Making 2022 A Year of Action for the Climate Emergency and Biodiversity Crisis – By Amber Connett ACIEEM

To mark the start of 2022, under the umbrella Action 2030 project, CIEEM has launched a ‘member pledge’ which aims to encourage further action from members to address both the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis. The pledge webpage sets out eight template commitments under the categories Carbon, Biodiversity, Waste and Resources, and Influencing, Sharing and Learning; and one option to create your own pledge. Those wishing to sign up can select their chosen pledge and submit using an online form.

The main goal of the pledge is to encourage ecologists and environmental mangers to act as visible champions for change and learn more about how we as a sector can reduce our own operational impacts, recognising that we are at the leading edge of halting climate change and reversing biodiversity loss. With increasing global support of Nature-Based Solutions, many are looking to the sector to provide advice and to collaborate with other sectors that we may not have worked closely with before.

As an ecologist/environmental manager/anyone working in this sector, we are acutely aware of these crises – every aspect of our work aims to address them in a way that also supports society. Personally, as a result of this, I have struggled with ecoanxiety and overwhelm – which I will admit has led to inaction in my own lifestyle. I have found that when I come home (or leave my fold-away desk at home), having worked on addressing the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis in my own tiny way, it can be very hard to switch back into action mode to reduce my carbon footprint or the amount of waste going to landfill. So for me it has been important to start considering and celebrating the achievements in my professional life in order to create momentum for my personal life, not to draw comparisons and feel like I’m not doing enough.

That is why in this pledge, we have tried to encourage action wherever you feel you can, in particular focusing on professional interactions. Because if we get these to the best they can be, and make sustainable choices routine at work, they will likely inspire change in our personal lives without a second thought.

An electric vehicle charging point is charging a parked car

As CIEEM, we made our very own pledge when we declared an interlinked climate emergency and biodiversity crisis in 2019 and set our goal for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. While we already had an ambitious Environment Policy, committing to this goal focused our minds and made us take a hard look at where we can do better and how we can integrate sustainable practices into all activities. We have since made Action 2030 a key theme of our Strategic Plan, launched a Carbon Reduction Plan, created our own carbon calculator and started implementing projects to reduce emissions.

In 2022, I will be continuing my work with the dedicated Action 2030 working group and CIEEM Team to reduce our organisational impacts, and in my personal life I would like to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and use of single-use products so I will be signing up to the relevant pledges for these. In terms of encouraging action within the membership (and hopefully beyond), one of things I am most looking forward to is members becoming visible champions for change, leading by example, and collaborating with other sectors to combine each other’s strengths. This is where the magic really happens in achieving transformative change.

We have gathered resources to help members on their way to achieving their pledge, including a template carbon calculator and a host of webinars and articles. These are available on the 2022 Member Pledge webpage and are always open to add to – so please do contact me with any useful links.

wild flowers growing in field on sunny day

In short, there is still much to be done and we can all do something to champion change or further reduce our impacts, but it is equally important to recognise the contributions we make day in, day out, in our work – for our own sake and to give hope to others.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
—Margaret Mead

Find out more about CIEEM’s 2022 Member Pledge and sign up here:

Amber is CIEEM’s Policy Officer. She joined CIEEM as an intern in 2018, following a BSc in Conservation Biology, to support Jason and the team to influence policy and law to protect and enhance nature. Amber now has an MSc in Applied Ecology and leads CIEEM’s Action 2030 project alongside policy activities and providing the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Nature.

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