We caught up with the next Green Tech South West speaker to talk about ‘creating an evidence-based approach to tackling the climate crisis in a fair and equitable way in cities’ ahead of the event. Here, our chat with Sara Telahoun, Senior Consultant and Cities Specialist at Anthesis.
You have an incredibly interesting role, what does it entail?
Sara: As a senior consultant in the cities and regions team, my role focuses on providing consultancy support to local governments on their climate action strategies. This could be anything from developing a carbon footprint for a council as an organisation to running workshops with local business to identify challenges and opportunities in collaborating on climate action. I also help paint the picture of what action is needed from local government climate strategies and work with councils to engage their citizens and stakeholders in the process of defining how these actions can be implemented locally.
Bristol has declared a climate emergency and is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030. Can you give us a bite-size summary of the challenges they face and how are they doing?
Sara: The biggest challenge Bristol is facing is ensuring the diverse communities and individuals across the city are invited to participate in the climate and ecological emergency response and are not left out of the conversation. Bristol is a complex city, dealing with deep racial and social inequalities whilst simultaneously striving to lead with ambitious sustainability goals.
All eyes are on Bristol as one of the most ambitious councils working to tackle both climate emergency and ecological emergency with a fair and just response. I also sit on the Bristol One City Environmental Sustainability Board, who earlier this year released the One City Climate Strategy to explore how the city might start to break down its ambitious climate goals into key areas of focus with clear ownership. The board is currently working on the One City Ecological Emergency Strategy, which sets out some of the changes we will all need to make to restore a healthy natural environment for people and wildlife.
In your talk, you’ll be discussing some of the tools you use to help measure carbon emissions, what are they?
Sara: The best climate strategies are developed with a solid evidence base, and software can be a great enabler for this. Local government resources are extremely stretched, especially during the current pandemic, which means robust and easy-to-use technology services are really needed. Anthesis have been funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to develop a piece of software accessible for free to local governments in the UK to calculate their area’s greenhouse gas footprint and model scenarios for what emissions could look like to 2050. The SCATTER tool is now being used by hundreds of local and county councils across the UK, providing them with a robust evidence base for their climate action planning.
Without giving away too many spoilers, can you tell us more about your work with Catalyse Change?
Sara: Catalyse Change is an amazing community interest company that I’ve been involved with for the past couple of years, who run a mentoring program to enable young women and girls that are interested in sustainability with the tools they need to succeed. I am a mentor and a member of the Catalyse Change Advisory Board, so I support the organisation strategically while also delivering talks and mentoring to the young women they support. As well as mentoring, Catalyse Change runs a bootcamp to inspire and connect young women with a variety of female sustainability professionals, allow them to share knowledge and ideas while gaining confidence in their own abilities.
Where can we get more info on the topics you will be covering?
Sara: A few resources here in advance:
Thank you Sara for the chat.
Sara will take the virtual stage at our Green Tech SW meetup on Tuesday 29th of September at 12.30 pm. She will share her knowledge about creating an evidence-based approach to tackling the climate crisis in a fair and equitable way in cities.