Cumbria CVS Green – No3 May 2024

Welcome back to Cumbria CVS Green! This month we’re hearing from Danny about his Carbon Literacy and actions.

Read on for links to useful resources, information and news, updates on our own climate commitment, blog posts from colleagues about what they’re doing (in a work capacity and privately) to minimise environmental impact and more.

If you have any suggestions about what you’d like to see in our regular updates, let us know! Contact us by emailing

You can find our what we’re doing to minimise our environmental impact and find details of organisations supporting positive environmental action in Cumbria on our Climate Commitment page here

Catch up on our other blog posts here

In our third blog post Danny Smith, Cumbria CVS 3rd Sector Referral Coordinator (Physical Health), talks about Carbon Literacy, the changes he’s making, and his beef with beef…

My Carbon Literacy and Actions

Back in March last year, me and other CVS colleagues took part in the Carbon Literacy training with Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS).

The course, over just two half days, was very well run. Being a big advocate of climate change action, I was surprised at the amount of information I didn’t actually know.

Upon estimating my carbon footprint (You can use some of the calculators linked on the CAfS website to do your own here You may get a shock!), I was even more surprised at how badly I was doing in taking personal action to limit my own direct and indirect emissions too. This is especially with regards to food related emissions.

Changing habits

Eating less/no meat and dairy-based products is one of the biggest ways (if not THE biggest way) any individual can do their bit to help tackle the climate crisis. This is mainly because of deforestation and land use, as well as emissions from farming activity and the animals themselves. Unfortunately for the climate crisis, I do love eating meat and dairy.

Another factor to throw into the mix (and I use this as an explanation, not an excuse) is that I am autistic, so I find changing habits and the ways in which I operate extremely difficult to manage. I can see this as the main reason why I don’t take action sooner, on this and anything else that requires serious thought around altering routines. But there’s still always a tipping point, and the Carbon Literacy and Carbon Footprint calculation was one of those tipping points.

Get certified

To get Carbon Literate certified you need to pledge certain group and individual actions that were highlighted by the training. I happen to like certificates and learning quite a lot, so I wasn’t going to pass up the chance. Writing this post is actually part of my group pledge to help set up a Carbon working group within Cumbria CVS that has led to Cumbria CVS Green.

My other main pledges were individual, and all around meat consumption. As context, here is a graph similar to the one we were shown about emissions coming from different types of foods


From this it was easy to deduce that it’s Beef that is by far and away the biggest contributor to carbon carbon/greenhouse gas emissions.

As Beef is probably my least favourite meat, it seemed that the easiest and most effective win would be around that. I pledged to stop eating Beef altogether. I am pleased to announce that it’s been several months since I have, and I haven’t missed it.

My change in behaviour has also caused others to change their buying and eating habits in order to accommodate me. They buy different meats and foods to serve to everyone, because it’s just easier that way. This goes to show that an individual pledge/action isn’t necessarily JUST an individual pledge/action. Over time it can ripple out to people around you even just by default.

Making pledges

My other meat-based pledges were focused around what I could control. If something is in my/your control then you are way more likely to stick to it.

The meal that I can control every day is lunch, because I’m usually at work and can make up/buy anything I want to. Initially my pledge was broken down into baby steps, because if something is perceived as daunting, adherence tends to suffer too.

I initially pledged to bring at least 1 meat free meal into work each week. I would look to scale that up over time. 1 was easy, 2 was just as easy, then there was a bit of a stumbling block because the alternative foods that I cooked for my lunches (I will resist using this post as an advertisement for Aldi’s vegan range!) tended to last a couple of days.

But to cut a long story short, I have managed to make it so that I have NO lunches with ANY meat in on work days, whether I’m in the office or working from home. This has required a huge amount of thought, planning and preparation because it meant changing my habits and routines around what I prepare for these meals. It has required a lot of trial and error too, especially when Aldi are out of their very yummy No Lamb Koftas (apologies, I’m advertising again!).

