 members that we have, we created that strong and unified voice that politicians can’t avoid listening to.”
GBGW, the organisation’s annual celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature, occur at a scale that not one organisation can achieve alone: “It means we can build consensus and momentum for climate and nature to be pushed to the top of the political agenda and stay there.”
Although Jaz elected Zoology for her studies, she echoed the opinion of many in stating the need for climate education across the curriculum: “Climate change needs to be a golden thread throughout education. Young people are such great ambassadors for taking action for the things we should care about. That’s why I think it’s important for things like climate change to be integrated into the curriculum but in different ways.
“Learning about climate change and the science behind it is very important and it equips young people and future generations with the knowledge they need to know about climate change and how to protect and restore our planet. But I think it also comes from providing that space and encouraging taking action.”
Image Credit: The Climate Coalition
To emphasise the importance of young voices, TCC run a rewards ceremony every year in Parliament called the Green Heart Hero Awards that celebrates individuals, communities and businesses who are going above and beyond to take action to tackle climate change and make their local area a better place to live.
Their action in Parliament aims to alert politicians to the need for more effective climate policies: “Government really need to make climate action a top priority and put in place the solutions that exist. They have been there for ages. They also need to put people at the centre of policy change; we need to ensure that no one gets left behind in a high to low-carbon economy because it affects us all.”
“There’s also space to make a connection between other issues that people are facing right now. For example, the cost of living crisis – many of the solutions to the climate crisis are solutions to the cost of living crisis in terms of energy production and energy security.
The TCC have a set of specific campaign asks that they’ve asked the government to focus on in certain areas to ensure that people are kept safe, the climate is kept stable, and nature is kept protected. Jaz says: “Each of these asks highlights the different areas that need progress but also the solutions that government can implement to create progress in each area.”
As for opinions on Government’s current action, Jaz believes that: “The UK’s target to reach Net Zero by 2050 is achievable with the solutions that are out there, but we definitely need to see more urgent action for those solutions to be a priority, to be implemented.”
So what’s next for TCC?
“Continuing to not only showcase that action [of GBGW] once a year but helping people to build those local networks and feel empowered to take action throughout the year. Empowering people to create a safer, greener future for everyone and asking politicians to do the same.”
Get involved in Great Big Green Week 2023 from 10th - 18th June! Be a part of the UK's biggest celebration of community action to tackle climate change by hosting an event in your local area. Visit greatbiggreenweek.com for more information on organising an event and different ways you can get involved.