Boost public participation in climate action
Proactively harness the power of individuals, communities and other actors across Scotland for climate action and sustainable development by investing in awareness raising, and cultural and behaviour change programmes.
Scotland should deepen understanding of climate change across all parts of society while creating platforms for meaningful and sustained public engagement. This should include investing in education as a means of accelerating the transition to a sustainable society; placing meaningful public participation, particularly of affected, marginalised and vulnerable people, at the heart of climate policy making in Scotland including through long-term investment in community-led action.
Better public engagement and general understanding of the problems created by climate change and the solutions needed to address them, including the resulting co-benefits, will help head off any potential public and political backlash.
Education is the bedrock on which transformative action can be built. Young people are demanding faster emission cuts and for learning about the climate crisis to be core within the education system in Scotland. Currently, ‘enabling young people to become responsible citizens’ is one of the four key capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence. Global Citizenship Education can help deliver this: it does not tell young people what to think but shows them that they have a voice and gives them the skills, knowledge and values to use it. It is enshrined in UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 and, in Scotland, within pupils’ entitlement to Learning for Sustainability (LfS). However, teachers must have the support they need to deliver this. Sustained investment is required in the LfS Action Plan to realise the commitment for every school to have a ‘whole-school’ approach.
Meaningful public engagement must become the hallmark of climate action in Scotland, through the creation of ongoing platforms to facilitate this, building on the Climate Assembly and the participative approach adopted elsewhere by the Scottish Government, such as the Social Security Lived Experience Panels and, in relation to delivery of the International Development Strategy, the Global South Panel. An Ethnic Minorities Lived Experience Panel could also make a useful contribution.
For further information:
- Social Security Lived Experience Panels, Scottish Government, https://www.gov.scot/collections/social-security-experience-panels-publications/
- Teach the Future Scotland: https://www.teachthefuture.uk/scotland
- Climate Solutions,RSGS, (Accessed 17 September 2020) https://www.rsgs.org/climate-solutions
- Care, climate and covid-19 – building a wellbeing economy for scotland, Oxfam, 2021, p 17-19, https://oxfamapps.org/scotland/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/CARE-CLIMATE-AND-COVID-19-November-23-2020.pdf
- culture/SHIFT home page, Creative Carbon Scotland, https://www.creativecarbonscotland.com/project/cultureshift/
- Global South Panel, Scottish Government, https://www.gov.scot/groups/international-development-global-south-panel/