Skip to main content

Making climate action possible for everyone

A blog post by Catherine Gee

Our Deputy Chief Executive reflects on the past year at Keep Scotland Beautiful and how we can all take action to make Scotland a Net Zero nation.

It is almost a year since the biggest climate change conference was hosted in Scotland.  It is almost a year since the signing of the Glasgow Climate Pact. Just 300+ days, and yet so much in the global context has changed. 

We are experiencing the shock waves of war in Europe as energy and food supplies are impacted.  We are living through a cost-of-living crisis. And we are hurtling towards the point of no return as the crises of climate change and biodiversity loss deepen creating the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.

It is interesting to see all these serious threats played out in the political arena, the media and in conversations around us.  It seems priorities are shifting again.  What was the focus last year has already slipped down the list.

There is no doubt that it can be hard to prioritise our environment when we hear of the horrific events in Ukraine.  It is difficult to engage with people who are struggling as prices for basics are soaring.  But we also have a great opportunity.

Perhaps, there has never been a better time than now to talk about climate change, to drive environmental action and to take action that will help our planet, our people and their pockets.

Climate friendly policy could save us, businesses and our government money. Until we have strong policies taking climate action individually will need to be stepped up.

Since The United Nations Conference of the Parties, or COP26, we have put hundreds of people through Climate Emergency Training, and in partnership with The Carbon Literacy Project, many have been accredited as Carbon Literate – selecting a personal and a group action to reduce carbon emissions – driving individual and collective change across the country. 

Those of us that have worked in the environmental sector for a while know the mantra - turn down your heating, drive less, eat more local and seasonal produce.  But it is clear that not everyone has made the connection that these climate actions will also help our own budgets. 

As we head out of Scotland’s Climate Week we have an opportunity to really make the messages hit home. 

It’s our chance to let people know that there is hope – that small and simple actions really can make an impact, not just on a domestic scale, helping us get through the long hard winter ahead, but globally.  

During  #ScotClimateWeek we engaged with, and supported businesses, communities and individuals to ensure they know what they can do at home, work and in their neighbourhoods to combat the climate crisis. 

We reached 15,000+ children and young people through our live lessons beamed into primary and secondary schools empowering them to take action and were inspired by their ideas and commitment to tackle climate change.

We celebrated the success of community action by publishing our report on Scotland’s Climate Festival - which highlighted that 45% of the groups that held events were new to climate action.

And, we ran a free online workshop on the climate emergency and delivered training to organisations and 100’s of people who we hope will now be able to take action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Our Climate Emergency Training will continue to be the focus of what we do, as we aim to reach a wider number of organisations, businesses, young people and individuals to bust the myths and make real action possible.

Now is the time for us to step up support to make environmental action happen.  If we genuinely, as a country want to become a Net Zero nation by 2045, we all need to have conversations, sign up for training, and ensure we are equipped to take action to combat climate change.

We need to do this now, with or without the political support we so desperately need, to spearhead a green, fair, just and ambitious recovery from the challenges we are all facing.


First published in The Scotsman on 6 October 2022

We support the