10:10 creates an avalanche of change

Positive Community blog: The 10:10 project updates us on its progress in tackling climate change

The 10:10 project unites communities around ambitious, practical action to conquer climate change. Initiated in 2009, our aim was to help people cut 10% of their carbon emissions in 2010 (or any 12-month period). This simple idea spread fast  – there are now active 10:10 initiatives in 40 countries across the globe.

Climate change isn’t a niche issue – it affects everyone on the planet, and transcends all things that divide us. What we’re trying to do is take something huge, intangible and vague, and turn it into something positive, practical, and maybe even (whisper it) fun. We want to open up the issue and get solutions to climate change everywhere, from the boardroom to the classroom to the living room.

That’s why we’ve spent the last two years building a global community of carbon-cutters, where successes are shared and celebrated worldwide. We’ve joined up with individuals, family businesses, multi-nationals, churches, schools and embassies from Argentina to China and everywhere in between.

What’s crucial to 10:10 is helping people understand that their individual efforts are part of something bigger – snowflakes in an avalanche, rather than drops in the ocean.

Last year, on 10 October, we hosted a global ‘day of doing’ in which 10:10-ers celebrated a successful first year of collaborative carbon-cutting through events, words and pictures. Our photo stream came alive with pictures of low-carbon lunches in Tokyo, new solar panels in Iran, and bike-fixing workshops in the UK.

Businesses and organisations that rise to the challenge are in a particularly exciting position, as the policies they implement ripple out, opening up the world of carbon-cutting to new faces. Every day we hear back from hospitals, businesses and families telling us how much they’ve saved.

They don’t stop at 10% or even 20% though – Natural England brought down their emissions by 50% in the last four years, 13% of which they did in 2010. Making changes in location and equipment brought in big savings in cash as well as carbon, with a £1.75m annual saving. But the lasting changes came from speaking to staff and giving them a sense of ownership of their individual carbon footprints.

One of our landmark moments came a few weeks ago when the UK government announced that they had exceeded their own 10:10-inspired carbon target. By cutting their emissions by 14% over a year, they saved £13m of taxpayers’ money and, as climate minister Greg Barker put it, allowed them to “look the private sector in the eye” when selling the benefits of energy-saving.

For our part, we’ll be working to make sure ministers not only keep cutting the government’s own emissions, but also pass policies to ensure that low-carbon living and working is never harder than it needs to be for the rest of us.

So what comes next? Well, we’ll keep working to get people as excited as we are about making positive changes, but we will also look at how we can help 10:10ers overcome some of the bigger challenges they face.

We’re continuing to develop our Lighter Later campaign, which advocates an energy-saving change to the UK’s timezone. Meanwhile, we’re also launching our Solar Schools project, which helps schools raise funds for their own solar panels with the help of their local communities.

Then, in October, we’ve organised a great event with The Funding Network – our Pitch Pledge Party, where any 10:10er can pitch their carbon-cutting idea to a room full of donors and get the financial leg-up they need to help them on their low carbon journey.

Last, but certainly not least, we’re adding the finishing touches to My 10:10, our Facebook-connected, gameplay-inspired and frighteningly clever new carbon-cutting tool. The sky, as they say, is the limit.