European Day for Sustainable Communities 2022 – Stories and Reflections from Scottish Communities

For the 6th year, communities all around Europe celebrated ECOLISE’s project European Day of Sustainable Communities (#EDSC2022), this year aligned with the European Year of Youth (#EYY2022). As SCCAN, we are very proud to be a part of this wider network and learning exchange.

As we wrap up a year of successes and challenges within restless community action against climate change, we would like to share some stories and reflections from our members who created opportunities for folk in their areas to gather on the 17th of September. We gathered, young and old and everything in between, to learn, teach, celebrate and plan for better lives in harmony with each other and our lands and ecosystems.

Shall we start with a story about stories? With a focus on youth climate activism and effective climate communication, Story Weavers Kaska and Joana prepared and delivered an online session on the importance of personal stories. We believe that Stories for Change are too stories about change. Practicing how to tell and listen to the change in others with all its twists and turns and imperfections can inspire and motivate us to think and act in different ways in relation to our role in our human communities, societies, and in nature. We continuously encourage young people and youth workers to contribute with their stories and perspectives to 1000 Better Stories Podcast and Blog, helping us amplify young voices and vision for a thriving resilient Scotland.

Still on the online realm, so we could reach a wider audience, Cyrog Enterprise Limited led by Chidinma Yvonne Iro joined efforts with SCCAN in a workshop to explore different futures that would allow people to take control of their livelihoods. Recognising community agency as a foundation pillar in the fight against climate change and securing fair transitions in societies, folk were taken on a journey that borrowed from valuable Global South experience and reflections.  From boosting African cities’ resilience to climate change to the importance of good hygiene in securing a sustainable future, Frank Zorokong (University of Dundee) and Joan Ezinne Ojukwu (Red Cross) invited the participants to reflect upon and recognise the benefits of restoring community in large urban areas across civil societies, local government, private and public sectors and citizens, and also how actions and policies have to go together in order to sustain and increase life expectancy.

Landing on the real world and traveling North to Aberdeenshire, NESCAN HUB had a stand at the Macduff Marine Aquarium Silver spray event. At the event, NESCAN Staff triggered conversations with children and families around the question: what can your community do to help our planet?

They promoted the premiere of NORTH EAST SCOTLAND COMMUNITIES: Our green Journey. NESCAN HUB was proud to partner with Station House Media Unit (SHMU) to create and present their latest film exploring and highlighting the amazing climate action projects happening throughout the North East, as they are working towards mitigating climate change in our communities. The premiere was held at The BARN, a multi-arts centre in Banchory where community action and activities are championed and celebrated.

NESCAN HUB also held a stand collaboration at the Aberdeen University Student Association‘s Sustainability Fresher’s Fayre Aberdeen along with other organisations to talk about the power of community in support of the European Day of Sustainable Communities.

Still in Aberdeenshire, Udny, UDNY Primary school ECO GROUP got busy. The group celebrated the ESDC with a  planting session of seasonal vegetables (sprouts, kale and spinach). In addition, the school revived ,painted and improved the old BUG House of the school and the area surrounding the polytunnel and also planted fruit trees. The school children is now motivated to grow fruit trees to launch their own mini enterprise: chutney apple sauce for local sale. They would like to grow more fruit for their own consumption and to exchange in local farmer markets.

In Edinburgh, folk from Transition Edinburgh were glad to be able to meet other concerned citizens in person. After a round up of what all the Community Led initiatives have managed to achieve in the past decade we had a very good set of conversations about the four main topics of Transport / Active travel, Food Growing and Wellbeing, Energy / Building Retrofit and Waste / Circular Economy.  People wanted to continue talking and sharing ideas about what is needed next but we had to call a halt at 9pm – long after the formal end of the event. 

Moving to the West coast of Scotland, In Elderslie St, Anderston, The Pyramid at Anderston hosted a fun tree planting morning. We planted two coxes orange pippin trees, and five conference pear trees. This was the first action in this space – and it kicked off a new community garden space in Anderston that will be supported by GCC Improving Green Spaces Funding.

During challenging times, we hope that these stories inspired even just a bit of what they inspired us and maybe got you think about different things you could do/tell/organise in your area, with your local group or online networks to celebrate sustainable communities and youth action. You don’t need to wait for the next EDSC… you can start right now! We have plenty of resources within SCCAN across our network to help you make it happen!

We wish you a New Year 2023 of gratitude, hope and strenght in community.