Pilkington Energy Efficiency Trust (PEET), the organisation established to give financial support for energy efficiency research, testing or evaluation projects for the built-environment, has backed the Woodcraft Folk and its ambitious C-Change Project ( www.switchonswitchoff.org) by funding the development of a key element of the project, Climate: Mobile, a mobile-phone based carbon calculator for young people primarily in the 11-21 age group.
The aim of the application is to assist young people, to whom the calculator will be available free of charge, in making informed decisions about life-style changes they can make to reduce their carbon footprint. By the age of 12 nearly all young people (94%*) own a mobile phone and they are amongst the next generation of consumers and decision makers most likely to be affected by climate change. Woodcraft Folk therefore believe it is important to influence this group using channels of communication that they are familiar and comfortable with.
Using data from the Centre for Alternative Technology’s carbon calculator – a tool that is highly regarded by major sustainability organisations, Climate: Mobile asks a series of life-style questions to estimate the user’s carbon footprint with questions covering home energy, transport, flights, food and general consumption. The calculator shows total emissions, emissions broken down by sector, and a comparison with UK averages. Once the user has answered all of the questions they will be given tips on reducing their emissions relevant to the response they give.
Climate: Mobile will be distributed free from the C-Change website and by text and Bluetooth transfer. The calculator will be advertised and distributed at events including the Glastonbury Festival and others which are being organised as part of the C-Change project, and through Woodcraft Folk publications and website.
This research element of the project will evaluate the effectiveness of mobile technology, such as Climate: Mobile, in bringing about attitude and behaviour changes with regard to energy use by young people.
PEET was approached by Woodcraft Folk to provide funding for the Climate: Mobile element of C-Change, and funding was approved by the independent Board of Trustees that decides on which projects are backed. Julie Thorpe, Project Coordinator for the Woodcraft Folk C-Change Project, says “The backing from PEET has meant that the Climate: Mobile idea has been put into practise. Mobile phones are so central to young people’s lifestyles that it seemed like an excellent way of getting the climate change message across. We hope that thousands of young people will use Climate: Mobile and pass it on to their friends.”
The Woodcraft Folk – established as an educational movement and charity in 1925, - have developed the C-Change project with a grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) Climate Challenge Fund, following research that highlights young people are relatively unaware of the need to take action about climate change. The Woodcraft Folk C-Change project, developed in association with de Montfort University and the Centre for Alternative Technology, seeks to change the attitudes of young people towards climate change and their role in tackling it by providing education about global warming and ways in which they may take an active part in reducing its effects.
Pilkington, one of the world’s largest and most innovative glass makers, provides the income to the Pilkington Energy Efficiency Trust (www.pilkington.com/peet) which has provided funding for a large number of academic and practical energy efficiency projects. Projects submitted do not have to be glass-related.
*Source: The Mobile Life Youth Report 2006 from The Carphone Warehouse.