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December 17, 2019

Climate action

The climate talks in Madrid look to have staggered to a close – more out of the sheer exhaustion of delegates than them having reached any progressive agreements.  ‘Must do more to tackle the emergency’ was about the extent of it. While we should undoubtedly be demanding more from our world leaders, it is the global scale of the challenge that deters many from taking action at a local level. That said, one thing you can do right now is sign this Communities Call for Action. Another is to take inspiration from this list of climate actions already underway.

Bertie Russell, The Conversation

At the recent conference organised by Community Energy Scotland, Development Trusts Association Scotland, Scottish Community Alliance and Scottish Communities Climate Action Network, Eva Schonveld introduced the new Communities Call for Climate Action, encouraging activists and community organisations to sign up. The Call is for the Scottish Government and local authorities to do much more to harness the potential of community organisations to take climate action. There is now growing public support for more radical action and for the step-changes in behaviours, attitudes and lifestyles that must come about if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The call also encourages community groups to pledge to increase our collective efforts to respond to the climate emergency. Only local people can mobilise and sustain grassroots climate action, but we also need support from all levels of government to do this.

The Call asks the Scottish government to address the following key areas:

Support for Community-based Climate Action: Establish a long term strategy setting out how government will involve and empower communities to plan and take climate action.

Renewal of Local Democracy: Rebuild local democracy from the bottom up by ensuring that local decision-making and sufficient resources are shifted irrevocably towards local people and away from the existing institutions of power.

Prosperity without Growth: Place climate resilience, climate justice and the well-being agenda front and centre of Scotland’s economic policy by embracing a new economic paradigm of prosperity without growth.

Conference participants discussed this Call for Action and identified areas that they are already active on and would like to scale up or would like to do new work on including:


  1. Increase in community land ownership x3
  2. Better usage of derelict land
  3. Work with large scale land owners
  4. Promote land reform as leading policy to unlock value of land


Food & Farming

  1. Encourage use of local, seasonal food
  2. Local allotments/tunnel greenhouses/food growing spaces x6
  3. Encourage new local smallholders in local community x3
  4. Promote meat-free diet x3
  5. Mapping to show supply chains in food production system
  6. More food resilience and crofting projects
  7. Use verges and neglected places for food growing


Forestry & Tree Planting

  1. More tree planting x6
  2. Fruit tree planting in individual gardens to provide local orchards
  3. More composting
  4. Rewilding x2
  5. Protect and repair peat bogs
  6. Reduce grazing pressure
  7. Biodiversity awareness x2



  1. Community transport in remote areas to feed into more joined up public transport
  2. More promotion of active transport clubs
  3. ULEU car clubs/people transporters x2
  4. More electric car chargers needed in rural areas
  5. More teleconferencing and Cut out unnecessary travel
  6. Shared cycle paths
  7. Electric community buses


Education on Climate Change

  1. Supporting areas of deep deprivation to understand climate change
  2. Local climate literacy training and engagement x3
  3. Climate chat café x2
  4. Empower people through education x4
  5. Public meetings with practical solutions x2
  6. Increase awareness of how climate change affect migration and impacts on the poorest communities


Waste Reduction & Recycling

  1. Reduce waste & encourage recycling x4
  2. Use green alternatives
  3. Circular economy at island/local level
  4. More recycling information at point of contact by council
  5. Stop using post-its – they cannot be recycled
  6. More repair facilities


Housing & Buildings

  1. Retrofitting flats and houses x3
  2. Protect local ancient buildings
  3. More engagement with private sector e.g. house builders
  4. Demand eco-villages and alternative masterplans

Local Democracy

  1. Community groups develop their own climate/env. policies against which all their actions should be measured
  2. Genuine community empowerment from local government
  3. Build citizenship so that people are encouraged to accept responsibility / play their part x2
  4. More involvement with local politics by way of lobbying, responding to consultations and holding councillors to account x3
  5. Local emergency response planning using citizen assembly approach
  6. Support development officers to take forward local schemes
  7. Alyth Town Council re-instated
  8. Reinvigoration of local democracy


  1. Make funding available for community action
  2. Identify funding models from other countries
  3. Create a nation of “citizen investors”
  4. Circulate local financial resources for local use/Keep investment local
  5. Community investment in renewable energy
  6. Encourage investors to use lower interest rates so more income goes back into communities


Community Energy

  1. Community owned renewable energy generation x8
  2. Feed-in tariffs to support local hydro and small scale solar & wind turbines x2
  3. Local energy schemes properly funded x5
  4. Support community buy-in/benefit
  5. Expert, tailored local energy advice x2
  6. Energy efficiency for tenements in mixed tenure feasibility
  7. Smart power networks
  8. Telling positive stories e.g. examples of jobs in fossil-free future
  9. Preparing for future energy system changes
  10. Switch energy providers to carbon-free tariffs

Sustainable Employment

  1. Identify a sustainable tourism model
  2. Create local jobs using community ownership income


Community Organisational Support

  1. Link with other communities to provide support to each other/ create wider community x3
  2. Support for community spaces to enable events, discussions, coming together x5
  3. More awareness raising and project development programmes for communities
  4. More co-working hubs and community owned workspaces x2
  5. Bigger/national community led organisations taking the lead/empowering members
  6. Joining up with climate activists in arts, culture and heritage


Media      Media to be held accountable for distribution of misleading content