Climate action requires everyone to come together. Community is key to our city tackling the climate emergency and reaching our carbon neutrality and nature recovery goals.
The power of communities is significant in Bristol – we saw this during the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently the national cost of living crisis. No matter how big or small their action, our residents continue to come together to make a change.
The Great Big Green Week (10 – 18 June) is a celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature. It gives us an opportunity to highlight some of the incredible things people in our communities are doing to look after our planet and inspire us to all play a part in some way.
We see community action across all areas and communities of our city – people working together to make real change happen, whether that’s community organisations, businesses or individuals within neighbourhoods.
A city-wide programme funded by the National Lottery’s Climate Action Fund recognises the community leadership at the heart of local action. The Community Climate Action Project, which launched in 2021 and is coordinated by Bristol Green Capital Partnership with support from the Centre for Sustainable Energy and the council, brought together 12 community organisations from across the city.
The first six, which joined the first phase of the project during 2021-22, co-produced the city’s first Community Climate Action Plans. In April 2023, six more joined them, enabling the project to reach more communities taking part in climate and nature action.
The 12 community organisations are: ACH, Ambition Lawrence Weston, Bristol Disability Equality Forum, Heart of BS13, Eastside Community Trust, Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust, Bricks Bristol, Hillfields Community Garden, Knowle West Media Centre, Southmead Development Trust, The Vassall Centre and Windmill Hill City Farm.
The richness of community climate action goes well beyond these 12 community organisations.
Our work with Black Seeds Network and Creative Connex has helped start to build recognition for the many people from diverse communities who are doing their bit to tackle climate change. Here are just some of their stories.
We’ve also spoken to so many residents across the city about the work they’re doing to tackle climate change. It doesn’t just have to be about starting a project, we’ve also seen people change small habits in their day-to-day life.
Jaz and Serena – Empire Fighting Chance
Jaz and Serena could see the struggle they had with plastic waste in the gym, so they took action to reduce single-use plastic by selling reusable bottles and providing water in biodegradable cups.
Serena said: “It might just be a small thing, but if you think of it, it has kind of a big impact for this community.”
Jim and Nobby
Jim and Nobby were very conscious of the throwaway world we live in. They set up a project to restore and repair people’s broken items to help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
Nobby said: It’s all about diverting things from landfill, giving people new skills and creating a community within our area.”
Lee wanted to do his bit to live a lower impact lifestyle. His family have been making some small steps in their day-to-day life to help make a difference to their carbon footprint from moving to a plant-based diet to driving a smaller car.
Lee said: “The small changes that each and every one of us can do will have a huge impact on the environment…. I think what’s important is when you evaluate your own environment and think of the changes you can make.”
More climate action stories can be found on the Bristol Climate Hub.
As well as supporting the Community Climate Action project, Bristol City Council also awarded 25 Bristol community groups and non-profit organisations grants of up to £5,000 towards their work reducing carbon emissions or supporting nature recovery in our city, totalling £95,000 for groups taking climate and nature action.
We can all take inspiration from the actions of these individuals and ask ourselves what can we do this Great Big Green Week to tackle climate change? The Bristol Climate Hub has a whole host of ideas for things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint, from a community-wide perspective or from an individual and household perspective like walking whenever we can, to choosing low-carbon foods. Have a look, get inspired, take action.