In July 2021, the National Communities Resource Centre and the London School of Economics will be launching the Energy Plus Academy; an exciting new knowledge-exchange programme to promote learning, skills, and local actions to tackle climate change.
“Energy Plus” considers the wider impacts of intensive energy use and climate change and the community initiatives that tackle energy use, such as retrofitting; food growing; community energy; greening schemes; and energy saving projects. The idea of setting up an ‘Energy Plus Academy’ builds on our existing project, the Housing Plus Academy, and on our work around social housing and community action.
We aim to bring together people from across the country including community groups, environmental organisations, social housing professionals and residents, construction and development companies, and anyone interested in reducing humanity’s impact on the environment. We will run 24-hour, participatory Think Tanks at Trafford Hall to generate know-how, share experiences, and develop action plans to take back and implement in communities.
Energy Plus is about the wider impacts of our intense use of energy, particularly fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal, on our environment and our climate. Everything we do is connected with climate change: the way we build, heat, and light our homes and buildings; how we travel; how we use land and how we treat our forests, fields, soil, and rivers; how we exploit the fish in our oceans, lakes, and waterways, and how we use water; and the pressures we put on wildlife, birds, animals, insects and bugs with human activity.
We rely on energy for almost everything we do, but as we burn energy, we create greenhouse gases that put a blanket of emissions around our planet causing it to warm, leading to climate change. The rise in temperatures and the damage to the natural environment that go with it threatens our survival, according to the government’s top climate change advisers. Our Government and most European governments are so worried that they have declared a climate emergency.
Through the Think Tanks, participants will expand their knowledge, build their motivation and confidence to taking action, and link up with active groups already working to tackle environmental problems. Based on our experience to date, people will go back to their communities and workplaces motivated and confident with clear ideas and plans to bring about change.
We estimate that each Think Tank will attract 30 participants, from 15 groups or organisations. Assuming 10 of the 15 groups deliver a project or promote organisational change, this will create 150 new environmental projects or developments a year. With on average 10 people benefitting from each new project, each workshop will help 100 people take action to protect the environment, causing a ripple effect. We will record success stories, describing the pathways alongside the barriers faced and how to overcome them. Over two years, we will produce an Energy Plus Academy handbook, documenting what can be achieved and how to deliver ideas that work.
A wide body of individuals and groups working to tackle the climate change crisis will benefit from the Energy Plus Academy. Our special focus is on social landlords and helping to make an impact in the areas where they operate, working directly on energy–saving and environmental protections. Groups that will be interested include: