#ScotClimateWeek - our impacts and actions

A blog post by Catherine Gee

Catherine Gee
Deputy Chief Executive

Posted 20/09/2021

Recent posts

As Scotland’s Climate Week draws to an end our Deputy CEO Catherine Gee reflects on how we have scaled up our contribution and support and made even more impact to support Scotland’s ambition to become a Net Zero Nation.

Yes, every week should be climate week.  But every so often we need a focus, a dedicated week to raise awareness of the challenges that climate change brings and to celebrate the action that is being taken across Scotland.

For over a decade we have been working to support communities to take action through the Climate Challenge Fund, we have been delivering training to help people in their own communities and workplaces to understand what part they can play to reduce their own carbon footprints.

But this year, and in particular this #ScotClimateWeek, I have been genuinely excited by the level of engagement and the real positivity coming from those we have engaged with – and it seems to be more than just the usual echo chamber too.

Perhaps the world’s biggest climate change conference COP26 coming to Glasgow in fewer than 50 days has really got people interested in learning more, in taking more action. Maybe it is just that we are finally realising that time is running out and we need to act now, before our planet gets too sick to recover.

I recently enjoyed two weeks of leave, and while I was off, I reflected on what we as a charity are trying to achieve – how we are trying to make our mark, and it struck me that there was yet another analogy to be made between how we have responded to the health pandemic we are hopefully putting behind us, and how we must respond to the climate emergency.

When we’re unwell we put our trust in a range of professionals - nurses, doctors, pharmacists and carers. We don’t question whether or not they know what they are doing or if they have the right knowledge and understanding to help make us better. That’s because we know they have had training and have the knowledge to help us heal and improve.  They understand the problems, and therefore can provide a solution. And, at the more basic level, most of us will be able to administer some form of first aid.

Our planet is sick.  It needs all of us to help it get better.  But, generally, most of us don’t know what to do or understand what it is we are doing to make the planet unwell.   If collectively we don’t gain the understanding of the part we play, then it is likely that the forms of life and nature we rely on will fail.

As with the medical profession, there are levels of knowledge and expertise that are needed to help us to combat climate change and become a Net Zero Nation.  Not everyone needs to be an environmental scientist or hold a masters in carbon management.  But, like most of us understanding basic first aid, we all need to understand basic climate science too so we can become first aiders for our planet.

And this is why I am so passionate about ensuring as many people as possible become carbon literate.  It is clear to me that our planet is our life support system.  And it needs our help.  We at Keep Scotland Beautiful continue to share the messages from the experts so everyone can become carers, first aiders, for the earth.  We need to understand what the problems are and what we need to do to bring it back to full health.

I suppose that this is why during #ScotClimateWeek we have supported and led a wide range of activities across our spectrum of work, engaging with and supporting businesses, schools, communities and individuals to ensure they know what they can do at home, work and in their neighbourhoods to combat climate change.

The pandemic has changed the way we do things and given us an opportunity to take ideas and make them a reality – never before did we have the technological experience and belief that we could deliver climate lessons into primary and secondary schools on a daily basis.  And yet on the first day of the week, our team beamed into over 400 classrooms in schools across Scotland, reaching an estimated 10,000 young people who learnt first-hand about climate change. And, this activity continued for five days with live lessons every morning of the week for primary schools and twice a week for secondary school pupils.  We will be following this up next week with more CPD sessions for educators to continue our support for climate education in schools across the country. And, we have launched our Climate Action Topic for Eco-Schools Scotland.

We were delighted that the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, provided a contribution to our online event to launch Scotland’s Climate Festival which will support communities across the country to plan and deliver their own local climate festivals, alongside a national programme of events that we will co-ordinate.


And we were able to deliver a free online workshop on the climate emergency to help bust the myths and explain the jargon empowering almost 100 attendees to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We were joined by Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson, who gave the key note address, launched a new Public Engagement Strategy to support understanding, participation and action on #ClimateChange

On top of all that we provided Climate Emergency Training to a number of organisations and individuals including SFHA, youth leaders and businesses, announced future planned work with Scottish Borders Council and Falkirk Council and launched our new e-learning Climate Emergency Training module.

Scotland’s Climate Week is an annual event, which we have supported with activity since 2016. But this year, we really do seem to have been more ambitious and confident - scaling up our efforts and broadening our reach to make more impact than ever before.

I hope that the legacy of #ScotClimateWeek and COP26 coming to Glasgow in 2021 continues and we can build on the momentum gained so that we engage and support more young people and communities to ensure that Scotland’s ambition to become a Net Zero Nation happens as soon as possible.

I really believe that the work our charity, and many of the partners, communities and businesses we are collaborating with, will ensure that we, the decision makers of the future, will be armed with the knowledge they need to make the right decisions for our planet, and our people.

As we look to the future we will strive to empower as many people as possible to administer the appropriate first aid needed to revive our sick planet.  It’s time for everyone to become climate carers and first aiders – let’s get carbon literate and bring climate change and the environment into the choices and decisions we make every day.

We support the