Call goes out for Cool Planet Champions

1 Sep 2017

From left: Phil Smyth, head of public engagement; Sinead Crowley, design coordinator; and Vicky B​rown, foundation director, Cool Planet Experience. Image: Cool Planet Experience

Cool Planet Experience is looking for 26 Cool Planet Champions around Ireland. Could one of them be you? Claire O’Connell reports.

If you are passionate about climate change and want to help spread the word about how we can protect our planet, then Cool Planet Experience (CPE) wants to hear from you.

The Wicklow-based initiative, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, is looking to recruit 26 climate change advocates or ‘champions’, one per county in the Republic of Ireland. These representatives will give talks in their local communities about the science and impact of climate change, about how to make a difference, and about the opportunities that lie in switching to a low-carbon lifestyle. 

‘Cool Planet Experience comes from a real vision and a desire to change the message around climate change’

The idea is to get simpler, clearer messages out about climate change, according to CPE CEO Vicky Brown.

“Cool Planet Experience comes from a real vision and a desire to change the message around climate change,” she said. “We felt people weren’t hearing what was being said by scientists and that it didn’t resonate with individuals. Cool Planet came out of a passion to talk about not only the negative things about climate change, but getting people to appreciate the positive opportunities of taking part in change and being part of a low-carbon economy.”

CPE plans to open an interactive space next year at Powerscourt Estate, Co Wicklow, to bring people on a hands-on journey through climate change and how to address it. It has also developed science-based workshops with lots of hands-on activities for kids that can be delivered at events such as birthday parties.

Now, its Champions programme seeks to further spread the word through local people in each county who have a passion about the subject.  

Think global, act local

Today (1 September), CPE has put out the call for people to apply with a two-minute video.

The selected Champions will receive training about climate science and communication from Dr Cara Augustenborg, Raoul Empey from Sustineo, and Philip Smyth from CPE. In return, the volunteers commit to giving a number of talks in their local communities.

The presentations these Champions give to local groups – such as GAA clubs, schools, businesses and other community gatherings – will include a little about their personal interests in the subject and how they might be coming up with ways to save energy or reduce their carbon footprint, as well as clear facts about the science and impact of climate change. The Champions will feed back to CPE and receive updated information as the science develops.

If this floats your boat and you are aged 18 or over, then you can apply by sending in your video by 22 September.

Dr Claire O’Connell is a scientist-turned-writer with a PhD in cell biology and a master’s in science communication