- 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
- 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?
It’s not often you get the chance to attend events like the International Coastal Clean Up Symposium, hosted by Ocean Conservancy, in Oslo, Norway. It’s even less often that you have capacity and resources to go.
Ocean Conservancy are working to protect the oceans from the world’s greatest global challenges. They work with partners to provide science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the communities and wildlife that depend on it.
I’ve been the lead on Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Clean Up Scotland campaign since 2017 and have worked on expanding the projects under this banner whilst incorporating increased prevention and behaviour change messaging. In 2019 so far, we’ve had 280 ‘marine’ clean ups (those registered next to a canal, river or beach) across Scotland, with our Spring Clean 2019 event seeing a 90% increase in marine clean ups. These events saw 8,892 people attend.
At Keep Scotland Beautiful, we can contribute data collected by our volunteers and supporters during clean ups to build a comprehensive picture of the scale of environmental problems at play.
As individuals working on campaigns, we often don’t realise how valuable and important it can be for us to meet to share experiences (both negative and positive) and form friendships with one another. After all, we’re all working towards the same, shared goals and often need each other’s support to achieve them. I returned from Oslo inspired by the conversations and people I met whilst there.
Meeting other coordinators of similar campaigns from overseas, where issues and cultures differ, was a great opportunity to understand how others are setting and achieving their own goals in different contexts. From repurposing fishing nets (which make up 70% of the weight of macroplastic in our seas) to deep sea dives to clean our ocean beds, it was incredible to hear about their activities.
Additionally, people shared the problems they face on their coastlines – from tourists ‘stealing’ sand from the shores to finding some of Scotland’s litter on Norwegian beaches. It brought home how important it is that we work together to try and improve our seas.
Sharing information internationally helps us understand the detail and scale of the problems we are tackling. Next year is Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, and through the Clean Up Scotland campaign we can boost our data collection and Clean Up events along Scotland’s beautiful coastline to tackle the litter in our seas. It’s important that all countries are contributing data they have to the Ocean Conservancy’s international database on what they are finding on our coastline so that, together, we can target interventions and legislative change.
The Symposium was a great example of how working together can propel positive ideas into action. Partnership is a key aspect of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, an international action plan outlining a positive vision for the future. We actively support and implement the goals within our work, using effective partnerships to realise their outcomes. Meeting coordinators of similar campaigns from overseas, where issues and cultures differ, was a great opportunity to reflect on the brilliant work already being done, whilst reminding ourselves how collaboration can enable us to tackle global environmental problems in the future.