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Launch of new climate change project

Shilpa | 07.08.2006 15:40 | Anti-racism | Ecology | Globalisation | Cambridge

The Akashi project, looking to explore climate change issues with a diverse range of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) community groups and faith groups was launched in Cambridge on Friday 4th August 2006.

Some information about a new project recently launched by Cambridge Carbon Footprint and partners in Cambridge looking to involve BME and faith groups in discussing climate change.....

In an effort to examine how to move beyond the largely white, privileged audience of most global justice campaign efforts, the Akashi project is looking to engage a more diverse audience on climate change. Research shows that targeted messages are far more effectiive than just generically presenting information, as the 'green movement' currently seems to do.

We want to commuicate in a way that makes climate change relevant to these audiences and learn from the cultures of these community groups and what they already may be doing in terms of energy saving etc. This is done with the aim of a) increasing awareness and a sense of agency in tackling climate change at the individual and community level and b) producing some freely available, culturally specific informative materials available on the web.

The messages we communicate will be positive and aspirational, as well as culturally-specific, avoiding the usual fear/guilt based communications that encourage an ostrich approach to 'big, scary' environmental issues. And by working with community groups in their spaces, using their channels of communication, we aim to weave a consideration of climate change into existing social networks and gatherings, instead of compartmentalising it as an issue separate to every day life.

I have copied in a recent press release. Please do contact me if you have any ideas for the future of the Akashi project or if you would like to be involved.


5th August 2006

A new community-based project working with Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and Faith groups to discuss the future of the planet was launched yesterday at the Guildhall in Cambridge. Representatives of a number of such community groups discussed how climate change will affect us in coming years and debated what can be done on a community level to tackle the problem.

A number of campaigning organisations and government and business-led initiatives are working to raise awareness about climate change and the need to work together to find solutions is drawing more attention on the political agenda. The attendees of the launch of the Akashi project went further to explore the link between faith and cultures shaped by roots and influences from abroad and the need to protect the environment.

Project Coordinator, Shilpa Shah said: “I am pleased that the launch was attended by so many enthusiastic individuals keen to work together with the Akashi project to find ways of challenging climate change’

Nim Njuguna, director of the Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, an umbrella organisation for BME groups across Cambridgeshire said ‘Climate Change is an issue that unites us all. The Akashi project is innovative and crucially important: we must make climate change relevant to our lifestyles and local communities in order to ensure a stable future for the planet and future generations’.

The Akashi project is keen to hear from individuals and organisations interested in being involved. For more information, please contact Project Coordinator, Shilpa Shah, tel: 01223 460475, mobile: 07779 658211 or email:


Note for editors:
Cambridge Carbon Footprint has been awarded ‘Climate Challenge’ funding by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to extend its work within the community to raise public understanding about the causes and effects of the warming of our planet.

Working in partnership with Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum and sustainability experts Cambridge Architectural Research, the Akashi Project will involve Black and Minority Ethnic, faith and community groups in Cambridge and the surrounding region.

· Cambridge Carbon Footprint is a friendly local environmental organisation looking to help members of the public think about what climate change is, how it will affect the population of Cambridge, the UK and the rest of the world. Please see for some examples of our work.

· Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum is an umbrella organisation for Cambridge and district that provides social, cultural, moral and practical support and racial equality services to individuals and groups.

· Cambridge Architectural Research is an independent consultancy who have been providing specialist advice and research since 1987 on energy and the environment, sustainable construction and design, risk and natural hazards. See

· More details about the £6m DEFRA Climate Challenge fund can be found at

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