London Climate conference founder urges more action on clean air in capital ahead of Earth Day

Running from April 18 to 21 in Kings Cross, Earthfest attracted around 900 students from across the capital on its opening day (Tanya Vora)
Running from April 18 to 21 in Kings Cross, Earthfest attracted around 900 students from across the capital on its opening day (Tanya Vora)

The co-founder of a new sustainability conference in London has urged businesses and politicians to do more to combat climate change in the capital ahead of Earth Day.

Georgina McGivern, 28, suggested that current efforts are insufficient and called for increased collaboration among councils, businesses and communities to promote cleaner air.

Ms McGivern, the programme director of the nonprofit Camden Clean Air Initiative, created a four-day conference called Earthfest to increase awareness about sustainability.

Running from April 18 to 21 in Kings Cross, the event attracted around 900 students from across the capital on its opening day, who participated in environmental workshops aimed at inspiring the younger generation.

Earthfest co-founder Georgina McGivern (Tanya Vora)
Earthfest co-founder Georgina McGivern (Tanya Vora)

Ms McGivern voiced concern about the widespread disconnect many experience with sustainability, even though it has become a buzzword.

"While sustainability is on everyone's lips and websites, it often fails to translate into actionable understanding for the public," she explained.

Earthfest's goal is to bridge this gap, inspiring attendees to commit to sustainable practices by making the concept more relatable and actionable.

Ms McGivern added: "Sustainability is about behavioural change at a community level. It’s about people living a lifestyle that is more sustainable, cleaner and it’s about those small changes. It doesn’t have to be perfection straight off the bat.

“It’s about people making those conscious efforts in their everyday life. And I think for us at Camden Clean Air, the community role is to make these behavioural changes but also to push the government and businesses to support those changes. It has to be a collaboration."

Earthfest attendees (Tanya Vora)
Earthfest attendees (Tanya Vora)

She stressed the importance of increased government intervention, adding: “More needs to be done. It’s got to keep going. The government has to work harder and it’s really up to them to create a policy framework that supports these lifestyle and behavioural changes.

“Everyone has to play their role. In London, we’ve got a unique opportunity to lead by example and leverageour status as a huge global city.

"…there’s a crucial role in setting up an effective policy framework by prioritising investments in renewable energy, sustainable transportation and green infrastructure. Pollution is such a massive problem in acity like London and we need to prioritise people walking, cycling and clean streets. It’s such a key part from both a climate and air pollution point of view."

Earth Day is held on April 22 to celebrate the planet and encourage people to be more environmentally friendly.

Every year more than one billion people get involved, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Activities associated with the day often include planting trees, raising awareness about recycling, volunteering for green projects, and reducing the amount of energy people consume.

Ms McGivern praised Earth Day for helping to bring “sustainability to the forefront of peoples minds”.

She said: “To be honest sustainability is on everyone’s minds. Everyone hears about it all the time. Go on to any company website and you’ll find sustainability credentials on the homepage, adverts talk about it.

“It’s everywhere and that’s maybe caused a bit of a disconnect in the sense that everyone hears about it but for people who don’t understand it it can be difficult to engage with it.

“So with Earthfest, if people leave the event with one behavioral change, that’s a win for us. Earth Day is a great way to bring that to light but really what we want to achieve is making sustainability more accessible and bring it into focus a little bit more.”

You can obtain free tickets to Earthfest by visiting the following link: