20th July 2011
Mainstreaming the environment? Third sector action on climate change and environmental sustainability
Dr Rebecca Edwards (Research Fellow, TSRC, University of Southampton) and Faye Scott (Senior Policy Advisor, Green Alliance)
This seminar brings together two presentations from different perspectives to explore how third sector organisations are engaging with the environment. The first will feature work from the TSRC’s environment and third sector research stream, and the second will draw on research and experience from Green Alliance, an environmental think tank. The second half of the seminar will provide an opportunity for discussion around the importance of third sector organisations engaging with the environment, and consider how this can be done at a time when the sector faces many other significant challenges.
Rebecca will discuss on her on-going research considering different aspects of how the third sector is engaging with the environment. She will explore recent efforts to mainstream the environment across the third sector and consider the capacity of the third sector to make a substantive contribution to tackling climate change and other environmental issues. Her presentation will draw on key policy interventions that initiated the mainstreaming process before considering interview material on the realities of third sector engagement with the environment. It will go on to explore how third sector organisations can enable individuals, households and communities to live lower carbon lives – in particular questioning whether projects offered by third sector organisations can facilitate changes in social practice, rather than individual behaviour change.
Faye will share the findings of the New Times, New Connections report published by Green Alliance last year, which explored the landscape of civil society action on climate change. The report asked: What activities are underway? Do they reflect awareness of the links between climate change and core missions? And what has helped organisations that have successfully engaged with this new and complex issue? The report is the product of a national study covering 222 organisations and 242 activities which uncovered a number of inspiring case studies of non-environmental organisations taking action on climate change. The study also included two local studies that produced online maps of diverse climate change activity in inner-city Newcastle and rural north Dorset.
Dr Rebecca Edwards
Becca is working with Prof Graham Smith and Dr Milena Büchs developing a three year programme of work exploring the Third Sector and the Environment. The research focus on three strands: mapping the environment, mainstreaming the environment and low carbon practices, to provide insight into the relationship between the third sector and the environment. This will be done through a mixed method approach that commenced in October 2009 and it due to complete in December 2012.
Becca brings to the TSRC a broad research experience related to the environment and politics. Prior to arriving in Southampton, she spent three years as a Research Associate at Cardiff University, first at the Regeneration Institute and latterly in the Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research Data and Methods (WISERD). Whilst at Cardiff, Becca used in-depth qualitative research methods, predominately (but not exclusively) focused in the south Wales valleys. She worked on a broad range of research topics including social housing, child protection and local regeneration initiatives.
Before her appointment at Cardiff University, Becca was a PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London having been awarded an ESRC CASE Studentship in collaboration with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Grosvenor Ltd. Her thesis explored New Labour’s policies for public space, with a particular focus on the localised impacts of national urban policy. She also holds a BSc in Geography from the same institution.
Faye is a senior policy adviser at Green Alliance’s. Her current focus is the localism agenda and what it means for environmental action, but over the past three years she has also done extensive work on the challenge of mainstreaming action on climate change across the third sector.
In 2010 she authored New times, new connections, which explored the degree to which non-environmental organisations are engaging with climate change. Prior to that she acted as the secretariat, and drafted the report, of the joint ministerial and third sector task force in 2009-10. This high profile group raised awareness of the wider third sector’s role in tackling climate change. She regularly speaks at conferences about her work in this area as well as running dedicated events for interested groups, most recently for a cross-government group of civil servants. She also sits on the advisory group of the recently formed climate unit at NCVO .Prior to joining Green Alliance in 2007, Faye worked for the Environment Trust, a social enterprise working with communities in east London. She has also worked at Involve, a public participation think tank, The Environment Council and Defra.