I thought I’d share the latest edition of the Zero Carbon Luton Newsletter, which I’m publishing every month in 2022 – and beyond if it proves useful. I know most of you aren’t in Luton, and so this may be of limited interest. But if you’re generally interested in climate action at the city level, here’s some of what I’m involved in that I don’t always tell you about. And for those of you who are local and aren’t signed up to the newsletter yet – take heed, and get yourself over to Substack to subscribe.
- Solar Together Bedfordshire
- Luton Youth Climate Conference
- Are you a climate change champion?
- Foraging in People’s Park
Solar Together Bedfordshire
At a time when electricity costs are rising, having your own solar panels is looking more appealing with every bill through the letterbox. Solar can be expensive though, and so here’s some good news for those who have been pondering the pros and cons: Registrations are now open for the group-buying scheme Solar Together, running across all the councils in Bedfordshire.
The aim is to reduce the costs of solar by working together, using a well-established model that has already delivered 7,000 solar installations elsewhere in the country.
If you’re interested in getting solar panels or domestic battery storage, you’ll need to register here, giving details of your roof size and orientation. There’s no obligation at this stage. Once all the registrations are in, selected installers will bid for the work – and by grouping orders together, everybody gets solar at a more competitive rate.
The winning contractor will then survey your home, give you a recommendation and a quote, which you can then accept or decline. If you’ve been considering getting solar, there’s nothing to lose from joining the scheme – but be quick, because registrations close on June 14th.
Luton Youth Climate Conference
Zero Carbon Luton is delighted to be working with Youth Network on the Youth Climate Conference, which will take place on the 11th and 12th of July 2022 at Stockwood Park.
Organised by and for young people, this youth-led conference will investigate climate change and how we respond as a town. With workshops on conservation, green space and waste, transport, housing and energy, and aviation, it will be an opportunity to learn, to question, to help to shape a better future.
The conference will take place over two days, with participants from 11 to 18 on day one, and content tailored to secondary school audiences. Day two is aimed at those over 18, and includes more focus on skills and employability, ensuring that young people are equipped to play a part in the new green economy.
In partnership with the Culture Trust, we’re delighted to have Stockwood Park and Discovery Centre hosting us for the duration. Sessions will take place inside and outside, in the gardens, exhibition spaces and buildings, with lots of time to explore the site. Lunch will be provided.
How to get involved:
- We’re recruiting a team of young people who will be presenting workshops and facilitating the conference. If you’d like to be part of the team, email email@example.com for more details.
- We’d love to welcome more schools groups alongside those already attending. Teachers and heads, please get in touch with Youth Network to discuss your needs.
A big thank you to Luton Council, the Culture Trust, Luton Rising, University of Bedfordshire and everyone else who has been working with Youth Network to organise this event for young people in the area.
Are you a climate change champion?
As part of its Easy Being Green campaign, Luton Council is hosting a competition to find the town’s climate change champion.
The council wants to hear examples of people who are reducing their carbon footprints, and who would be willing to share their story. Using images and video, you’d be sharing your experiences of how you are cutting waste, saving energy, choosing sustainable transport options, and any other steps towards a greener lifestyle. Who might you inspire by sharing your story?
Is there a prize, you may ask. And yes there is. A family membership to ZSL – that’s Whipsnade and London Zoo – is on offer. It’s an annual pass that’s worth £325, or if the zoo isn’t your thing you can request an equivalent value in vouchers.
“Each action we take on climate change makes a difference” says Councillor Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change. “Our Climate Change Champions will highlight how small lifestyle changes are impactful, attainable and often cost free – if anything our residents could actually save money!”
“I’m very excited to hear what our community is doing to tackle this issue in their everyday lives – the more original the idea, the better! Whilst we are taking steps to lead the way on climate change locally, from reducing emissions in council buildings to using gas-to-liquid fuel in our vehicle fleet, we know the people of Luton are also key to change. Those with experiences, ideas and ‘green’ lifestyles are our allies and we need to hear their voices.”
How do you enter? Find out more here, and email the council at: LutonLife@luton.gov.uk
The edible plants in your local park
How many wild foods could you find in your local park? High Town residents got to find out recently on a foraging walk through the woodland of People’s Park. You can read about it over at the Zero Carbon Luton website.
And yes, while foraging is never going to replace a substantial number of calories and reduce our carbon footprints, it does give us a greater appreciation of the local landscape. As David Attenborough says,“no one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” So events that re-connect us to the land and its possibilities can be an important part of overall climate action in Luton.
In other news
- Seeing as it’s Jubilee season, it’s a good time to mention the Queen’s Green Canopy, which is supporting tree-planting in honour of her majesty across the land. Including Luton – more here, with a few months to get organised before tree planting resumes in the autumn.
- 30 Days Wild runs every June, organised by the Wildlife Trusts. It’s a challenge to do one wild thing each day of the month.
- Holiday firm TUI has launched city breaks by train for the first time, as a way of encouraging people to travel more sustainably – but only for customers in the Netherlands. We’d love to see this kind of thing being rolled out in the UK, from that TUI office right here in Luton.
- The latest of our Little Green Libraries is now in situ in Monstera Canteen, on Cheapside – ‘run by vegans, made for everyone’, as they say. Drop in to borrow or share books on food, climate and the environment.
- A first media appearance for Zero Carbon Luton this month, in this BBC Politics East story about green aviation.
- Did you see the bizarre PR story from outdoor company Blacks naming Luton as the UK city with the fewest parks? According to them we only have… three? Seriously though, they drew this conclusion by going on TripAdvisor and looking up Luton, so you know what to do: add your favourite Luton park to TripAdvisor. And maybe shop at Milletts.
Please pass this on:
We want to grow the community of people working on climate change in Luton. Forward this on to someone you know and encourage them to sign up.
Send in your stories:
Got a story to share? What’s happening where you are to help shift Luton towards a low carbon future?
Send your stories and questions to Jeremy Williams: firstname.lastname@example.org
The next newsletter will be out at the end of June, with further stories and updates at zerocarbonluton.org