London Climate Action Week (LCAW) is taking place on 14th-20th November. The week will showcase a series of events highlighting how London’s politicians, businesses and civil society can turn climate pledges and promises into action, particularly with COP26 set one year from now.
The week explores four themes; (i) A green, fair and resilient recovery, (ii) the roadmap to COP26, (iii) a sustainable and net-zero London and (iv) the whole of society climate mobilisation.
In our second interview for the LCAW Interview Series, Malini Mehra, Chief Executive of GLOBE International explores the whole of society for climate mobilisation theme.
Question: What is the significance of your theme in contributing to the aim of LCAW?
London Climate Action Week seeks to mobilise London’s world-leading climate organisations to collectively address the climate emergency.
COP26 provides a natural focus for our efforts but LCAW’s ‘whole of society’ approach reflects our conviction that making a difference means reaching into London beyond the climate bubble.
Climate change will affect every aspect of our lives. Accordingly, the response must include all of us in our lives as consumers, investors, makers and citizens.
COVID-19 has been a dress rehearsal for this. Its profound impact has turned lives and economies upside down. Health, education, employment, mobility. Few aspects of life have remained untouched. Behaviour change has been sudden and at scale. Clean air one silver lining, showing another future is possible. Climate change will be similarly disruptive and demand deep societal engagement.
Question: What sets London Climate Action Week apart from other climate events?
LCAW seeks to galvanise this. Given the international links so many of us have, engaging Londoners means engaging the world. With 1 in 3 of London’s 8.8 million residents born overseas, the city now is as diverse as it was two thousand years ago during Roman rule. It is a microcosm of the world.
London’s history itself teaches a lot about resilience. The city has faced conflict and cataclysms, rebuilt itself several times and survived. Embedded carbon is literally at the heart of the city. Taxes from coal paid for churches – including St Paul’s Cathedral – to be rebuilt after the Great Fire of London (1666). The city’s industrialisation was more rapid than modern-day China’s and the unequal consequences of growth not only portrayed movingly by Dickens’ socially-reformist pen, but addressed by those two great immigrant-origin engineers, Brunel and Bazalgette.
Innovation and openness to the world have been central to London’s resurrection. Qualities essential in a post-Brexit Britain and a world heading into an uncertain decade. Collaboration across borders is the antidote to chauvinism and the UN sustainable development goals with their mantra ‘Leave no-one behind’ provide a fitting frame for London Climate Action Week.
When it comes to solutions, COVID-19 has shown the limits of reliance on top-down, uni-disciplinary models of crisis management. The overwhelming lesson from the UN’s experience with disasters is that risk governance requires a whole of society approach. This is fundamental to LCAW’s operating model. It is also the most rewarding. Last year, LCAW’s debut saw London’s first Green Shabath with artists, architects, planners, lawyers and judges joining teachers and students to take action on climate change. This year further cross-sections of society are engaged. From cooks to community organisers, mental health workers to landscape gardeners. Inclusion builds legitimacy and political leaders are taking note.
Question: What are you most looking forward to for your theme during LCAW 2020?
With LCAW this year coinciding with Diwali and food poverty top of mind for many, I’m looking forward to starting the day with our partners Food for All, the Hare Krishna-inspired food heroes who provide vulnerable Londoners with 100% plant-based delicious hot food daily. Come join me in volunteering and kicking off an impactful LCAW 2020.