Climate services professionals can grow their contacts and skills through Mesh – a new networking group. Briony Turner, Climate Services Development Manager for the Institute for Environmental Analytics based at University of Reading, and Space4Climate, explains more.
The irony of travelling the world to promote and nurture climate services is that not only do we increase our own carbon footprint but we often end of up travelling hundreds of miles to make valuable new contacts who are based on our doorstep in the UK.
It was out of a conversation discussing this at the Adaptation Futures Conference in Cape Town earlier this summer with Oxford-based Ben Smith, from GCAP (Global Climate Adaptation Partnership), that we decided to set up the UK’s first networking group for professionals in climate services at every level – research, policy, the public, private and third sector.
There was an informal consensus that it would be good to have a way to continue to network back in the UK, in an informal setting where we could share learning and make connections locally across the climate services supply chain as individuals not just as nominated representatives of organisations.
Mesh, supported by Space4Climate and GCAP, will launch on Thursday, October 18th, at the Royal Society of Arts, London, forming a community of people with expertise in climate services through what we hope will be mostly free regional networking meetings run on a voluntary basis. The UK leads the world in climate services for societal and economic benefit but until now there has not been a networking group providing peer to peer support, knowledge-sharing and growing contacts at every level in public, private and academic arms across the climate services supply chain.
We were pleased that our approaches to our own organisations and to key Government departments were met so warmly and we’re proud that the launch is officially part of Green GB Week. On a personal note, as a Fellow of the RSA, I’m particularly delighted that the launch of this event will be at RSA House. The society has a history of nurturing networks of innovators and opening up access to creative ideas to tackle today’s most pressing social challenges, including climate change, an apt setting for the launch of Mesh.
At the launch, we’ll be starting as we hope to go on, with drinks on arrival, followed by a short programme of showcase talks from across industry, policy and academia, sharing insights into and learning from community member achievements.
There will be an open mic shout out for anyone who wants to make a climate services-related announcement. Then we will invite those attending to network with each other during the drinks and canapes reception.
Places are free but registration and experience in making use of climate information are essential.
Register here: https://mesh-launch.eventbrite.co.uk
If you cannot attend the launch but want to hear about our future networking events, clicking the registration button provides an option for you to subscribe to future Mesh event alerts.
Ben and I are coordinating the 2018-2019 programme of events and hope in due course to hand over the reins to another volunteering duo to co-ordinate the 2020-2021 programme. We’re extremely grateful to everyone that’s helped us already to bring this idea into a formalised network. Mesh has been made possible through funding from the Space4Climate group for establishing a brand, organising and funding the launch event. GCAP and the London Climate Change Partnership have also contributed towards the costs of the launch event.
As the climate agenda is becoming more mainstream, we need to broaden our networks to include emerging interest and new areas of innovative climate expertise. For instance, the data suppliers are often missing from key climate orientated events and, given the UK has a world-leading finance community, we need to engage better at home with the growing interest and climate skillset of the green fintech and financial services sectors.
We decided to name the network ‘Mesh’ for two reasons: firstly, ‘mesh’ is a material made from a network of wire/plastic/thread, offering a degree of transparency, providing an interlacing structure binding its constituent parts together and, secondly, as a verb, when people ‘mesh’, it means they work well together.
Mesh is currently run on a voluntary basis so, for now, we’ve kept social media and web presence to a minimum, the focus will be on the community newsletter to alert members to events. You can keep the conversation flowing on twitter using #MESHclimate.
Contact Briony Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org