Climate Conversations reveal attitudes to climate change in Scotland

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Do the general public want to help Scotland fight climate change?

In 2016 Pam Candea and I facilitated a series of ten conversations about climate change on behalf of the Scottish Government. The results, drawn from these and other Climate Conversations, are summarised in the draft Climate Change Plan laid in the Scottish Parliament on 19th January 2017.

The key findings are:


Climate Conversations work as a way to engage with the general public on climate change, and participants enjoyed the conversations.

Knowledge of climate change:

  • People are generally aware of climate change as both an issue and a problem and were aware that action is necessary to tackle it. There was some confusion between concepts and some factual inaccuracy in the conversations, however many of the participants appeared reasonably well informed.
  • Participants want to act on climate change but want more information on climate change, the impacts of climate change and the actions they can take.
  • Participants felt they were already taking some action on climatechange.

Continue reading “Climate Conversations reveal attitudes to climate change in Scotland”

What are the highs and lows for leaders, strategists and change makers working on sustainability and social responsibility?


I believe that traditional approaches to leadership for sustainability and social responsibility don’t sufficiently recognise the complex reality and competing demands often faced by leaders. I want to support leaders to create real, effective and lasting change.

That’s why I am working with Natural Change to develop new ways of catalysing and supporting leadership for sustainability.

Please help us to understand your role as a leader by answering a few quick questions…

Whatever your job title, do you have responsibility for leading others, developing strategy or delivering change programmes? Whether it’s part of your professional role or something you are personally interested in, does sustainability or social responsibility figure in your work?

If you answer ‘yes’ to both, please help us by completing our short survey…

It would be wonderful if you could forward this to individuals and groups you think might be able to help. Thank you!

The role of values in transformational change

Cover ImageIn June 2015 I helped organise a roundtable with Tom Crompton, founder of the Common Cause Foundation. With around 30 participants we had to drop our original plan for a literal round-a-table-discussion, and designed a more structured approach which created a powerful mix of strategic input, stimulating discussion and deep personal reflection.

Participants decided that:

The Role of Values in Transformational Change is…

  • Fundamental and complex
  • Important to understand
  • Relevant to meaning and narratives
  • Provides a framework for reflection
  • Provides a framework for engagement

And said they would therefore like to…

  • Understand more about values and how they work
  • Open up meaningful conversations
  • Explore and use narratives
  • Work with organisational values
  • Bring values into what they do

You can download a note of the event: The-Role-of-Values-in-Transformational-Change-Final

Down with work life balance

The concept of “work life balance” implies that ‘work’ and ‘life’ can be separated, put on different sides of the scales, that they are in opposition to each other, that more of one means less of the other.

That metaphor has never really worked for me, perhaps in part because I grew up in places where waged jobs were the exception, but also because most of my working life I’ve tried to do things that were important to me: for some of those tasks I’ve been paid, for some I’ve done them anyway. Continue reading “Down with work life balance”

Action Learning Programme recognised with UNESCO award

We developed the Communities with a Common Cause Action Learning Programme to pilot an approach to putting Common Cause into practice that could be replicated more widely. The programme had excellent feedback from participants and was recognised with a UNESCO Outstanding Flagship Project Award. The judging panel were particularly impressed by the innovative nature of the project and its contribution to pushing forward the field of Education for Sustainable Development. Continue reading “Action Learning Programme recognised with UNESCO award”

Optimism, Pessimism & Hope: Personal responses to the professional challenges of sustainability

Optimism, Pessimism & Hope: Personal responses to the professional challenges of sustainability presents the results of our survey of nearly 800 people working on environmental sustainability, social justice and related issues.

Over half believed things will get much worse for people and planet with little prospect of improvement within their lifetime; forty percent said a transition to a sustainable and just world is likely, but that this will involve major disruption and hardship.

Where does this leave us? Continue reading “Optimism, Pessimism & Hope: Personal responses to the professional challenges of sustainability”

Amazing to be cited in a UN report — but also sad…

Email from Robin this morning:

Your fame spreads folks… isn’t it in equal measure amazing, rewarding and sad that this April 2014 United Nations report quotes East Ayrshire work started over 10 years ago and that other than your intervention which attributed some metric to this with SROI there is internationally such a dearth of similar evaluations.

Continue reading “Amazing to be cited in a UN report — but also sad…”

A day in eternity

Knoydart Gathering Oct 2013

Knoydart in April 2010. A rocky finger of western Scotland, stretching across to the Isle of Skye. A grey, damp evening. 

The lodge at Doune, named for the prehistoric hill fort a couple of hundred yards away. Twelve of us. Sitting around the candles in the centre of the floor we form a circle.

We’re briefed about tomorrow. Before dawn we’ll each go out onto the land and choose the place we will stay until dusk. No wandering off, we will remain in those few square yards all day. We will return in silence, dine in silence and hold that silence until the next day. The silence starts now and we head for bed.

I wake in the dark, pack some food in my rucksack. I join the others in the veranda. The tail end of the night is cold, damp, dark, dark grey.

As my turn comes I step of the verandah across the grass and into the circle of stones we placed yesterday. I compose myself. What am I doing? What weird ritual is this? I look into the eyes of the two facilitators, and step through the threshold formed by our stones.

Continue reading “A day in eternity”

Pathways to Sustainability: Different paths or different destinations?

I’ve been working and living ‘for sustainability’ for years, so why is all the attention that the Forum on Natural Capital in Edinburgh is getting making me so uneasy?

Many years ago I wrote a guide to sustainability for businesses, called The Triple Bottom Line (that was cutting edge in those days). In it, I made many of the same arguments that I imagine are being promoted at the Forum on Natural Capital: the dependence of humans, and therefore business, on the natural world, and that the use and protection of these resources needs to be accounted for in decision making. Continue reading “Pathways to Sustainability: Different paths or different destinations?”

Do you need a new bike? 7bn reasons why technology wont fix the environment

image source

Bikes are perhaps one of the most powerful icons of the green movement — low tech, low carbon, sociable and more. Along with wind turbines bikes frequently appear on book covers and illustrations of a future, better, more sustainable world.

the inevitable bike is top right (the book)

So, more bikes must be good? Continue reading “Do you need a new bike? 7bn reasons why technology wont fix the environment”