Climate Change action in Birmingham

We hear so much about climate change now. The scientific debate has concluded and the debate on how to tackle it is in full swing. Its effects on people in the developing world are increasingly known but people and wildlife here in Birmingham would suffer if climate change is left untackled. And when Birmingham emits more carbon dioxide as the country of Paraguay, we have a moral responsibility to act.

Although few people are aware of it, Birmingham already has achieved or is working towards some measures to reduce our impact on climate change, including:

  • Birmingham City Council’s Affordable Warmth Capital Programme aims to invest £60m in thermal comfort measures between now and 2010. This will not only keep vulnerable people warm but will save up to 30% of CO2 emissions from housing.

  • Birmingham has the largest solar power station on a public building in Europe – at the Alexander Stadium Indoor Training Centre in Perry Barr.

  • Combined Heat and Power networks that achieve 90% fuel efficiency are being installed in the city centre.

  • Several housing associations have successfully undertaken installation of solar and wind power in their homes. In Ladywood, up to 300 homes will have solar panels and wind turbines installed.

  • Many local organisations are undertaking work at a community level. In October, some of these were presented with awards for their work at the Birmingham Community Global Climate Change Challenge.

  • Several of Birmingham’s schools have installed renewable energy measures or have well-developed plans to do so.

Faith and Climate Change in Birmingham

At the start of 2006, we felt that in the age where all sectors of society are getting on board with the climate change issue, it was time to set up a partnership in Birmingham working on climate change from the spiritual and moral perspective. The Partnership was founded by the Environment Agency, Birmingham Friends of the Earth, Birmingham Sustainable Energy Partnership and Midlands Islamic Network for the Environment and we are continuing to work together.

We set out with the aim of involving members of faith communities in activities on climate change by motivating and inspiring activity within faith communities.

We need your help as interested individuals and organisations to keep the momentum going and spread the word among the faith communities of Birmingham.


Multi-faith and Climate Change Conference, June 2006

In June, we held a Conference at the Banqueting Suite of Birmingham City Council House, attracting around 100 people from 9 different faith groups. An afternoon of listening to speakers and participating in workshops resulted in a multi-faith declaration on climate change.

The Declaration

The declaration on climate change was produced and endorsed by all those who attended. This declaration has formed part of the draft Climate Change Strategy for Birmingham, which goes out to consultation at the end of this year. The Declaration reads as follows:

We will work together as faith communities to achieve a just, low-carbon society for all, in order to safeguard the planet for the future.

We believe that tackling climate change is a moral issue. We are seeking a just society in which quality of life is measured through human happiness and not material consumption.

We call upon people of faith and all citizens of Birmingham to:

  • Live simply, so that others may simply live

  • Lead by example, changing our daily habits because we hope and believe it makes a difference

  • Support existing environmental initiatives

  • Campaign on climate change educate and raise awareness at a grass-roots level among faith communities

We call on Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Strategic Partnership to:

  • Take a lead on promoting and enabling a low-carbon lifestyle

  • Reduce the need to travel and promote sustainable public transport

  • Promote and support greater use of renewable and locally generated energy

  • Give recognition to, and celebrate good practice

  • Educate for sustainable living in our schools

We call on government to:

  • Tackle climate change through international co-operation based on carbon justice

  • Legislate to tackle climate change

  • Use the tax system to encourage sustainable living

We call on business to:

  • Produce and sell sustainable goods and services

  • Provide information on the carbon content of goods and services

We ask all faith groups in Birmingham to endorse the declaration and to subsequently adopt the declaration and work to help with its delivery, which includes working to reduce CO2 emissions.

Exhibition and DVD

Following the June conference Birmingham Friends of the Earth put together a photographic exhibition about faith and climate change. It features images relating to climate change, a copy of the Declaration, and photographs of people at the conference holding speech bubbles saying what they think about the issue. The exhibition was launched at The Warehouse in Digbeth on 19 July, and is touring faith centres in the city as a starting point for discussion and education. Birmingham Friends of the Earth is offering speakers to accompany the exhibition if needed.

We also made a short DVD of the conference, which comes with a brochure explaining the project and offering the exhibition as a resource for faith groups. It is designed to spread the word about faith and climate change and get more people interested and involved.

Multi-faith and climate change speaker event, November 2006

On 22nd November 2006, we held a speaker evening at the Amanah Centre in Camp Hill including speakers from 5 faiths, Rabbi Margaret Jacobi, Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Steve Lyne, Parwez Hussain and Pravin Sangani. The audience was diverse in terms of faith and numbered 70. Good speakers and interesting questions has attracted a lot of attention to our next step…the ambassadors project.

Climate Change Ambassadors

The Birmingham Faith and Climate Change Partnership (currently Birmingham Friends of the Earth, The Environment Agency and Birmingham Sustainable Energy Partnership) have recently received funding from the Birmingham Environmental Partnership for funding to recruit and support a team of volunteer climate change ambassadors. The proposed project will run for a year, and ambassadors will receive information, training and support from the Partnership and each other to help their faith communities find out about and take action on climate change. This is a move away from the Partnership organising events but a move to support members of faith communities to take action themselves.

We began the Climate Change Ambassadors project with the following event with a workshop for ambassadors to come up with an action plan for action on climate change within their communities. We aim to meet other ambassadors during the coming months to work with them what they can do in their communities.

Ambassadors’ work on climate change could be of any size – from hosting the exhibition or inviting a speaker to holding a large event or forming a pledge scheme for faith members to take action in their own homes.

Do you know anyone who could be a Climate Change Ambassador?

Could you spare some time to help support the Climate Change Ambassador project?

Get involved and stay in touch

We need your help as interested individuals and organisations to keep the momentum going and spread the word among the faith communities of Birmingham. This information sheet has included many questions, which are summarised below. Please let us know how you can help with any of this.

  • Can you endorse the multi-faith and climate change declaration? Are there others we can work with to endorse it?

  • Do you know of any other ways we could promote the declaration within faith communities?

  • Do you know anyone who could be a Climate Change Ambassador?

  • Could you spare some time to help support the Climate Change Ambassador project?

  • Are you willing to receive a copy of the consultation of the Climate Change Strategy?

  • Do you know somewhere that could host the exhibition?

  • Do you have contacts who we can approach to host the exhibition?

  • Do you know anyone who would like to receive or see the DVD of the Conference?

  • Do you have any useful contacts for us?

In addition, we are looking for people to get involved in the Faith and Climate Change Partnership itself. If you are interested, you’ll need to spend a few hours a month (evenings and weekends are fine) in meetings and working on projects.

Finally, we would love to know of anything you have done on climate change within faith communities, or any ideas you have for future projects.

Birmingham Faith & Climate Change Partnership:

The Warehouse

54-57 Allison St



B5 5TH

0121 632 6909 (ask for Maud Grainger)