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Environmental champion crowned as Local Climate Hero

A woman from Liverpool has been crowned a Local Climate Hero by Liverpool ONE to help champion positive change across the city region.

Minna Alanko-Falola set up social enterprise Compost Works in a bid to combat food waste and make composting more accessible to local residents.

Following its launch in 2019, the organisation has now built community composts in 15 locations across Liverpool City Region, diverting 45 tonnes of food waste away from incineration.

Now, Minna’s efforts have been recognised by Liverpool ONE and non-profit Futerra Solutions Union’s first ever Local Climate Hero search.

The search was launched to commemorate the arrival of the Everyday Climate Hero Exhibition, a series of photographs first unveiled at COP26 and created by renowned photographer Rankin and Futerra Solutions Union.

In place on Paradise Street until Sunday 7 August, the exhibition highlights unsung climate heroes from across the UK who are doing extraordinary things to help save the planet.

And Minna now has been selected as the Local Climate Hero in Liverpool City Region, with plans to spread the word about how to make a difference.

As part of Compost Works, local communities are encouraged to come together to run the compost sites, with Minna also running educational sessions to raise awareness of the importance of composting.

Minna, who grew up in Finland, says she was environmentally conscious from a young age thanks to her parents’ passion for creating change.

She said: “We always composted everything at home, so when I moved out to study at university and later to live in the UK, I continued to find ways to compost at home. I started developing the concept of Compost Works in 2018 to be the change I wanted to see in the world.

“I’m really excited to have been named a Local Climate Hero and I’m looking forward to working with both Liverpool ONE and Futerra Solutions Union on helping to raise awareness of how both individuals and businesses can be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.”

The judging panel, which included Futerra Solutions Union, Liverpool ONE and Liverpool’s existing Climate Heroes, Ibe Hayter, creator of Cycle of Life, and Dr John Patterson principal at St Vincent’s School, also praised Minna for her passion and drive to make a difference.

Lucy Shea, CEO at Futerra Solutions Union, said: “We really loved Minna’s initiative and sheer passion to face challenges and create solutions for a better future. We can see the tangible results of her work and it’s inspiring that, by the end of 2021, Compost Works had created 15 compost locations across the Liverpool City region – improving access and reaching those who may not have considered composting previously.

“Minna has a very unique story and it is clear that the solutions she is developing will continue to have real, meaningful and scalable impact.”

As part of the search, judges also named Molyneux Drive Woodland and Forestry Space in Knowsley as ‘Inspirational Initiative on Green Spaces and Sustainability’, for breathing new life into a neglected piece of land to create a green space in the heart of the community.

And Lucy Antal, from Feedback, was recognised as an ‘Inspirational Initiative on Reducing Waste’ for her work helping to reduce food waste and to improve access to fresh food for those living in food poverty.

Donna Howitt, Place Strategy Director at Liverpool ONE, said: “The climate change crisis is something we’re all very aware of but perhaps unsure of exactly how we can help.

“However, the smallest actions can make the biggest of differences and we’re confident that Minna’s story will encourage others to consider how they can get involved and make a positive change.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of unsung heroes coming forward – or being nominated – for the Local Climate Hero search, so we’d like to thank each and every person who entered for their efforts.

“There is certainly a potential climate hero in everyone and we’re looking forward to working with Minna, Lucy and Molyneux Drive Woodland and Forestry Space over the next 12 months in our common journey to become more sustainable.”

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