CAT Stories – Zero carbon councils: interview with Sarah Speakman-Jones

CAT Stories – Zero carbon councils: interview with Sarah Speakman-Jones


Home » CAT Stories – Zero carbon councils: interview with Sarah Speakman-Jones

We recently caught up with Sarah after the May Zero Carbon Britain course, to talk about the work she and her council do in getting to zero carbon, and how our Zero Carbon Britain course will inform their work.

CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain courses see people join across all sectors of society, from school teachers, members of climate action groups to local councillors, to gain the knowledge and skills needed to help implement and inspire changes in their community.

Sarah Speakman-Jones

Sarah Speakman-Jones is the Senior Waste & Resource Officer at Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council. She has a BSc in Environmental Protection and has worked with community action groups such as Transition Bournemouth to bring Repair Cafes and other waste prevention events to the area.

Sarah Speakman-Jones
Sarah helping in a foodbank

What inspired you to join the Zero Carbon Britain: live online course?

I signed up for the course for a couple of reasons, firstly, like many other people I am beginning to feel that the time to the tackle the issues is running out and I wanted to be sure I was focusing my efforts in the right areas. The second is because BCP Council announced a climate emergency last year.

Alongside that, the waste and sustainability teams, though having always worked together, have recently moved into the same team and I’m hoping I am hoping there will be more opportunities to work on wider climate change projects. As my working professional knowledge is predominantly waste orientated, I wanted to widen my knowledge base.

What are the key things you took home from the course?

I have been having the feeling that we were missing opportunities for change as we return to ‘normal’ after the Covid-19 lockdown. However, I realised during this course, one thing that has changed is the growth of communities, perhaps these strengthened communities are the opportunity we needed to make changes.

The course showed me that the solutions are already out there, we just need to start acting.

How will what you learnt during the course inform your work, and the work of your council?

The course is already helping to focus my mind and helped me to discover my local resources, by knowing who and what to look for, I finished the two days intending to follow these up.

Since the course, I have attended my first (online) Zero Carbon Dorset event. The information and skills I gained on the course have helped me to feel more confident about sharing information in a correct and concise way.

What are your plans/plans of your council?

I have tried to make lifestyle choices to reduce my personal impact, from volunteering on local projects like community gardens, giving up my car in 2008, to the purchase of a retrofitted ‘eco-house’, which is fully insulated, relies on solar thermal and a wood burner for hot water and heating, has bamboo floors, clay paint and a progressing forest garden. I’ve been considering how to expand on this and the course helped with that too. 

I have also been asked to present a summary of the course to colleagues from across the Council who attend ‘Go Green’ meetings.

Sarah Gardening

Want to learn more?

The latest Zero Carbon Britain report is free to download, with plenty of resources on developing community action plans and zero carbon models.  

Our next Zero Carbon Britain: live online course takes place on 21-22 July 2020.

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