Olivia Marshall's Teach In Speech

Olivia Marshall
October 6, 2022

Hello, I’m Liv, and I’m a climate activist from Nottingham! I’ve been active in climate justice in
my local area for a while now, but today I’m going to talk about the Nottingham Climate
Assembly, the first citizens assembly collecting ideas from the community around climate
change in Nottingham!

The Nottingham Climate assembly is a project that started in June of 2020, with the aim of
involving local people in responding to the climate crisis and changes made in Nottingham.
Last month, we came together over a weekend to create a manifesto for our council, to
suggest ideas for their ambitious CN28 strategy. So what is CN28 and what exactly is the
Nottingham city council aiming for?

CN28 is the shortened name for Carbon Neutral 2028, a plan that has been criticised by
many, as to reach a goal like this in such a short amount of time, a 22.5% annual reduction
in emissions would be needed to be completely carbon neutral in the six years we have left.
The council has been doing many things to reduce our carbon emissions, such as insulating
current homes, introducing e-scooters and biogas buses and is on track to plant 50,000
trees by next year. However, this isn’t enough, as for many in council and government,
climate change just isn’t a priority, with the cost of living crisis getting worse each month, and
with an economy still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, getting support and funding
for policies can be challenging.

We heard from many groups working within the community who are doing their bit to support
the climate movement, including Keeping it Wild, a youth project funded by the
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, whose young people manage their own nature reserve and
take full responsibility for the hands-on tasks needed for the upkeep. Their main aim is to
help support the wildlife in the local area, and whilst running a nature reserve isn’t accessible
for everyone, even just growing flowers on a windowsill or joining your own local wildlife trust
can give nature the chance to thrive in our ever industrial world. There are many projects
within Nottingham that we looked into, such as community kitchens like Salaam Shalom and
community gardens in Sherwood and the Meadows, and whilst these are vital in supporting
people affected by the climate crisis, they lack the power to make wider change. And that, I
believe, is where the Nottingham Climate assembly comes in.

As a group, we recognise that our city knows that change is needed, as I’m sure everyone
here does as well, and so we need to make our voices heard and be ready to collaborate
with those in power to make the changes they’ve promised us. As I’ve already mentioned,
the Nottingham Climate assembly has created a four part manifesto, filled with further ideas
to get us on track to be carbon neutral by 2028. We’re urging our council to create a
comprehensive food waste strategy, something that Nottingham has lacked for many
decades, as well as to support the development of sustainable urban drainage systems,
increase accessibility on public transport and promote local buying to reduce food miles.  
Whilst our reach can only stretch as far as the Nottingham city boundaries, I want to get
everyone here involved in creating a change in their local area! I’ve brought a list of some of
the ideas we came up with as an assembly and I’ve attached a letter/email template to use
when contacting your local MP or counsellors which some of the volunteers will be handing
out. It’s crucial that as young people, we recognise the amount of power we have and we
use it, as this is the world that we’re inheriting, and I believe we should have the chance to

build it into a place we want to live. If you hear nothing back from your MP, take your idea
further! In a lot of cases, asking nicely just isn’t going to work anymore, so we can’t be afraid
to cause disruption, whether this be through protest or a school strike!

To help with this, I’ve got an activity that was inspired by the Nottingham Community
organisers who came in and spoke to us about their “heart, head, hands” conversation
model, which channels emotion into motivation and then action. Usually, they start with a
question that evokes a feeling that can be used as the spark to create a plan. And so, on the
post it notes the volunteers are handing out, I’d like you to answer the question “What makes
you angry in regards to climate change in your local area?” This could be anything, from high
amounts of litter in green spaces or a lack of renewable energy used in public buildings,
whatever angers and infuriates you.

The next stage of their conversation model involves getting the community member thinking
about “what next?” And so, on the same post it note, answer the question “How do you want
this to change in the next five years?”

After this, the community organiser will talk through a plan with dates and contacts to speak
to, and so this next bit is really up to you. Depending on the change you want to make, it
may be a case of speaking to your school or work and making progress there, contacting
your MP or counsellors, or organising a protest or strike to spread the word about your issue.
Whatever you choose, I want you to pick a reasonable deadline, and hold yourself
accountable to this, because an idea without action is no use. And so again, write this down
on your post it note!

I hope this helped inspire an idea for you to take home and make change in your local area!
I’m more than happy to help with these or answer any questions, I’ve put my contact
information at the bottom of the hand outs and so please do get in touch if you need help!
I’ve also put the social media links for the Nottingham Climate assembly, it’d be great if you
could check those out and donate through the website if you can!

Thank you so much for your time, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day!