Join in climate action fight with #CountdowntoCOP campaign

Lizzie Insall has signed up to the #CountdowntoCOP initiative.

Lizzie Insall has signed up to the #CountdowntoCOP initiative. - Credit: Sustainable St Albans

A new initiative is calling on us all to take one or more of 16 steps to reduce their impact on climate change.  

Residents are being urged to sign up to the St Albans section of the global Count Us In website, where they can see information on how each of the high-impact actions will make a difference to help reduce carbon emissions in the district. 

The #CountdowntoCOP campaign runs over 16 weeks from July until November, encouraging people across the district to make lifestyle changes, in the run-up to the international climate change conference COP26, hosted by the UK this year in Glasgow.

Each week focuses on a different step, beginning with talking to your friends about climate issues and finishing with an action about investing your money in a climate-friendly way.

Catherine Ross, trustee of environmental charity Sustainable St Albans, which is promoting the initiative locally, said: “Our recent climate emergency survey results showed us that local people care about the climate crisis and want to know how they can personally make a meaningful difference. 

"Count Us In makes this easy and sets out the 16 highest impact steps a person can take to reduce individual carbon emissions.

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"You go online, find a step that suits you, and sign up for an action, as part of the St Albans team. You might decide to cut your food waste, cycle more, or turn down the heating.

"I love that the Count Us In website adds together people’s small steps to make a big total, so we can see the impact we’re having here in St Albans.” 

Information will be available on the Sustainable St Albans website and social media to provide information and encouragement for people to join in.

Weekly blogs will feature the different steps, written by local people with specific expertise, including food writer and Herts Advertiser columnist Becky Alexander writing about food waste and engineering company AECOM on how to reduce energy use at home.

St Albans resident and keen upcycler Emily Southcombe

St Albans resident and keen upcycler Emily Southcombe - Credit: Sustainable St Albans

St Albans resident and keen upcycler Emily Southcombe will be writing on how to make clothes last longer.  

Emily said: "I'm volunteering to write a blog about the step "Wear Clothes That Last" because more and more people are becoming aware of the devastating impact of fast fashion on the planet

"I am a charity shop volunteer helping to avoid clothes going to landfill and I also upcycle and repair clothes to extend their lifespan. I hope this campaign will inspire people locally to be 'counted in' and make the changes that matter." 

The St Albans Count Us In page shows the people who have signed up, and includes local resident Lizzie Insall, who said: "I've signed up to take the Repair and Reuse step on the St Albans team page at Count Us In and I’ve been using YouTube to learn how to patch my jeans and I’ve also managed to fix my toaster. It’s important to get more life out of items which were 95 per cent fine.” 

Several local organisations are supporting the project including St Albans Friends of the Earth, AECOM, the Herts branch of the student climate network UKSCN, and St Albans district council. Together they are called St Albans Climate Network or #StAlbansCAN. 

The new campaign is launched at an online evening event on July 8 with a panel of speakers including Tom Vellacott, the CEO of WWF in Switzerland,  Ipsita Bhatia from Count Us In, and St Albans resident, Suzanne Dolan who works as the sustainability lead for BBC’s EastEnders.

They will discuss the actions taking place in the countdown to the November climate change conference from a local, national and global perspective.   

See how to register for the event, and sign up for the campaign, on the Sustainable St Albans website or search St Albans Count Us In to see which local people have already taken a step to reduce their impact on the climate.