Following a family telephone conversation about climate change, the Robinsons organised a well-attended event to highlight the issue.
Ian and Janet were at their Morpeth home when they spoke with their daughter Sarah about it – Sarah is the assistant director of Sheffield-based charity Hope for the Future – and Janet told her daughter that she felt helpless to do anything about climate change.
Sarah suggested to her parents that they, she and her sisters, Lucy and Rachel, could come together to organise their own event and her mother started the ball rolling after she agreed it was a good idea.
Earlier this month, a panel of experts answered questions and had a general discussion in front of more than 80 people at the event, which was called Fuelling our Future: Halting climate change through cleaner energy – how do we make the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy just and fair?
It took place at Artisan in Newcastle that is part of The Biscuit Factory venue.
Ian, Janet and Sarah sourced members of the panel and as the location is in Newcastle East MP Nick Brown’s constituency, Lucy got in touch with him as she lives in this area and he agreed to take part. It was listed on the Eventbrite website and people were asked to register, although it was free to attend, so the family could get a good idea of the numbers coming along and Rachel did some posts on social media to raise awareness of the event.
Following the event, the family said: “Although Hope for the Future helped us to co-ordinate the event, organising the venue and encouraging people to attend was all done by us and it was a steep learning curve.
“Personal changes are important for embodying the changes we want to see, however systemic change will make the right choices easier for everyone. In order to tackle climate change, we need to engage with our politicians.
“We’d like to thank all the panel for supporting us and making such a worthwhile contribution and the audience for attending the event. We’d also like to thank The Biscuit Factory for providing us with the venue for free and for staffing the venue on the night. We are amazed how the event came together so well and how supportive people have been.
“As well as asking the MP to take our message back to Parliament that we in the North East are concerned about climate change and want it to be higher on the Government’s agenda, our aim was to encourage those in the audience to raise awareness of the climate change issue themselves.”
Joining Nick Brown on the panel were Roger Middleton, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, David Manning, Professor in natural and environmental sciences at Newcastle University, and Emma Bridge, CEO of Community Energy England.
It was chaired by Sarah Robinson, a former King Edward VI School pupil who in her role with Hope for the Future returned to her former school last year to run a session with A-level geography students.
The charity’s aim is to promote the issue of climate change through helping people to raise the issue with their MPs.