The Carbon Watchers Project
The Carbon Watchers Project (CW) is loosely based on the philosophy of Weight Watchers – encouragement, no blame, no shame and sharing ideas and tips to reduce our personal carbon footprint.
In groups (friends, neighbours, club, formal or informal) individuals, using one of the tools suggested, find out what their personal or household, footprint is. By doing this we can see how the stuff we buy, and throw away, has a major impact on our footprint. On average it makes up about 40%.
Sharing the experience with your group will spark a discussion about where the major impacts are and lead to exploring how changes can be made. There is plenty of support on the web, within the foot-printing tools and through the SSCA and Zero Carbon Shropshire networks.
Quick wins can be identified, and barriers explored with a view to overcoming them. Each group manages itself and goes at its own pace. Some may meet weekly, monthly or occasionally to share ideas and stories. All, however, agree to share their scores and repeat the exercise each year so that the degree of change can be measured.
What do we have to do?
The local convenors (volunteers) will work with their groups to agree on a tool to use to collect individual or household footprint scores and calculate the average. There are several tools that are recommended it doesn’t matter which one is used as long as once chosen it isn’t changed.
Every individual/household does their own footprint score and lets the convenor know what it is. The convenor anonymises the scores and these are centrally recorded. As soon as a group is formed and has decided which tool to use, you are good to go.
Our desired outcomes include the designation of new reserves and extension to existing sites, better linking up of wildlife sites, reduced GHG emissions from daily reserve management operations, and increased sequestration of GHGs where appropriate to delivery of wildlife and habitat objectives.
This Project is being led by the Land & Biodiversity Working Group. Please contact Land@ZeroCarbonShropshire.org to get involved.
Information and resources
If you’d like to find out more, there are lots of resources available – including this short video clip explaining carbon consumption, a carbon footprint calculator, our resources page, South Shropshire Climate Action, 52 Climate Actions, Everyday Plastic, The Centre for Alternative Technology, Mossy Life and UN Learning.
What data are we collecting?
The total people who have taken part within the group. Their short Post Code i.e. SY9 2. This can also be used for employees in an organisation.
The percentage of group members whose footprints have gone up, down or remained the same over a year.
Anecdotal evidence of good practice, positive feedback, behaviour change. To share with everyone.
Evidence from areas that have structural barriers, i.e. high percentage of old or poorly insulated homes, poor transport networks, no services and so on. This will make targeted interventions more effective. Local Authorities/Parish Councils may be very grateful for this data.
Whether you’d like to volunteer on any of our projects across Shropshire, or you have a little time to spare to volunteer with Zero Carbon Shropshire and support us with things like publicity, events, social media and administration, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Simply drop us a line and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.