GUEST BLOG: Community of Practice, Climate Action Without Despair

Once upon a time there was a beautiful planet. People began to notice though the planet was changing. The seas were full of plastics, the air was full of pollution, there were many storms, droughts, and floods, it made the people sad. They felt that time was running out if they didn’t do something soon. They worried people may be so despairing they think of suicide. A postcard with useful numbers and a message of hope was created and shared so people knew if they felt so despairing, they thought of suicide then they were not alone.

Everyday they were reminded of the climate crisis, and this made them feel even more powerless. Until one of the group said, ‘’Rather than feel overwhelmed, why don’t we get together, support each other, and share ideas? ‘’This went down well and at the first meeting the group created a little postcard for members, to remind them, small changes can make a big difference.

One day when they were sharing ideas about the 15% of things that were in their control. Someone suggested, ‘’Why don’t we create something to help others recognise the actions they can take to help reduce the despair caused by climate change’’. A  new ’’Jigsaw lid’’ was created as a way of helping people explore ideas of the difference they can make.

Because of that, the group realised there were others they could connect with, learn from, and share ideas with to help have a positive impact on the planet, and also on their own and others wellbeing. They were delighted to share ideas and learn from each other in this developing community led community of practice around climate action without despair.

Because of that there were others who wanted to become part of finding solutions together and mitigating the impact of climate grief. We met and shared ideas and, they created a plan with their local community which added more voices to the community led, community of practice, by creating more local communities of practice who were also building a network to share ideas and offer support to each other.

Because word had spread about the work around climate change, we were delighted through our networks to be able to present on the work at the weeklong event ‘Our People, Our Planet. Greener healthcare for quality improvement and wellbeing’. We created a specific lid for this event, as by now we were realising there were many people wanting to connect and create their own communities of practice around climate action without despair and achieving net zero.

Until finally we realised, we were not just one community of practice interested in addressing the challenges faced by the planet, we were one of many and sharing & learning together enabled us to achieve more than we ever could have alone. That creating space, to talk, share, support each other around an issue which we share in common can lead to many exciting changes both for our own group and when connecting with others. It starts when we start talking to each other and building relationships.

If we had not created a safe space to share how we felt, the challenges we were facing not only from the external environment but from our own choices, if we had not listened to the diversity of opinions and reached out to include other voices, we would not have the ideas or perhaps even the motivation to develop things together. Now when people hear of others feeling sad about the state of the planet they can offer simple ideas, in the now, which can help regain a sense of agency, that not all is lost and together we can be the change.

COPE Scotland were previously featured as SCCAN’s Member of the Month – click here to read more about them.