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The Edinburgh Report on Carbon Conversations

The Edinburgh Report on Carbon Conversations

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Published by Jamie Hall

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Published by: Jamie Hall on Feb 14, 2011
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02/22/2011

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www.teu.org.uk
 
The Edinburgh Report
Carbon Conversations as a tool forenvironmental change
 
Irina Nedelcu.The University of Edinburgh
 
The Edinburgh Report
Irina Nedelcu, Transition Edinburgh University
Page: 2 of 8
 
Executive Summary
 
Carbon Conversations
is a six session courseengaging with people on an emotional level todetermine low-carbon lifestyle changes
 
Since 2009 there have been
over 50 coursesdelivered in UK
in 2010 and 73 people havebeen trained to become facilitators.
 
In Edinburgh,
Transition Edinburgh University hasrun 15 courses over the past year
(that’s
over100 participants
) and has another 13 scheduledfor the current academic semester with 41trained facilitators.
 
Participants make significant changes to theirlifestyle
. One participant changed jobs fromBalloch to Callander to avoid commuting, onefamily of two moved into a smaller house, a fewpeople have changed to more efficient carsand some have stopped flying altogether.
 
 
The Edinburgh Report
Irina Nedelcu, Transition Edinburgh University
Page: 3 of 8
 
Background
In July 2009 The Guardian published the article Twenty ideas that could savethe world in its search for “the greatest plan to tackle climate change”. At thetime “one of the most quietly inspiring presentations” came from theCambridge psychotherapist Rosemary Randall, in the form of CarbonConversations – a six session course engaging with people on an emotionallevel to determine low-carbon lifestyle changes. One year and a half later,the course has taken off from Cambridge and is being successfully run inLondon, Norwich, Oxfordshire, Winchester, Scotland and Wales.
The course
But what makes Carbon Conversations so popular? What’s the secret behindthis approach proven to determine behaviour and lifestyle change? And forthose who are still unaware: what is Carbon Conversations and how does itwork?The subject of climate change has been on everyone’s lips for quite sometime now. We are all familiar with the facts, some of us tut, choose to ignorethem, agree to disagree, but mostly what it all comes down to is talk. Peopleare reticent when it comes to making a change. We’ve been taught andlearned to become consumers. Changing habits that have been rooted inour behaviour for generations now is very difficult to achieve. It’s like havingto learn a new alphabet, speak a new language. “We are all often veryresistant to change, people usually feel comfortable with what they know,”says Rosemary Randall.There have been notable technological and policy changes, but few ofthese engage directly with people and how they live their lives. Thus came

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