Translink Launches new #LetsChangeTogether Campaign

Translink Launches new #LetsChangeTogether Campaign

Urgent call for Collective Change to Tackle Climate Crisis ahead of COP26

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Pictured at the launch of the new initiative are Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive and Emer Rafferty, the first ambassador of Translink’s new ‘Changemakers’ youth programme. Photo by Aaron McCracken

With the climate change emergency now labelled a ‘code red for humanity’ moment, Translink has launched an exciting campaign, under the banner #LetsChangeTogether, calling for organisations and individuals to join with it to make vital changes to achieve net-zero emissions across Northern Ireland.

This campaign coincides with the publication of Translink’s own Climate Positive Strategy ahead of the UN COP26 Global Climate Conference in Glasgow in November, where it has pledged to become net-zero by 2040, ahead of government targets, and climate positive by 2050.

Public transport will be vital for the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of our society, helping Northern Ireland reach a low carbon economy.  Transport accounts for 35% of all consumed energy in Northern Ireland and 23% of all greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from private car use.

Translink’s new climate campaign includes a range of novel ways for both individuals and businesses to get involved. These include a call for public Climate Pledges illustrating climate actions which will be showcased to inspire others, the launch of a new Sustainable Travel Charter, encouraging businesses to enthuse employees to adopt more active travel modes as part of their green recovery plans and an innovative Youth Ambassador programme – The Changemakers – giving young people a platform to promote their views on the climate crises.

Welcoming the Let’s Change Together Campaign, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said:

“We are in the grip of a climate crisis and time is running out to act. I urge everyone to back Translink’s ‘Let’s change together’ Campaign. By working together to change the way we travel, we can reduce emissions and help protect our planet. If we each change our behaviour, we can limit the impact of climate change and rise to the biggest global challenge of our time.”

Speaking about the programme of activity, Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive said:

“The climate emergency is the most pressing environmental challenge of our time, and the recent IPCC report underscores the need for urgent action now.  We are leading the transformation of public transport, accelerating towards net-zero emissions and creating a path to a healthier, greener and more sustainable future for generations to come. We want to be a catalyst for positive change and our Climate Positive Strategy recognises the need for collective action to change behaviours to protect our environment.

“COP26 presents a unique opportunity to place the spotlight on sustainable, active travel as an easy way to take climate action. We know that travelling by public transport today in NI reduces our carbon footprint by more than 50% (on a per passenger-km). This will be even greater as we transform to a zero-emissions fleet in the years ahead.

“Doing more of the same is no longer an option, air pollution is a serious health risk, the covid lockdowns gave us a glimpse of a less congested and cleaner Northern Ireland.

“We hope this new campaign will encourage others to join with us to make the important changes to transform our future for the better, be that in their travel choices or in other environmentally friendly ways.  We would ask everyone, whether they’re individuals, community groups or employers, to consider what positive changes they can make in the weeks and months ahead and #LetsChangeTogether.” 

18 year old, Emer Rafferty from Co. Armagh has been appointed as the first ambassador of Translink’s Changemakers programme. With a background in environmentalism, Emer is also an ambassador for the COP26 climate change summit and is committed to tackling the climate crisis head-on. Speaking about the campaign, she said:

“I am thrilled to be the first Changemaker ambassador and I hope it will provide a positive platform for the views of young people. Change making requires people to innovate, connect and speak up and I look forward to our young voices being heard and acted upon”, Emer concluded.

The following core initiatives will run up to CO26 and beyond,

Sustainable Travel Charter

The programme includes the launch of Northern Ireland’s first Sustainable Travel Charter for employers of all sizes to commit to actively encourage and promote sustainable travel among its employees. This initiative is backed by Business in the Community and will support other wider environmental programmes already delivered by BITC. 

Public Climate Change Pledge – #LetsChangeTogether

In the build-up to COP26 Translink has today launched a public pledge initiative which is designed to capture individual and collective climate change pledges from members of the public and various schools, community and business organisations.

The initiative is designed to capture the collective voice of Northern Ireland on positive climate change action and place it firmly on the global stage offered by COP26 to demonstrate the commitment from the region to play its part.

Pledges can be submitted through Translink’s new #LetsChangeTogether webpages where people of all ages can send their own climate change pledge videos outlining what positive changes they plan to make in terms of their travel choices or other environmentally beneficial initiatives. Translink will also host a series of pop-up video pledge events across Northern Ireland in the coming weeks to encourage more climate positive pledges to be made. These will then be collated into a special video installation which will be showcased during the COP26 event online and in physical form. 

Changemakers – Youth Ambassador programme

Translink has today also launched a Changemakers Ambassador programme to support young people keen to act on climate change. This is designed to elevate the voices of young people by appointing a panel of Youth Climate Changemakers and to provide various platforms for their voices to be heard in the important climate debate in the run-up to COP26 and beyond. From today anyone aged between 10 and 21 with a particular passion for the environment and tackling climate change can apply to become one of 10 initial Changemakers. 

Further information can be found at www.translink.co.uk/letschangetogether