Self care, resilience and hope are essential for anyone working with climate change. This month we’re delighted to shine the Member of the Month spotlight onto COPE Scotland and the important work they undertake, as well as resources they offer to support mental health and wellbeing.
- Tell us about your organisation/community group.
COPE Scotland is a mental/emotional wellbeing charity registered in Scotland, which seeks to work with others to find ways to overcome the challenges of life which can be overcome, find ways to mitigate the issues which have no easy solution with the aim of being part of helping build a world where we are kinder to ourselves, each other, and the planet. This video shares more https://www.cope-scotland.org/mental-health-videos/entry/a-message-to-the-world Through our website we share tools and resources to support the charities aim as well as offering workshops, community engagement and capacity building and leadership development.
- What inspired you to take your first step into community climate action?
We recognised the impact the climate crisis was having on people’s health and wellbeing. Being led by communities we began conversations around what the charity could do to help. This started as a simple postcard offering ideas to be kinder to the planet which we shared widely, to exploring what else we could do as a charity to be kinder to the planet, to developing a toolkit to help support community conversations on climate action without despair. As a mental health charity, our focus is on the 15% activities which are within people’s control, but cumulatively can help make an impact. We connect people to other climate groups where people want to be more active around campaigns and this is why we joined Scottish Community Climate Action Network, not only so we could learn more, but so we could promote to others what other groups were doing if they wanted to get involved.
We also promote spending time in nature for wellbeing and it only seems fair, if nature is being kind to us, then we should do what we can to be kind to nature, so it is there in the future for others to enjoy. Humans need more than living in cities made of concrete, for our wellbeing we need time outdoors in fresh air, in green space, connecting to nature. COPE Scotland alone do not have all the answers but working with others we want to help be a part of the solution.
- What’s the one community climate action you’ve undertaken that you think had the most impact?
Our focus is always about sharing learning and building capacity for individuals and communities. If we were to pick one action, we would probably say the Jigsaw lid for climate action https://www.cope-scotland.org/mental-health-videos/entry/keeping-hope-alive-a-message-from-the-heart . This offers people a resource to have conversations with their families, workplaces, organisations, communities, around the pieces they think is necessary to support climate action without despair. We have witnessed groups using the toolkit and being inspired to focus on what matters to them, most recently the Snowdrop Centre MS Argyll Lochgilphead, attached the ‘lid’ which came from that conversation, which the folks at the Snowdrop Centre are happy for me to share. We were also delighted to be a part of ‘Our People, Our Planet, Quality Improvement for Greener Healthcare and Wellbeing.’ This was a series of events over one week and the range of presentations and examples given of work being done was inspiring. https://sustainablehealthcare.org.uk/blog/centre-sustainable-healthcare-supports-our-people-our-planet-virtual-conference
- What story from your community would you like to share?
We are happy to share our personal promise to the world affirmation card and video on the small steps we can each take to help reduce the impact of climate change. We are also happy to share the Jigsaw Lid for climate action without despair which people can use to help explore ideas of the pieces they see as in their control to be kinder to the planet. We were also delighted to be part of helping a community allotment to be created and we supported the development of a ‘scented sitooterie’ as well as creating a booklet on creating your own scented space and we co-produced a handbook which may be helpful for anyone who has an allotment. We also sponsored a food forest. The story to share is around collaboration and working together, and the impact this can have when we share ideas and resources. These links take you to the booklets mentioned:
Please feel free to visit our site where we share ideas and resources regularly.
- What’s your advice/tips for other community groups wanting to start to take collective action against a changing climate?
There is still hope and beauty in the world and together, we can overcome or mitigate the impact of these challenges when we realise, there is more in our control than we may know. The climate crisis cannot be solved by individual behaviours alone, but it’s a place to start and from there connect with others to help make bigger changes. As Margaret Meade is quoted as saying
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
- Is there anything else you’d like to share?
We have appreciated the opportunities the Scottish Community Alliance Community learning exchange budget has offered, and the support from Scottish Community Climate Action Network have offered our ideas. At a time when budgets can be under pressure this resource is of great assistance to reach out and connect with other communities of interest as well as geographic communities. For more information https://scottishcommunityalliance.org.uk/community-learning-exchange/
Our X account is @COPESotland