Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Latha Reic (Selling day)

This is a short film we made recently about the importance of the local mart to Hebridean crofting communities. It won a Visions Award at the 2009 FilmG Gaelic film festival.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Why Transition is about discovering what democracy really looks like

This is an article I wrote for the latest issue of Reforesting Scotland magazine, which focuses on communities in transition in Scotland.

Why Transition is about discovering what democracy really looks like

There’s no doubt this is an opportunity. We were all very comfortable before we faced up to what our fossil fuel consumption was doing to the planet. Yes, OK, changing every aspect of our excessively wasteful and energy-intensive society might be a rather daunting task. But it’s one which should be relished...

The biggest challenge facing the Transition movement isn’t about insulation or micro-renewables - it’s about how we create a new generation of feisty community activists, energetic participants in democracy who will change society from the bottom up.

You might say that our government has achieved quite a lot recently with the new Climate Change Act and the Climate Challenge Fund. But are they really putting our money where their mouth is? Emissions from their roadbuilding and airport expansion plans will dwarf many of the savings made elsewhere. How do we square that with our climate action ambitions?

The only way we can be sure that the government will deliver on its climate promises is if we as a society hold them to account when they go off track. The question isn’t whether the solutions should come from the top down, or the bottom up – we need both. But the bottom line is that dynamic grassroots engagement with climate change is a powerful force for change. Rather than being made to react to what is thrown at us, wouldn’t it be nice to create a society which can actively and positively choose the kind of Scotland we want?

Tackling the threat of climate change needs urgent short-term action, as well as long-term vision. Building a vibrant grassroots movement for positive change comes, at least partly, in the latter category. Some of the things we need to do to make this happen don’t even look like climate action – things like meeting people, talking, planning, being creative, even partying. But they are essential to the process of changing society.

Powerful community action also requires a perspective which connects local action to the national and international levels. We need to be able to identify with, learn from, and support communities taking action on the impacts and causes of climate change on the other side of the world.

There are already hundreds of locally-based groups in Scotland working to tackle climate change – from independent projects to the local groups of national campaigning organisations, as well as larger bodies and networks. Just imagine the influence this movement for climate action can have.

We’ve got an exciting opportunity here to see what a healthy democracy really looks like. If we can think big while taking pleasure in the small steps along the way, it will be amazing what we can achieve.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Reforesting Scotland magazine focuses on Transition

The latest issue of Reforesting Scotland magazine focuses on the growing Transition movement in Scotland. Catalyst Campaigns has designed and laid out the RS magazine for 10 years.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Bringing together environmental and mental health organisations

Today at Redhall Walled Gardens in Edinburgh an innovative event takes place - a conference bringing together environmental and mental health organisations to create opportunities for co-operation between them.

Working in partnership with Bespoke Organic Events, we produced the promotional materials pictured here.

Monday, 15 June 2009

New report showcases Scottish climate education

A new report published today shows trailblazing Scottish climate education projects building community action to tackle climate change - and highlights the different kinds of support needed by communities who want to take action.

The report is written by community educator Jamie Auldsmith (along with a team of SEAD staff and volunteers) and designed by Catalyst Campaigns for Scottish Education and Action for Development as part of their Switch On to Climate Change project. It showcases the work of groups including Going Carbon Neutral Stirling, PLANEspeaking, the John Muir Trust, EcoCongregations, the Transition Scotland network, Eco Schools and the Centre for Human Ecology.

Download the report 'Are we Switching On? Challenges and Opportunities for Climate Change Education' at www.sead.org.uk

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

An innovative new tool for community action

Communities in Scotland now have a lively and accessible 130-page online resource to help them achieve their goals. The site includes the Climate Action Hub - a source of information about the causes and impacts of climate change, what you can do, and what other groups are already doing in Scotland and around the world. But it isn't just for communities working on climate issues. There is a Community Action Toolkit with a vast array of resources on everything from how to involve your community, ideas for raising money for your work, and information about different approaches you might choose to take.

Catalyst Campaigns worked with the Graphics Company and Stuff and Content to create the resource as part of new website of Scottish Education and Action for Development (SEAD). We think it's unique for the Scottish context, with its particular focus on community-based climate action. Have a look at what it has to offer - and do give us feedback if you feel we've missed something out.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Now's the time for community-led climate action

Karen Grant represents the voluntary sector on the decision-making panel of the Climate Challenge Fund. This is an extract from an article she wrote for Third Force News this week:

With £27.4 million committed up to 2011, the Climate Challenge Fund has the potential to dramatically grow the capacity of the community-based movement in Scotland – and, when coupled with concerted action by decision-makers at all levels, to result in very significant emissions reductions.

Last week the latest round of 33 successful projects were announced, including a local food project in Edinburgh, an energy audit of buildings in Assynt to help plan future energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, an energy advice service in Argyll and an innovative urban community arts project tackling climate issues. The level of energy and inspiration coming from communities is impressive, and the Fund can help make the leap from idea to action.

The Fund centres on two main criteria – projects must be community led, and they must deliver emissions reductions. These reductions may be delivered within the duration of the project, or they may be projected reductions which will happen as a result in the future. If you think the CCF may be able to help your group, get in touch with one of the grants officers at an early stage and they will guide you through the application process.

Useful web sites:
The Climate Challenge Fund – www.climatechallengefund.org
A map and details of all CCF projects funded so far - http://tinyurl.com/6m756f

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

A future for Scottish forests?

The landscape is changing for Scottish forestry, and the newest issue of the Reforesting Scotland journal (designed by Catalyst Campaigns) is focused on just where the future lies. Journal editor Ida Maspero writes, "What is called for now [...in Scottish forestry...] is an integrated and imaginative approach that extends across the artificial boundaries drawn between technology, human wellbeing, science, economics, conservation and community. What’s more, it would also boost the economy... and help restore a crumbling sense of community."

The journal is published by Big Sky - a printer in the Northeast of Scotland, specialising in environmentally sustainable printing, using vegetable-based inks and Scottish-made recycled paper. Catalyst Campaigns has worked with Big Sky for 15 years and they just get better and better.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Why is community action so important?

Graphic developed by Catalyst Campaigns