Five lessons from our recent Climate Action Towns gathering

A picture of an out of focus laptop with multiple faces participating in an online meeting with a green plant in the foreground
Published: 25/11/2022

Towns gather to share learning about the climate emergency

Our Climate Action Towns project recently brought together the towns we work with to an online town gathering. We were also able to welcome two new towns to the fold: Drongan, Rankinston, and Stair (DRS) in East Ayrshire and the Benarty communities in Fife

We are focused on delivering the Place Principle and bringing people together to create great places. This event gave the communities from the Climate Action Towns a great opportunity to share their experiences and learn from each other.

Communication around climate change and the co-benefits of action is key

Not everyone is thinking about climate action or understands what the climate crisis is and how it will affect them. Currently, the biggest concern in communities is the cost of living and heating their homes.

We discussed how to communicate, how these problems are interlinked and how tackling the climate crisis can benefit communities too. 

We should learn from what others have done before and build on this

How do you turn a plan into real action?

It would be good to hear about more community-led projects, particularly around how we start the journey to climate adaptation. The group had good suggestions around inspirational projects that we could share as future learning. 

We should explore new models for delivery

We would like to hear from other places about delivery models, innovative approaches and models of action, best practices of delivery, and how to get resources to do this.

We need to work in a joined-up way with greater collaborative working, for example, between businesses and communities in a town.  

Funding is fundamental

We discussed financial barriers and a lack of funding for projects. There was an interesting point raised about alternative (i.e., non-mainstream) funding routes. This included community bonds as an excellent way to realise community projects where the community is invested in the outcomes. Many people said that overly long forms were creating barriers to action. 

There are intergenerational opportunities for action

One participant noted that young people are well-informed and well-educated about the impacts of climate change but feel disempowered to act. Where community councils, for example, know they need to act but lack basic knowledge there is an opportunity to build intergenerational connections.

Next steps

The Gathering centred on sharing the learning from the original seven Climate Action Towns of Alness, Annan, Blackburn, Campbeltown, Holytown, Invergordon and Stevenston. The event also included an interactive Climate Acronym quiz and updates from the Scottish Government and Scottish Communities Climate Action Network that gave additional context to the ongoing work. 

We will deliver more Climate Action Towns gathering events, on a topic-focused basis to enable both learning and discussion.  Sign up for our newsletter to be kept up to date with any public events or news.