- 7K for 7 Flags Challenge
- Littering less at St Joseph's Primary School in Glasgow
- Smashing litter picking targets during an unexpected stay in Scotland
- Celebrating our brilliant volunteers
- Designing a pocket garden
- Getting to know... Nicola Smith
- East Haven Together
- It’s time to litter-ly turn anger into action
- Working in partnership to give communities a helping hand to clean up Scotland
- Why Beautiful Scotland is important to Lauder in Bloom
- We can all be climate ready
- Climate Ready Classrooms at Speyside High School
- Taking part in It's Your Neighbourhood
- Bags of opportunity for good
- Getting to know... Eve Keepax
- Lucky to live here
- A year of opportunity ahead
- How I’m trying to waste less this Christmas
- Unmasking a looming litter emergency
- Getting to know... Brian Rae
- A Canal College® journey
- Volunteering during a pandemic
- Applauding the unsung heroes who manage our award winning parks and beaches
- Socially distant but learning together
- Getting to know.......Lisa Snedden
- Waste vs the pandemic: finding a new normal for single-use cups
- Now is the time to change
- Could the Global Goals provide a framework for the green recovery?
- Getting to know....Connor Launder
- Our incredible Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood community
- Getting to know our people behind Climate Ready Classrooms
- Lockdown litter - a community view
- Looking after beaches
- Time for a more sustainable future, a greener and fairer one for all
- Getting to know.....Claire Gibson
- The Origins of George Wyllie's 'Original Earth Guarantee'
- Getting to know... Aoife Hutton
- National disgrace of lockdown litter
- The healing power of local places
- Tackling Covid-19 and climate change at a community level
- Amid the Coronavirus crisis the climate emergency has not gone away
- Bringing environmental education home
- #TurdTag – getting creative to tackle dog poo
- Preparing young people to take action on climate change
- Running on community power
- Reconnecting with nature
- Coronavirus isn't an excuse - flytipping is still a crime
- Sowing seeds of hope in our community
- Hope for the environment post-Coronavirus?
- From Eco-School Committee to environmental charity
- You can’t tackle the climate crisis unless you are climate ready
- Why everyone wins when you take part in Beautiful Scotland
- Entering our third decade with a splash
- Is 2020 the year for a circular economy in Scotland?
- A year in the life of: the campaigns and innovation team
- Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime
- Setting sail: all aboard the partnership
- Free wheeling
- Scotland is thirsty for change
- This #ScotClimateWeek, are you ready to pledge?
- Upstream Battle at Whinhill Primary School
- Elaine Hopley on our Upstream Battle week of action
- 20 September climate strikes: what took place and what happens now?
- Playing our part to reduce cup waste
- The funeral of a glacier: time to pull the emergency brake
- Get your Paws on Plastic
- Arran – exploring its hidden gems
- It’s time to take action to reverse climate change
- Monitoring litter to help keep Scotland beautiful
- Tackling Our Unsustainable Cup Consumption
- Cups hitting the ground: what we learned at TRNSMT Festival
- We All Have To Fight The UpStream Battle
- It's rubbish that people have to clean up after litter bugs
- The power of pocket gardens
- Registering your clean up makes a difference
- Tackling climate change starts at home
- Speaking the language of Carbon Literacy
- The life of a Keep Scotland Beautiful intern
- Wheatley Group: two years on and still going strong
- Roadside Litter: Think twice before you chuck
- Our citizen scientists are ready to make waves for Upstream Battle
- Taking a stand on climate change – what actions will you take?
- The Cup Movement will tackle our litter culture head on
- Working across borders to tackle climate change
- Celebrating 25 years of Eco-Schools in Scotland
- Climate change – it’s personal
- Putting young people first for our environment at Keep Scotland Beautiful
- Treading lightly – steps to lower our carbon footprint
- Aunty Babs washes her spoon and so should you
- Climate change: we can all do our bit
- Have yourself a green Christmas
- Shifting up a gear on Scotland’s roadside litter problem
- It’s time to consign our litter problem to the dustbin of history
- We can save our seas by starting at home
- Everyone can do their bit to protect the world – what’s your Goal?
Over the past two decades we have seen what local communities have to offer when it comes to caring for our environment.
This past year has presented challenges like no other. Yet, despite this, volunteers in neighbourhoods across Scotland have come together, with an amazing sense of pride and community ownership to excel as they work with us to combat climate change and to tackle litter and waste.
Our research has shown that in the last year, over 40% of people have spent more time using outside space in their neighbourhoods, reconnecting with their local environment and communities. As a result of this, many people are looking to us for support to help them protect and enhance the places they love.
Covid-19 has forced us all to do things differently. It has created opportunities for us to bring likeminded people together across the nation - despite being so physically apart – in common cause.
As people started to notice the bird song, the changing seasons, the beauty of where they lived, they also clocked the levels of litter, the dog fouling, the unloved patches of their neighbourhoods. And as they did, new opportunities presented themselves to us – the chance to reconnect with our existing audiences and reach new ones to support them to take action. We have found ways to provide interactive training sessions online, to share our campaign materials, survey forms and information more widely, to host Q&A sessions, and to network and engage remotely with our audiences. The appetite and enthusiasm for what we are now offering online has been incredible.
The communities we work with across Scotland have adapted too, developing innovative ways to keep their activities going, and taking on new projects. Although the pandemic is still the focus for many, the climate and nature emergency we are facing is driving a loud and clear call for a green and just recovery as well as more local action.
Fittingly, the theme for our two long-established community environmental improvement initiatives, Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood which we run in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, this year is ‘climate and nature friendly’.
Over 210 groups, from the Scottish Borders to the Highlands, have registered with us for these initiatives, ensuring the places they care about are looked after under the three pillars of community participation, environmental responsibility and gardening/horticultural achievement. As part of the theme, we have been able to distribute packets of pollinator-friendly seed bombs to them all, to help create a buzz and some blooming beautiful places across Scotland.
Many of these groups are also volunteering to tackle lockdown litter in their neighbourhoods and our iconic beauty spots, surveying, cleaning up and campaigning locally as part of our Clean Up Scotland campaign.
It is clear many of those we support don’t want to return to the old ways of doing things, they want to do more to reconnect with their local neighbourhood and volunteer their time locally.
Our challenge as a charity going forward is to harness this change of emphasis, and to support communities across Scotland in new ways to address the environmental issues which matter to them and us.
Perhaps, now is the time for a different approach – one where the role communities play and the actions they take, make a real difference. Where individual actions can help transform our communities, protect our wildlife and improve our local environments, and at the same time build an improved sense of community cohesion and a purpose of empowerment and wellbeing.
We are here to help you achieve this. As a first step to giving back to your community why not pledge your support for our Summer Clean. Let’s make all of Scotland beautiful again.
First published in The Scotsman on 3 June 2021 during Volunteer's Week