What is Carbon Conversations?
Carbon Conversations is an opportunity to explore issues around climate change and how each of us can contribute to finding solutions by minimising our personal impact, confronting our everyday denial and finding the courage to speak out.
The Carbon Conversations handbook and training days offer empathy, encouragement and a practical path towards a sustainable future by offering a welcoming space where participants are encouraged to ask searching questions about their lifestyles and are provided with the information needed to make real changes in their lives and in their communities.
The meetings use professionally designed, reliable materials to cover climate change basics, ideas for a low-carbon future and the four key areas of the footprint – 1) energy, 2) transport and travel, 3) food and consumption and 4) waste. Discussions around practicalities are woven together with discussions on how people feel and what these changes mean personally.
The handbook, entitled, 'In Time for Tomorrow' ‘has received rave reviews from some impressive climate champions:
“This lovely handbook covers it all...reckons honestly with the psychological impacts of a crisis that is far too easy for many of us to deny in our everyday lives...”
Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine.
“...truly remarkable...provides a framework for people to share the real reasons why they act the way they do...explores the landscape of hope...”
George Marshall, author of Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change
Brighton Peace and Environment Centre offers facilitation of Carbon Conversations in two formats:
Community Carbon Conversations is offered to groups of friends, neighbours or other peer groups to explore behaviour change on a personal and community basis. This is run by volunteer facilitators and is free of charge. Once you have participated in a group, you can then go on to be trained as a facilitator and run your own groups to keep the Conversation growing.
Commercial Carbon Conversations is offered to groups of colleagues to explore behaviour change on both a personal and professional level. Workplace Carbon Conversations are run by trained facilitators and incorporates elements of team building, collaborative action plans and experiential learning. Commercial Carbon Conversations has been delivered to organisations such as Scottish Parliament, Buckinghamshire County Council, The Southern Cooperative and Brighton’s own Grace Eyre Foundation
In 2015, BPEC worked with The Values and Sustainability Research Group at the University of Brighton to design an in-depth values-based analysis of the effectiveness of Commercial Carbon Conversations. The results were overwhelmingly positive and provided a values-based assessment tool to compliment the Carbon Conversation sessions.
Because real, lasting behaviour change comes from a very personal place, sessions are held outside of the workplace setting to allow for deep engagement. Real, lasting change also takes time and with this in mind, we will be offering three training days on a one day a month basis for three consecutive months. Outside of attending these three days, participants will need to spend 2-3 hours at a Values-based Indicators workshop within the workplace and approximately 1-2 hours a week over the duration of the course on reading the handbook and filling out worksheets alongside communicating with peer groups to keep the conversation going.
Tasks will include:
Before the Course
Completing a Carbon Footprint Quiz
Completing an Attitudinal Survey
Reading set chapters in the ‘In Time for Tomorrow’ handbook
During the Course – on an occasional basis
Monitoring your energy meters with an online tool
Monitoring your personal and professional travel
Taking inventory of your food cupboards
Keeping a purchasing diary
Read further set chapters of the handbook
During the Course- on a consistent basis
Keep a journal of your personal reflections
Participate in a closed group forum with your peers
Keep an eye open for examples of good practice and opportunities for improvement at work
After the Course
Reflect on the experience in an interview with facilitators
Re-take the Carbon Footprint Quiz to see how it has changed
Re-take the Attitudinal Survey to see how it has changed
Make an ongoing contribution to workplace Sustainability plans and actions
Keep the conversation going
Feedback from previous participants
Having the group at the Earthship was very inspiring and it was great to come away from our busy work environmental
Well run, good open and friendly atmosphere created
It was great to spend time with a cross-section of colleagues, especially being new to my workplace
Great facilitators and great platform for the discussion
The group was [run] in a way which helped me to understand the information being delivered
Our group dynamic has been great and [the facilitators] have complemented it well
Great group dynamic, lovely facilitators
Enjoyable, fun way of learning about a subject that can produce strong emotions
I found the group dynamic and facilitation very positive and have shared the content of the workshop with a huge number of colleagues and friends. A very positive learning experience.
Many thanks to the facilitators for such a great insight into such a massive agenda.
Do you feel that this course has provided you with the information and inspiration to make changes in your life - both at home and at work? 10/10 YES
Do you feel that this course has provided you with the information and inspiration to motivate Service Users and other members of staff to implement changes in their lives and at work? 10/10 YES
Did you find the course and enjoyable and fun experience? 10/10 YES
Do you feel part of a team that can act as Green Champions at work and lead the way by example? 10/10 YES