Guest blog: European Day of Sustainable Communities 2021

10th December 2021

A young person enjoys having their face painted. Photo credit Robin Mitchell.

In this guest blog, Scottish Communities Climate Action Network reports on the European Day of Sustainable Communities.

On 18th September, organisations around Europe celebrated Ecolise’s Annual European Day of Sustainable Communities (EDSC). In the anticipation of COP26, Scottish organisations were eager to celebrate the vital work achieved by communities all over the country.

Ecolise is a Europe-wide network that focuses on community-led action against climate change on the path towards a more sustainable world. The 2021 EDSC is the fifth to take place and, amid a pandemic, it is more important than ever to celebrate the amazing community work that has taken place.

Here’s a look at how communities around Scotland celebrated EDSC 2021:

The Pyramid at Anderston’s Community Fun Festival

The Pyramid at Anderston is a community-owned space for the people of Anderston, Finnieston, Kelvingrove, Yorkhill and Glasgow. Six hundred and thirty-one people attended The Pyramid at Anderston’s Community Fun Festival, taking 

part in a wide range of activities and workshops. This included:

  • wildflower seed weaving, creating a 10-metre-long woven piece of bee and butterfly friendly seeds to be planted down the side of our building and seed mats to be planted in the area
  • making community artwork with Jim Parkyn (Aardman Animations lead modelmaker)
  • sharing their wants and wishes for the community
  • fairground rides, games, face painting, balloon modelling, smoothie bike, street dance, circus skills and hula hooping
  • Glasgow Science Centre climate challenge exhibition models
  • zine-making with Glasgow Zine Library
  • drawing with Mind and Draw
  • Plus magic, children’s author Kjartan Poskitt and more – all accompanied by live music and plant-based snacks!

Glasgow bike ride with Food and Climate Action

Food and Climate Action along with Bike for Good and Glasgow Allotments Forum ran a very successful bike tour to three allotment sites on the Southside of Glasgow.  The group visited Queen’s Park allotments, South West Allotments and New Victoria Gardens. Members at each site gave fascinating tours and participants saw the diversity of allotments and found out more about the history, biodiversity and community engagement of allotment sites.

Sustaining Dunbar film screening

Pix in the Stix – in association with Sustaining Dunbar, Climate Action East Linton and Take One Action – hosted a screening of Not Without Us, a 2016 Cert (12+) documentary that connects the dots between growing economic inequality, fossil fuel-driven economies and government inaction in the face of the greatest crisis engulfing our planet. It conveys the call from campaigners from around the world for deep, far-reaching system change. The film traces seven grassroots activists from around the world as they head to the COP21 UN climate talks in Paris and poses the question: can the will of the people put pressure on world leaders?

Following the screening, the audience engaged in lively discussion and debate focusing on a series of questions provided by Take One Action. These included considering the extent to which perceptions of COP climate negotiations and agreements shifted as a result of seeing the film. A number in the audience were surprised to learn that the Paris Agreement did not mention fossil fuels directly and that, following COP21, nothing relating to fossil fuels was legally binding, having only featured in the preamble. 

The consensus was that, although it was not an uplifting film overall, it did convey the vital importance of people power; the joy and solidarity that working together to combat the climate crisis can bring, along with the assertion that we cannot rely on governments and corporations alone to do the right thing.

Net Zero Action’s documentary screening

Net Zero Action hosted a screening of Not Without Us, followed by facilitated open discussions in four small groups to air ideas on what we can do, and what aiming for Net Zero might mean to us as a community. The event was kindly hosted by Bruntsfield Evangelical Church, with first-rate facilities for accommodation, screening, food, and group facilitation. Free refreshments were provided by local residents in Leamington Terrace and generously by Dig-In Community Greengrocer. 

Net Zero Action hopes to use the information gathered at the event to boost community action and assist them in setting up their own street-level community groups to act on net zero.

GAMIS Community Market

GAMIS hosted the first Govanhill Community Market led by G42 Pop-Ups in partnership with Govanhill Baths Community Trust. The community market project aims to strengthen connections between diverse communities of Govanhill, support the local economy, and activate underused parts of the neighbourhood. The market had a focus on sustainability in its wider sense, focusing on the social, environmental, and economic impact, with this event linking to the Scotland Sustainability Summit, Climate Fringe Week, Glasgow Open Doors Days and Harvest Festival that also took place in September. The target audience was local residents, including families, young people and older generations. In addition to the market, there were many free events and activities such as a family ceramics workshop, Roma dance demonstration and workshop led by Sonia from Romane Cierhenia, choir performance by Govanhill Voices community choir, music performance by local music ensemble FIRKA, and Climate Frisk, which is an interactive workshop to help develop an understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change.

Communities for Future

This year’s EDSC gave communities the opportunity to celebrate and highlight their achievements in community-led action against climate change. However, it is also an opportunity to kickstart more projects and inspire others to join the journey towards a more sustainable world. The Communities for Future project, led by Ecolise, is an online Europe-wide network designed to help communities take action in their own way. The Communities for Future project encourages communities to pioneer their way towards a more sustainable world and to respond creatively to the climate crisis. Creating a post-carbon future means we must celebrate and indulge in the diversity of local culture.  Communities for Future provides a platform for communities to share their stories and inspire each other. We must all work together to achieve a happy, just and sustainable world.

If you would like to learn more about Communities for Future, please visit www.communitiesforfuture.org

Become a SCCAN member to stay up to date on community-led action in Scotland! www.scottishcommunitiescan.org.uk 

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