Climate Round Table
AUTHOR: Erin Bird
FEATURING: Marianne Pemberton, Climate Smart and Monika Firl, Coop Coffees
After hearing the keynote discussion on Climate Change, which brought forward a lot of the scientific evidence of what is happening in our warming world, coupled with strategies that are currently being applied on some small-scale fairtrade farms to focus on healthy soils that can be more resilient in this time of changing climate, it was nice to follow up the session with a roundtable discussion. Introductions were made around the room on what particular thoughts or challenges people are currently experiencing with climate change. From feeling guilty to taking a flight to attend conference, to wanting to implement waste free solutions when packaging goods for a business, the opinions and concerns were varied. For the most part, concerns fell largely into two categories: things that businesses could influence, and things that could be influenced at a general societal level.
The second part of the workshop had Marianne asking us to divide into two groups representing the two categories of influence and perform two group brainstorm activities: 1) what is a small action that could be taken to improve the situation by 15%, and 2) if we had all the power and resources, what would be a big action we would take. While some of the responses from both groups on question 1 focused on actions we are each already taking, such as finding champions to help leverage our cause, implementing small changes, educating and advocating within our existing networks, the responses for question 2 were more aspirational around influencing decision making at an institutional or community-wide level. One example was implementing a water bottle rental program at a university campus. Other suggestions were even more omnipotent, by creating mandatory legislation and policy around banning single use plastics, mandating the purchase of only fair trade and sustainable goods, limiting packaging to what is only essential. The trick moving forward will be to create a line of sight between the small actions we identified and focus on how to empower each other to take bigger and bigger actions that may in the end influence the big policy changes and impact we wish to see.