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Council launches initiative to get locals talking about living more sustainably

Published: 17 February 2022
Filed under: Climate change

Waltham Forest Council has launched a new borough wide Climate Choices initiative to encourage urgent conversations in households and communities about how we can live more sustainably.

The new campaign builds on a consultation involving over 3,000 adults and 1,400 young people across Waltham Forest that helped to inform the independent Climate Emergency Commission’s report in 2019.

Separate follow up research conducted this winter found that 44 per cent of respondents said they wanted greater guidance from the Council on what they can do. Despite the increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as the flash floods that devastated Whipps Cross hospital in July 2021, the research reveals a lower sense of urgency among Waltham Forest residents (51 per cent) regarding action on climate change compared to the national average (60 per cent). Additionally, the majority of people asked (60 per cent) are unclear on what’s best to do to address the climate emergency.

Speaking about the initiative, Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “More than 30 per cent of residents surveyed believe that climate change will have very little or no impact at all on them personally. This research is a wakeup call for Waltham Forest and demonstrates the scale of the challenge ahead.

“Living more sustainably is not as simple as choosing one thing over another and yes, changing the way we live is harder for some than others. We have to keep talking about climate change, being bold and making changes now in order to prioritise the needs of future generations and to mitigate the worst effects of climate change in Waltham Forest.”

After agreeing to a cross departmental climate action plan in response to the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in August 2021, Waltham Forest hosted London’s very first Youth Climate Summit at the Suntrap Education Centre in Epping Forest to coincide with the international COP26 conference in Glasgow in November 2021.

Chingford Foundation School pupil, Ava, one of the many thousands of local students to take part in the Waltham Forest Youth Climate Summit, said: “I like that this campaign is about offering positive choices. For some people, cycling everywhere might be really hard to do but giving up meat isn’t or vice versa. Either one that you pick is going to make a positive impact.

“We’ve gotten to the point where we can’t both maintain this lifestyle and help our planet. We need to start making sacrifices that we might not like, but it will better our planet for future generations.”

In order to get residents talking, the Council has created a dedicated Climate Choices webpage, where residents can weigh up the different ways they can live more sustainably and tell the council what additional support they’d like to receive.