I’m happy where I am at the moment and taking time to settle into this part of the process. But this too can be scaled up to lunches at the weekend and beyond to maybe never eating meat at all.

I suppose my overall message is that the very best thing is cutting out meat and dairy completely and, ideally, I’ll get to the point of being vegetarian myself. But cutting down on meat consumption is certainly better than cutting it out altogether, if the cutting it out altogether proves so much of a challenge that you end up back where you started.

Baby steps. Let’s see where the journey takes me. Maybe you could join me?

Training and Events

The Great Big Green Week

8 – 16 June 2024. Whether you take part with your school, your family, your community, your place of worship or your business – there are so many ways to get involved in the Great Big Green Week!

Find out more about Great Big Green Week here


Climate & Carbon Literacy

Tuesday 14 May, Kendal. The next open Climate & Carbon Literacy course from Cumbria Action for Sustainability will be a face-to-face event in Kendal. Meet like-minded individuals all looking to cut their carbon emissions, get the latest climate science and develop an understanding of carbon footprints.

Use this new new-found knowledge to reduce your impact at home, in our communities and at work.

Find out more and register here


Reduce your digital carbon footprint; a sustainable way to communicate and collaborate

Wednesday 5 June, online. Learn how to apply sustainable choices and behaviours into your daily use of technology to reduce your individual carbon footprint.

The environmental impact of IT is significant and expected to increase. Us as individuals can support in reaching our Net Zero targets by adopting sustainable best practices when using technology.

Book your place here


Cumbria Sustainability Network – Get Together

Thursday 16 May, Kendal. Join CSN members old and new at their next get together to find out more about Westmorland and Furness Council’s plans for further action on climate.

This event is an informal networking opportunity, current campaigns, events and activities.

Find out more and book here


Solar Made Easy – Alston Moor

Wednesday 12 June, Alston. Cumbria Action for Sustainability’s successful Solar Made Easy project comes to Alston Moor next month, with an event to help you decide if solar PV is right for the roof of your home or business.

Get all the tricky questions answered, and meet local vetted installers.

Find out more and book here

News and Information

Environmental advice: include the environment in staff training

To sustain your environmental initiatives long-term, it’s important that all staff in your workplace feel informed and confident when discussing the climate crisis. You could include environmental training as part of inductions for new staff, and add it to other training and development opportunities you provide for staff and volunteers.

In this online article, Going Green Together share top tips on the steps you can take to engage your staff and others in taking climate action.

Read the article here


Climate Action Scorecards: How is your local council performing?

Have you checked how your local council is performing in tackling the climate and ecological emergencies? The Council Climate Action Scorecards provide a comprehensive assessment of the progress made by councils across the UK towards taking 91 crucial actions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Together with 215 volunteers, Climate Emergency UK assessed local authorities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the progress they made towards taking those actions. The results have now been accessed by over 140,000 people.

Find out more here


Event Report: Zero Carbon Cumbria Summit

The inaugural Zero Carbon Cumbria Summit in March looked at how we can collectively decarbonise the travel, farming, buildings, and consumption and waste sectors.

Delegates identified actions they can support, and explored the role of national and local government in enabling and embedding change.

Read the report and next steps here


What is emissions reporting?

In Europe, Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is in force. But what does that mean for your charity? How can you ensure you are taking steps to report emissions?

Find out more in this article from Charity Digital


How to manage AI’s carbon footprint

Take a look at how your charity can help reduce the carbon emissions generated by using AI tools.

Read the article here


How to make events sustainable

Mass participation fundraisers need to demonstrate green credentials to attract young people. Explore how organisations can make their events sustainable.

Read the article here


Become a champion with the Guardians of Grub

Take your food waste reduction skills to the next level. Join the growing community of industry professionals who have become certified champions, check out the webinar and course here. This is a great opportunity to upskill and make a positive difference to you, your people, profits and the planet.