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Treading lightly – steps to lower our carbon footprint

A blog post by Blog Guest

We were pleased to be involved in a couple of ‘firsts’ a few weeks ago. Not only did we run the inaugural Carbon Literacy for Interested Organisations training course in Scotland, we were also presented with certificate ‘number 001’ from Dave Coleman, MD of The Carbon Literacy Project, recognising Keep Scotland Beautiful as the first Carbon Literate Training Organisation in the UK.

First No. 1: Carbon Literacy for Interested Organisations in Scotland

The Carbon Literacy for Interested Organisations (CLIO) in Scotland course is Keep Scotland Beautiful’s version of a successful initiative in Manchester.  Every Carbon Literacy course must be designed to cater for an audience that has something in common – be it workplace, school, community, an interest, or faith.  The CLIO course is designed for an audience of organisations interested in what Carbon Literacy could do for them.  And it turned out there were at least 14 like-minded people, from nine organisations ranging from social housing, education and charities to the private sector, interested in just that.

It was an interesting course to design and run, as I was trying to achieve two things at once. 1) Deliver a Carbon Literacy course, showcasing a range of approaches 2) Demonstrate how a course could benefit the organisations in the room.  And I suppose a third thing as well – to inspire and enthuse those in the room that Carbon Literacy is a fantastic way to encourage a low carbon culture at all levels.

So, why is it so great?

  1. Its relevant: a Carbon Literacy course takes the abstract spectre of climate change and demonstrates how its relevant to everyone of us.
  2. It’s delivered peer to peer: we trust ‘folk like us’ much more than we do other people, and we’re much more likely to act on information given to us by our peers.
  3. It neither simplifies nor scares: ‘If we all do a little, we’ll achieve very little’ is one of my favourite quotes from the training. Learners identify their own actions to reduce emissions, but also explore what’s required of leaders, politicians and society. 
  4. The low carbon, sunlit uplands! It demonstrates that tackling climate change is all about building a better world.



First No. 2: Carbon Literacy Training Organisation

Earlier in the year, we received recognition from The Carbon Literacy Project for being a Carbon Literate Organisation. The award acknowledges our ongoing efforts to reduce our internal carbon footprint and promote good environmental behaviours within the organisation through a range of initiatives. This includes providing Carbon Literacy training for our employees and making sure as many of them as possible know the actions they can take to lead a lower carbon lifestyle.

Having already been recognised for our efforts internally, it was particularly encouraging when, at the end of the CLIO course, Dave Coleman from The Carbon Literacy Project presented us with a certificate endorsing us as a Carbon Literate Training Organisation (CLTO) – commending our training efforts with external organisations. The Carbon Literacy Project say this award “evidences expertise, quality and a strong track record of delivery, and identifies organisations holding it as the first choice when support and consultancy for Carbon Literacy delivery is required.”

Keep Scotland Beautiful has been working through the Climate Challenge Fund since 2013 to build capacity in community organisations to understand, communicate and take action on climate change. In 2016 we partnered with The Carbon Literacy Project to provide this in the form of accredited training, which has proved hugely successful.   Our CLTO award partly recognises our expertise in working with communities, we’ve directly helped over 200 individuals to be certified as Carbon Literate since 2016 and from this year we’ve been supporting a cohort of trainers to deliver Carbon Literacy by Communities courses peer-to-peer in communities from Glasgow to the Highlands.  Most recently we’ve started our Climate Ready Classrooms project in secondary schools.

You might think this means we’re not interested or able to support businesses and formal institutions to take the ambitious steps needed to avoid dangerous levels of global warming.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  To reduce emissions businesses and institutions need the people who work there to understand the issues and feel empowered and motivated to work towards a low carbon culture.  Workplaces are, after all, communities of people and the community development approaches we’ve developed are easily transposed to become organisational development approaches in this context. 

Carbon Literacy isn’t about providing technical solutions or silver bullets, its about engaging with individuals in an organisation to help them identify how they can collectively make difference.

We support the