Today Bristol held its tenth, bi-annual City Gathering, an opportunity for over 300 individuals and organisations from around the city to come together with a shared desire to work with a One City Approach which champions collaboration and partnership between public, private, charitable, and voluntary sector organisations. In the run up to COP26, this City Gathering was centred on our climate and ecological emergencies, with a focus on three key-areas:
- The challenge Bristol is facing;
- What organisations and communities are already doing to address the crises; and
- COP26 and the work we still need to do.
We had a great line up today with national and local speakers from diverse and wide-ranging backgrounds who all share our goal of becoming net zero by 2030 and with many representing and reflecting the different aspects that make up this great city of ours. We realise how urgent this situation is and now is not the time to downplay the crises to make it seem more manageable, instead, we have addressed the issues head on and held ourselves accountable to the challenges at hand. We had leading academics like Professor Dan Lunt, one of the recent IPCC report authors, and Professor Jim Longhurst, co-chair of the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change, setting out the challenge and how we need both individual action and systemic change.
We were pleased to welcome all the speakers to the Gathering, including Anneka Sutcliffe of Extinction Rebellion, who offered reflections on the day, Helen Kidan and Mohammed Osman who drew on their experiences as climate migrants, John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, who focused on how to lead the way locally with a Just Transition, and Professor Greg Clark, Chair of Connected Places Catapult, on the importance of financing cities.
All speakers were asked to come to the Gathering with a big Offer and Ask of the city to maximise the potential of having so many pioneers and innovators in one room and to focus on the practical actions Bristol can take to progress our One City Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategies. In this spirit, the city had its own ‘Climate Ask‘. We are calling on all businesses and organisations based in the city to:
- Declare an ambition to become Net Zero by 2030;
- Commit to developing a plan to reduce carbon emissions within 6 months;
- Start delivering on your plan within 12 months;
- Inspire other businesses by sharing your journey; we want to share your stories.
Our Offer to the city is that we will connect you to the businesses and networks that can support you to write that plan and to have it in place by 2022. Acknowledging that your plan will not cover all your emissions, but it will enable the next step that will set us on the pathway to 2030.
With this Offer and Ask, and those of the organisations in attendance today, Bristol took an active step forward towards tackling this challenge. It is only by working together as One City, that we can achieve the ambitious goals that we have set ourselves and move forward collectively to a greener, more sustainable future.
Thank you to everyone who attended today, we hope it left you with hope and a sense of unity to protect our city for future generations.