The Zero Carbon Caravan will carry the message of action on climate change to the December United
Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen in a relay of individuals and organisations travelling across
land and sea without using fossil fuels.
The importance of these talks cannot be overstated; a successor to the Kyoto Protocol has to be
agreed. With James Hansen, the world’s top climate scientist saying there is too much carbon in the
atmosphere already, we need drastic reductions in our emissions of carbon dioxide right now.
But there is hope. Paradoxically, the international financial crisis could help; if we take people off the
dole to build a new green economy, by doing things like building wind turbines and insulating people’s
houses we could end our dependence on fossil fuels. With the inauguration of a new President of the
USA who has pledged to re-engage with the climate change issue, anything is possible.
It is not as if we haven’t faced massive global challenges in the past and succeeded. Seventy years
ago we faced the threat of fascism, but we all pulled together, and together we defeated it. The Second
World War killed 45 million people. Climate change could easily kill ten times that many, and also bring
about the next mass extinction of animals and plants.
Politicians will only react if the public demand it, and with many of them not even convinced of the
reality of anthropogenic climate change (an opinion poll a few months ago showed 60% thought there
was some debate over it) it will be difficult to get the negotiators to come up with an agreement which is
adequate for the challenge.
That is where the Zero Carbon Caravancomes in. By showing it is possible to replace fossil fuels when
travelling - the activity that is showing the greatest increase in their use currently - we can convince the
public that a zero carbon lifestyle is possible. We must persuade them to demand that the negotiators
come up with the right deal in Copenhagen.
The Zero Carbon Caravan is not just about arriving at our destination. As we travel, we will be holding
zero carbon conferences to explain why we need a zero carbon world, and to discuss the means of
attaining it. We will also organise zero carbon concerts, using a minimal amount of renewable
electricity and lots of audience participation to demonstrate that entertainment can be zero carbon too,
and that the way to defeat climate change is by acting together.
Engaging with the media will be crucial to what we are aiming to achieve, so that our message will
spread far beyond the people who join the caravan and come to the conferences and concerts.
Since the project began last summer we have already made great progress: we have an excellent new
website (http://www.zerocarboncaravan.net) created by Alex Lockwood and Neil Bye which we will use to
reach out to people all over the world and we have obtained a grant from Artists Project Earth, against
very stiff competition. We have also recruited a number of advisors to help with the climate science and
The Zero Carbon Caravan is a very ambitious project run entirely by volunteers, and we need your
help. We want to form a steering committee of eight or nine people to guide the project. So far we
have myself, Chris Keene, as Coordinator and Spokesperson; Alex Lockwood who is responsible for
Media and Communications: and Neil Bye as Web and Email manager.
We need to fill the following positions – Fundraising Officer, Campaign Promotor, Caravan
Operations Officer, Networks and Activist Coordinator, Recruitment Officer and Problem Solver.
These roles could be done as a job share if you’re interested but a bit short of time. Please get in touch!
Email me at email@example.com or phone 01603 614535.
We also need people to act as advisors in the areas of climate science; climate solutions (climate
policy, renewable energy, energy efficiency etc); green travel (cycling, sailing, canoeing etc) and media.
Again, get in touch if interested.
Finally, we are going to need money, so if you are interested in organising a benefit concert or other
fundraising activity, please get in touch.
If you know of anyone else who may be interested in either being on the steering committee, acting as
an advisor, or raising money, please pass this email on to them, and drop a note to any relevant email
lists you’re on.
We haven’t yet made a definite decision on the route of the caravan, or caravans. We will be starting in
the autumn, probably on the equinox, 21st September, although we may start a little earlier to give us
ample time to get to Copenhagen by the beginning of December. It would be great to start at
Machynlleth, the home of the Centre for Alternative Technology in mid Wales, as they produced the
Zero Carbon Britain report in 2007 http://www.zerocarbonbritain.com and are currently working on an update,
so the theme for the caravan would be ‘from Zero Carbon Britain to a Zero Carbon World’. I know
several people won’t live on the route from Machynlleth to Copenhagen, so I think there may well be
more than one caravan. We already have some possible offers to host meetings of the caravan in
Holland and Germany.
Please let me know where you live and if you could host a caravan in your town if we can arrange for
one to visit.
“Or can we change our ways forever, before those reckoning times arrive? If we act now, and we act
together, our children’s children may yet survive” from ‘Ship in Distress’ by Seize the Day
Zero Carbon Caravan Coordinator
33 Dell Crescent, Norwich, NR5 8QB.
Tel: 01603 614535 / 07801 250982