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UK Community Radio Unite for Our Earth Week 2023

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Our Earth Week (20 – 26 November) is a new initiative that for the first-time will bring community radio stations across the country together to shine a light on the climate crisis and celebrate life on Earth ahead of COP28.

Radio stations from Aberdeen to London are uniting and will feature climate stories, debates, interviews and special features. Listeners will be encouraged to take part in the Our Earth Challenge and will be asked to take one action every day to help cut their climate footprint.

Community radio is the most diverse form of media and celebrates some of the most disparate communities across the UK. Each station is unique which creates diverse perspectives on this complex and intersectional subject. Community radio reflects all those many voices, that often go unheard.

There are central resources that have been shared with partner community radio organisations including a handbook of audio files to choose from and information about local community energy projects, food groups, beautiful soundscapes of nature, advice about how to cope with eco anxiety and inspiring stories from people making personal changes to cut their carbon footprint, also more philosophical features such as the question of should Nature have a place on company boards?

Station House Media Unit (shmu) in Aberdeen is producing a special show with their Youth Media, a group of young people from the regeneration areas of Aberdeen alongside their over 50s group encouraging an intergenerational exchange on climate change and recording the diverse responses. KTCR fm will feature a climate thought for the day and provide live reports of daily climate statistics. BCfm Radio in Bristol will run a vegan food tasting panel. Radio Platform in Wales is running a live Our Earth Week event and panel. And all the stations are encouraging their listeners to sign up to a seven day carbon cutting challenge. These are just a few examples of the many different actions being taken by the stations.

Penny Southgate, Founder of Our Earth Week, says: “Community radio has a very big part to play in communicating the climate crisis. We can react to what’s happening locally more quickly than most of the mainstream media, and we can say things they can’t. We can be more open about how serious things are and more robust in holding our local leaders to account because we are not beholden to them.

And because we don’t have to go through the death-by-committee commissioning process, we can be so much more creative in the way we talk about this, in a way that’s life-affirming as well as serious. One minute we’ll hear from a chef who runs a local food-growing project, the next we’ll listen to music produced from plants in Devon, and then we’ll be listening to the beautiful words of an indigenous scientist reminding us to always give back to nature more than we take away.

Agathe Dijoud – Radio Platfform: “Our Earth Week is an important moment for community radio stations around the United Kingdom to highlight the urgency of the climate, nature, and environmental crises we are facing. In the lead up to COP28, it is also important for listeners to be educated on these issues to gain empowerment to act themselves. Community radio is a strong place to start, as listeners will be able to hear stories directly related to their own neighbourhood, as well as other local stories from around the nations. It will also be an opportunity to hear from people from all walks of life about their love for nature, their favourite plant-based recipes, and more.”

Patrick Hart, Station Manager, BCfm Bristol: “Our Earth Week is exciting and ground breaking in so many ways. Community Radio is the perfect place for activism on this scale.”

Peter Rush Aycliffe Radio & Bishop FM in the North East of England: “Our Earth Week is such an inspirational initiative for me. Community based radio stations do some fantastic work and what a great idea to get them together to deliver their messages on climate change locally to a national audience so that others around the country can benefit from everyone’s experiences, importantly so will Our Earth. I am so looking forward to being involved in this radio first – Our Earth Week.”