Carbon Literacy

We are pleased to offer accredited training that helps attendees make the link between their own lives and climate change, alongside outlining the practical steps to help tackle it.

Keep Scotland Beautiful supports community-led organisations to gain an instinctive understanding of the carbon impacts of their activities, and be able to make informed choices about the lower carbon options available to them. 

We also support community-led organisations to be more confident engaging with their communities and communicating about climate change. To do this we offer accredited Carbon Literacy training and a range of online resources and tools.


About the training

The two-day Carbon Literacy for Communities course aims to get you up to speed with the science behind climate change and likely impacts, but more importantly it will build your confidence to speak about climate change and identify opportunities to reduce carbon emissions in your community. 

Since starting to offer Scotland's first ever accredited Carbon Literacy training course for communities, over 400 attendees from the Hebrides to the Scottish Borders have been certified as Carbon Literate.

The training is free to attend for representatives of any Scottish-based community led organisation interested in tackling climate change. 

We organise the training as part of our management of the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund which is supporting community-led projects to reduce local carbon emissions, improve their areas and help them to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Training dates for 2019/20 will be published on the CCF website events section from April 2019.

The training is accredited by the award winning Carbon Literacy Project, run by the Manchester-based charity The Carbon Literacy Trust. All participants successfully completing the course have the opportunity to go forward for assessment. All those passing the course can apply to receive official certification for a small fee

Please note, this two-day Carbon Literacy training course is intended for representatives of community-led organisations. Keep Scotland Beautiful also provide Carbon Literacy training options to businesses and organisations, for more information please browse our training pages.

Course References

Slides from Day One

Slides from Day Two

Scotland 2030 a view of Scotland in 2030 that shows how the changes we’re making together can help create a cleaner, greener, healthier and fairer country for all.

Greener Scotland website is the Scottish Government’s one-stop website for Scottish households on greener living.

Course Activities and Games 

Climate Conversations - a guide to running a 70-minute conversation in your community around climate change.

Myths Snap - a fun game to match common climate myths to robust responses

Greenhouse Gas Sources - match the human activity to the greenhouse gas it produces

Human History Timeline - an activity to illustrate why climate change is a concern for humans

Communicating Climate Change Scenarios - a role playing activity to practice countering common climate myths

How Long is a Piece of String -an activity to help visualise our carbon footprint

Low Carbon Behaviours

Shifting Normal is designed to help community-led organisations tackling climate change maximise their success by taking account of how change happens when planning, carrying out and reviewing their activities.

Low Carbon Scotland: A Behaviours Framework, from the Scottish Government, details plans to drive and support the move to low carbon living in the lead-up to the first key climate change target in 2020. It highlights the 10 Key Behaviours where individuals can really make a difference at the present time. These are put into groups which correspond with the themes of the CCF.

The Segmentation Model brings together a wide range of information to help us understand more about the attitudes and behaviours of people across Scotland in relation to low carbon behaviours. This could be useful when first deciding which low carbon behaviours to encourage in your community.


Other Useful Resources

Climate Outreach - Europe's leading climate communication organisation that aims to help people understand climate change in their own voice.  The website has loads of useful resources including specific advice on communicating with young people, faith groups and the political centre-right as well as resources on communicating about climate impacts and migration as a result of climate change.

Climate Visuals is a library of images for climate change communication that has been compiled based upon research conducted with thousands of people in the UK, Germany and the US.

Carbon Conversations is a series of six meetings that gives participants the opportunity to explore the practical and emotional challenges that will be faced in moving to a low carbon society.  Community groups often use this as an in-depth engagement tool and a verison is also available for workplaces. The bibliography from the workbook is a comprehensive reading list for learning more about climate change, its impacts and solutions.

Common Cause looks specifically at our deepest held attitudes and beliefs - values - and how these influence and are influenced by our behaviours and the world around us. Using these insights it considers how communications and the ways in which an issue is framed impacts on its effectivenes. The Common Cause Handbook gives a good introduction to the basic principles and gives some examples of how these can be used in campaigns.

Sell the Sizzle: the new climate message by Futerra thinks about you 'sell' climate change to people, 'the science is unequivocal therefore climate change is now a salesman's problem.'

MINDSPACE is a framework for different ways of 'nudging' people to adopt different behaviours. It was developed by the UK Government's 'Behavioural Insights Team', which was nick-named the 'nudge unit'. When designing a project, or campaign, it can be useful to see MINDSPACE as a set of levers you can pull to try to influence people. If your project is stuck, this could be a way to examine what you’re doing and see if there are any obvious opportunities you’re missing.

Social Marketing means applying the insights and techniques of traditional marketing to 'selling' pro-social or environmental changes in attitudes and behaviours. It involves market research and understanding your audience, and tailoring communications to suit different segments. The segmentation tool above is based on this approach. Two useful resources in this area are:

Consumer Power: Communicating Behaviour Change from IPPR gives 10 principles for communicating low carbon behaviours.

How To Go Beyond Social Marketing from COIN looks at common pitfalls and things to consider.

The SCARF Model starts from the position that people act to maximise social rewards and minimise social threats in the same way we do for physical rewards and threats. SCARF stands for five key areas of social life that we have a threat/reward response to - status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, fairness. For people to respond positively to suggestions we make about making changes in their lives we must be aware of maximising benefit in these areas of social life, and minimising threat.


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