Notes from Copenhagen – Day 4

By on 17/12/2009 in Blog

Sandy Taylor, Head of Climate Change and Sustainability at Birmingham City Council, blogs on the fourth and final day of his visit to the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen…

This is my last day in Copenhagen. The Mayors' Summit finished last night and Cllr Tilsley returned last night. Today, Copenhagen City have organised a number of site visits. I had only the time to go on one of these.

A small group of us - from Serbia, Spain, Germany and Delhi - went to a workshop on Copenhagen's environmental science centres. This was led by someone who has developed this concept over the last 11 years in Copenhagen. He has had the full support of his Cabinet Member and he has developed it as a public/private partnership between Copenhagen City Council and the city's energy companies to promote environmental awareness in the city.

The venture has just launched a new concept to raise environmental awareness for 11-14 year olds. Basically this is a “mini-town” set of components (for making houses) and which the children have to build themselves complete with real systems for renewables, a mini waste collection system, water conservation and insulation.

This is transported to schools in kit form which the children have to build over a three to four day period. This is sponsored by a local energy company. And they have university science and engineering students involved as guides.

We were then taken to their “Energy and Water Science Centre” which is booked by schools - over 10,000 children go through the centre each year.

Again this is run as joint venture between the council and the energy and water companies. This was a fascinating project, which really demonstrated how science, environment and the whole world were interconnected.

We had to climb into a larger than life toilet bowl and into a sewerage system with rats and other unmentionables in the sewer! Well they were pretend! But it is designed to encourage debate and think about how we live and conserve what we have.

There were a lot of similarities with our work back here in Birmingham - including our BASIC 21 Green Schools programme, the Birmingham Nature Centre, and Think Tank.

But the way in which environmental science is promoted through a public/private venture with university support was I felt innovative and which we could learn much from.

I believe there is real scope to develop joint work between Birmingham and Copenhagen on childrens and environmental awareness, which may also attract European funding.

So I now leave Copenhagen with a feeling that Birmingham can be proud of what it has to offer other cities, as well as continue to learn from new examples and develop new friends.

And in the motto of the Mayors Summit - Cities Act!

I have to hope that tomorrow the Presidents, Prime Ministers and all the other world leaders will make an agreement which lives up to the commitment which the city mayors made on behalf of their 700 million citizens.

Hej Hej (goodbye in Danish)

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Jill Chambers says:

    On your bike Sandy!

  2. Doug Salmon says:

    “So I now leave Copenhagen with a feeling that Birmingham can be proud of what it has to offer other cities….”

    Hilarious !
    What Birmingham has to offer other Cities –
    How to make cycling lethal
    How to punish anyone who tries to walk rather than drive
    How to make life really difficult for anyone not in a car
    Brum’s expertise is certainly world-class in these areas.