We have come away inspired from the first Connect event of the year (1st February 2023) which highlighted a range of citizen-led net zero initiatives happening in Exeter.

With around 40 attendees, and seven presentations, the atmosphere was buzzing and the ideas were flowing. We know there are more examples of citizen-led net zero action in and around Exeter that were not able to present this time, but look out for more opportunities to come together and share in the near future. 

The seven presentations offered a variety of different ways in which citizens can lead on net zero actions within their communities, organisations and businesses. In some cases there were opportunities for others to volunteer, or to get involved in other ways. 

We were lucky to hear from: Naomi Wright of Art and Energy CIC, sharing what they do as an organisation. We heard about their plans for the year ahead and the recent launch of their project ‘Bury the Giant’.

Natalie Whitehead, of Exeter Science Centre, discussed exciting plans for this year that will see them developing community projects around climate change topics.

Holly Lawrence, of Exeter Phoenix talked about their Green Phoenix initiatives, where they are striving to be a more environmentally sustainable venue, and have been supported by the community through crowdfunding.

Jess Carter, Devon Planet Action Partnership, showed how they are supporting businesses to take action for the planet through a programme of support, and utilising funds to take eco workshops into schools.

Gill Baker, of Transition Exeter explained about their history and work as an organisation, and provided more detail on their current activity on the Exeter Greenspace Group.

Sharon Pavey and Becky Chasey, from Exeter Climate Cafe, invited us to create a moment of the Climate Café experience, a pause to focus on how we are feeling about climate change, rather than what we are doing about it.

Finally, Liz Dunbar on behalf of the Devon Earth Faith Network, shared information on how they bring together faith groups to work together on environmental initiatives, highlighting those that had taken place in Exeter, and how people could become involved. 

Following the presentations and some delicious food, attendees split into groups for some tabletop discussions that delved further into the initiatives presented, and also considered the question; What do net zero change makers need to succeed in Exeter in 2023? There was lively conversation in every group, and the atmosphere felt purposeful and positive. Thank you to all attendees for supporting this process.

Thank you to Exeter Community Centre for the venue, How on Earth for the delicious vegan food, and the Mulberry Tree Café for the drink refreshments. 

The next Connect event ‘Resourceful Exeter’ will take place on Wednesday 22 February, 5.30-7.30pm at the Positive Lights project. Register for this event here

If you would like any further information about this event, future Connect events, or the Change Makers programme, please feel free to contact us. 

Connect events, and the Change Makers programme at Exeter City Futures is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.