In October 2018, The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its ground-breaking climate science report. The implications are global and the message was stark. We, as humankind need to immediately and radically reduce our carbon output.
In response to this, the CEO and Board of ASDC have agreed a set of pledges that our organisations will sign up to, and that we will ask all UK Science and Discovery Centres and Museums if they can sign up to.
We hope that our simple action to reduce carbon will have far reaching effects by inspiring other UK science organisations and networks across the UK to do the same, and show leadership in this area.
We have chosen these changes as they will make a major impact early, are comparatively quick, time-effective and cost-effective to implement by a very busy sector, and they capitalise on the powerful voice our institutions have to inspire change locally and with partners.
The main pledge
1. Our science organisation will Switch from Fossil Fuels and onto a
Renewable Energy Provider within one year.
2. We will seek pledges from all our staff, so that over 50% of those
working in our organisation will choose to be off fossil fuels and on renewable energy
providers at home, within one year.
3. We will loudly share what we are
doing, and why, with our visitors (20 million visitors nationally) and with our local partners, schools, councils and universities, encouraging them to switch off fossil fuels and onto renewable within one year.
(Note: some of our members will already be on 100% renewable energy, and some may need to investigate to find out. Please do still add your name to the pledge, as we can add a note on the website once you know.)
The Time Frame
We are asking science centres, science museums, learned societies and all our other science members to pledge now, in November 2018, and to switch within the coming year. This is because, whilst the actual switch takes just a few minutes, most organisations will need to explore which provider they are on, if they are already on part or all renewables, their usage and pricing, whether their current provider can supply renewables and if the renewables cost less or more, and what the existing contracts are. This is especially relevant for science organisations that will need to inspire whole purchasing groups, and in some cases whole city councils or universities to make the switch with them.
ASDC are here to help, and can point you towards other major cities and science organisations that have made this change.
However, the IPCC data makes it clear, this is not the time to be timid, but to show leadership.
It raises the question of whether it is appropriate or ethical for science learning charities and science organisations, to continue to burn fossil fuels and contribute to the problem. Especially when we are the organisations that are perfectly placed to help society discuss solutions.
We hope to put out a press release in December to share all the pledges with the world.
Why this particular pledge?
Clearly there are many environmental areas that need addressing. However, we need to consider what our superpower is. Likely we feel because energy supply is someone else's responsibility, we shouldn't or can't act. However, we are all people working within organisations that celebrate science, and are known and trusted locally and nationally for doing this.
We are the sector that shares the latest science with the public.
If we don't act decisively and loudly now, who will?
First we must switch our own organisations off fossil fuels and onto low carbon sources, then inspire our colleagues, then our partners, councils, universities and schools. And share what we are doing with the 20 million people who visit UK Science centres and museums each year.
Low carbon energy needs to be the new norm. With enough institutions and their staff switching, we can create demand nationally, which will require the creation of new wind, solar, wave and other renewable sources.
Reading the IPCC report is is very clear that we must do something dramatic, rapid and national to avoid catastrophe to large parts of the world by 2030, and that these effects will be affect the world's poor and vulnerable most. We have 12 years to radically reduce our carbon and this is a good first step.
What else can you do? Local Pledges
Suggestions to reduce carbon locally include:
We will look carefully at the food we offer families and visitors, and offer much more appealing and delicious vegetarian and vegan alternatives to reduce the carbon impact from meat.
We will ask our staff to encourage two friends outside the sector to switch to renewable energy providers at home.
We will ask all our staff to Pledge their own actions to reduce carbon, and share these.
We will consider how we can influence other organisations and major partners locally to encourage them to follow suit.
Suggestions to reduce plastics locally include:
We will stop using plastic bags routinely in our science centre shop.
We will reduce plastic use in all areas, especially cafes, for example by switching to vegware and changing suppliers, and will tell visitors we have done this.
How to switch?
Simply choose a provider and put in your postcode and get a quote. Prices generally fluctuate in response to the energy market.
Once you are ready to switch, they do all the hard work and contact your old provider, so it takes you about 5 minutes to switch your home, and a phone conversation if your organisation wants to negotiate a special tariff.
Which one to choose?
There are a number of Renewable Energy Providers including:
Scottish Power (but you must ask for renewables)
Plus brilliant local council 100% renewables schemes such as Bristol Energy and Nottingham's Robin Hood Energy.
The ultimate aim is to increase demand and the creation of new renewable energy capability in the UK. So, we strongly suggest you choose a provider who has a commitment to invest in building new solar and wind farms, rather than a broker who simply buys renewable when it is cheap off the grid. We will give more guidance on this over the coming weeks, and any suppliers that are willing to match your current rate.
To note, electrical energy from a wind or solar farm or other renewable source simply goes into the grid, along with all the electricity created from fossil fuels. When you choose a renewable energy provider you are pulling the same electricity off the grid but they are guaranteeing to match it at the other end with renewables going in.
This matching process is certified via
the National Grid’s Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificate