When you think about the future, do you think about a sustainable world full of prosperity and hope, or do you envision one that is barren, dried up, and struggles to sustain any form of life? If you’re like most people, you are neither a total optimist nor a complete pessimist; but what can thinking about extreme futures teach us about attitudes, lifestyles, and actions in the present?
What is a Utopian Vision?
Throughout the centuries, great thinkers and artists have depicted utopian visions of the future. The Greek philosopher Socrates is arguably one of the progenitors of utopian visions when he discusses the idea of a society in The Republic. Thomas Moore’s book “Utopia” is also pivotal.
Since individuals and communities are often dissatisfied in some way, it’s only natural to imagine a perfect world. The trouble is that a perfect world is unrealistic outside of fictional boundaries. Utopian visions can be inspiring and exciting, but they can also create issues.
What is a Dystopian Vision?
On the other side of the coin, we have dystopias. Human beings tend to think in extremes, so it is easy to take a negative idea and inflate it in the same way a positive idea can be embellished.
Dystopian visions imagine a world of the future when society has disintegrated for some reason.
As Margaret Atwood points out in an essay in her collection In Other worlds, neither a utopia nor a dystopia exists because one always contains the other. She coins the term Ustopia to describe a positive situation with disturbing elements or a negative situation that has goodness.
Living in the Future
Utopian visions offer us an ideal version of the future; it is something for us to aspire to and use as inspiration to change things in the present - but how effective is this approach? In relation to climate change, our ideal solution is Net Zero by mid-century, followed by the road to recovery.
In some ways, ‘living in the future’ is the best way to find a path towards positive outcomes. In order to live in the future, we need to understand the goals and targets for 2050 and put them into place quickly. Creating a present that adheres to a future vision can bring us closer to it.
Living in the Present
Living in the present is arguably less effective. Most people live in the present - and are often encouraged to do so thanks to the proliferation of meditation and mindfulness. But unless we have an awareness of the deep past and the deep future, we don’t create conditions for change.
Businesses need to open up a sense of deep time and avoid living in the present too much. Business-as-usual might generate profits for shareholders and maintain steady operations, but it’s not a path that will lead to resilience or future prosperity. They need a Net Zero strategy.
Effective Future Planning
Is a utopian vision or a dystopian vision better for future planning and global awareness? A utopian vision offers inspiration, while a dystopian vision gives us motivation. Perhaps we should take a leaf from Atwood’s (many) books and try to walk the middle way to sustainability.
Connecting to nature and to yourself
What is nature to you? Not only impassable wilderness, dense forests, untouched bays, bottomless lakes and snow-covered mountain peaks are nature.
Forests, gardens, parks, balconies, potted plants in the window sill, a flower bursting through the asphalt on the pavement and the wind touching your face are also parts of nature.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question about what nature is to you. The relevant matter is finding the kind of nature where you feel recharged, nourished and comforted - a place to be energised and to connect with the inner and outer world.
Finding your nature path
If you are not sure what kind of nature works for you, try different approaches. A stroll in the park, a restful moment by a pond or walking through fallen, dry leaves. Where do you feel your breathing calm down and slow down stressful or spinning thoughts?
Mental Health Foundation states that ‘For many of us though, 'being in nature’ may not be as easy as it sounds.’ In the article Our top tips on connecting with nature to improve your mental health the organisation shares ideas on how to connect to nature.
TRVST shares 19 Ways to Connect with Nature. The tips invite us to use our senses together with the opportunity to bring creativity, relaxation, reading, writing and presence in the present to support a bond with nature.
I was 43 years old when I realised that living near mountains, rivers and wilderness is essential - to me. On returning to Denmark after a year in New Zealand, I had a sense of grief at not living in these landscapes anymore, and in retrospect I began to understand why I had felt out of place in my home country. This initiated my move to Scotland where I’m fortunate to have found work, friends and my partner.
In a chaotic and violent world where countless people and nations face the horrors of war, famine and persecution, I’m humbled by my privileged position to be able to move to a country because its nature resonates with me.
Diving into techniques
Your relationship with nature is shaped by you. Finding a stream to put my feet in is one of my personal favourites. This often involves a walk through areas with a mixture of different tree species, another of my favourites. Walking outside your front door, closing your eyes and listening to birds in the neighbourhood for 10 min. could be your technique to recharge for the next Zoom meeting.
If you want to explore and develop nature connections further, there are various methods to follow. One is the Japanese concept of forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku). The introduction from Forestry England explains the core of the practice, ‘The simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply.’
Research, published at the Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine journal in 2010, indicates the health benefits,
‘The results show that forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments.’
(‘The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan’). In other words, forest bathing helps your body to relax and calm signs of stress.
There are several reasons why spending time in nature is beneficial for both physical and mental health. The Surefoot article Eco-distress - how to respond states, ‘One of the reasons we experience eco-distress is that we feel disconnected from the natural world and our ability to influence or manage the situation.’
By connecting to nature, eco-distress can be eased. Connecting to nature with writing and reading can strengthen the senses toward nature. Via the British Association for Holistic Medicine & Health Care (BHMA) you can free of charge download their magazine issue Nature Connections, which includes the article Your world in words: connecting to oneself and nature.
Together with social work lecturer Ann Hodson, I wrote the article about how my workshop, using creative writing and shared reading which has nature and the natural world at its core, can support vulnerable groups. We concluded that it can benefit individuals, helping them to engage in reflection and enjoy connecting with nature.
Since the way we talk about nature reflects our connection with nature, it is also worth mentioning the discipline of ecolinguistics. It’s defined by The International Ecolinguistics Association as,
‘Ecolinguistics explores the role of language in the life-sustaining interactions of humans, other species and the physical environment. The first aim is to develop linguistic theories which see humans not only as part of society, but also as part of the larger ecosystems that life depends on.’ The free online course The Stories We Live By provides insight into how we connect with nature in everyday life and on a societal level.
Connections. Healthy, happy connections are what we need to thrive as individuals and as part of communities. Matsuo Basho (1644-94) became a renowned haiku master and managed to embrace both the connection to the natural elements as well as the joy of sharing these experiences with others, as in this haiku from the book On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho:
Together let’s eat
ears of wheat,
share a grass pillow.
Nature connection builds resilience
May efforts and joy in creating and developing nature connections inspire others to do the same. Hopefully will these gentle steps contribute to the bigger picture towards a just and resilient world. RSPB’s article Connection to nature not only points to the benefits for individual well-being and health, but also to benefits that go in the other direction; from people to nature,
‘Research shows that people with a greater connection to nature are more likely to behave positively towards the environment, wildlife and habitats.’
The methods to connect to nature are many. Do you have a story about your nature connection you would like to share via Surefoot? Perhaps with ideas on how this contributes to a healthier community? Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s have a chat.
Text and photo by Gazelle Buchholtz, Surefoot associate
Carbon capture - how it works
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we need a hybrid solution to tackling climate and meeting Net Zero targets - the world needs to reach 1.5°C (2.7°F) by 2050. The approach requires a reduction in CO2 along with the removal of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere. Carbon Capture (CCS) technology can remove harmful gases.
What is Carbon Capture?
Industrial processes, transport, energy use in buildings, and energy production, account for over 70% of carbon emissions globally. Some of these industries and energy production methods can be reduced, but some industries will be unable to scale down production in time to meet targets.
This is where carbon capture comes in. Carbon capture utilisation and storage is a suite of technologies that extract CO2 and other harmful greenhouse gases and then pipe them to a safe zone deep underground. It sounds like a simple solution, but it has some issues as well.
How Does Carbon Capture Work?
A carbon capture facility looks something like an oil refinery from the outside, but it has a very different purpose. Instead of refining oil for use in industries that create carbon emissions, the silver stacks and chambers of a carbon capture facility remove harmful gases from the area.
Carbon capture facilities are located close to carbon-emitting facilities in an attempt to reduce the effects of carbon emissions. Currently, CCS facilities are extracting 45 Mt of GHG emissions from the air every year, but this needs to increase. Around 58 Gt of GHG are emitted annually.
Why is Carbon Capture Important?
Carbon capture is certainly not a silver bullet for resolving the climate crisis. Firstly, carbon capture facilities require energy to operate, so until a new sustainable power source is developed, they also contribute to CO2 emissions; and carbon removal is also fairly limited.
Still, carbon capture technology is important and has a role to play in the journey to Net Zero. A holistic approach to the climate crisis is needed to prevent the worst effects of climate change; this includes reducing carbon emissions by some of the worst contributors and CCS technology.
The Downside of Carbon Capture
Critics of carbon capture argue that the technology doesn’t go far enough. Investment in new “direct capture” facilities can remove around 100,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere, but at the same time, a single corporate emissions contributor could be responsible for a million tons.
When it comes to carbon capture technology, there is an issue around the balance of carbon emissions - how much is it contributing to emissions, and how much does it capture? But there are storage issues too. Earthquakes and instability can release carbon from storage deposits.
The Carbon Capture Outlook
While carbon capture is not the simple solution many hoped for, there is no doubt it has an important part to play in Net Zero. CCS can reduce the worst effects of heavy industries that will struggle to adapt in time. It makes Net Zero more realistic until long-term solutions are found.
There is a fire in the attic! An electrical panel became overloaded, and no one noticed. Then one day, on their way home, someone did notice something, smoke rising from the roof; they assumed it would go out by itself, and if not, someone else would notice before it was risky.
Since then, the fire has progressed, and the inhabitants of the house have become concerned - they can even smell the smoke and feel the heat. With climate change, we find ourselves in a similar predicament, but we are aware of the fire and our need to act now to begin rebuilding.
Key Takeaways: Climate Change
What is Net Zero and Why Does it Matter?
The future is in our hands! The choices and actions we take in the next two decades could determine the future of the planet, which is in jeopardy - due to accelerated climate change - if we continue with our current trajectories and approaches. But, there is also cause for optimism. The world is waking up, and we are starting to make sustainable changes in the right direction.
Net Zero Definition
Net zero is a global target to completely negate the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by absorbing and reducing carbon emissions. The planet is now 1.1°C hotter than in pre-industrial times - the late 1800s - resulting in melted sea ice, heat waves, and droughts. This is happening at a 1.1°C rise, but we are currently on a trajectory for an over 2°C rise.
Throughout the twentieth century, the warming was gradual, though not invisible, but since 1981, there has been an exponential rise in the planet’s surface temperatures. The year 2022 was the sixth hottest on record, according to NOAA data, and records will continue to break.
Climate Change Consequences
Climate change is caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; these are heat-retaining gases that prevent the incoming sunlight from escaping back into space; they warm the surface of the planet and increase ocean temperatures. The primary greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, and ozone.
Of these greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide accounts for almost 65% of the total; the majority of it is produced by human activity through energy production, agriculture, transport, and industry. The consequences are seen in rising sea levels, habitat losses, heat waves and wildfires. Without moving to Net Zero, these consequences will worsen throughout the 21st Century.
The impact of human-made climate change could be catastrophic for human and animal life. Rising sea levels caused by melting land ice will make some regions uninhabitable, and there will be food and water shortages. Human and animal communities will be displaced by rising temperatures, and conflicts are likely to break out over limited resources. But there is still time.
Net Zero Targets
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the planet is on course to increase temperature on average by 2°C in the next few decades, affecting all regions of the earth. Climate change already has a significant impact, causing wildfires, hurricanes, and habitat losses, but the severity of the damage will depend on human carbon emissions.
To move to Net Zero emissions by 2050, human carbon emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 to stay on course; this is a massive challenge for humankind - perhaps the biggest existential threat we have had to face. One key to cutting emissions quickly is resolving our global energy consumption, which accounts for three-quarters of the planet’s overall emissions.
Net Zero Business Changes
Everyone has a part to play if we want to reduce carbon emissions and reach Net Zero by 2050, but businesses and industries produce the majority of greenhouse gases and must be tackled head-on. It’s crucial for businesses of all sizes to make a Net Zero strategy as soon as possible.
Creating a Net Zero company seems like a daunting task, but The Surefoot Effect can help to optimise your business for Net Zero emissions. Creating an effective Net Zero change plan can be done over 3 to 12 months by your own Net Zero team, working with Surefoot consultants.
Net Zero Strategies
When it comes to creating a Net Zero strategy for your business, there are two steps - quick wins followed by significant changes. Quick wins - also known as low-hanging fruit - are the simple adjustments you can make today to reduce emissions, like switching energy providers.
After the quick wins, it’s time to turn your attention to systemic changes that can make you a carbon-neutral organisation. The Surefoot Effect operates a series of in-house workshops, instilling teams with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to develop a tailored action plan.
What is Eco-Anxiety and Why Does it Matter?
Everyone has some anxiety and stress from time to time; it is usually a pattern in their life, like the fear of getting onto a podium and speaking in front of an audience of peers or completing a sizable chunk of work before the deadline. Eco-anxiety is slightly different; it’s the fear you have on lunch break about what’s happening to the planet, a fear calling everything into question.
Eco-anxiety means a chronic fear of environmental doom according to some definitions; it has also been described as the chronic fear of environmental cataclysm. This existential fear is as real as the climate challenges facing the planet, and it can affect life quality and life choices.
Anxiety is caused by fears about the future; which range from mild to severe; but when faced with climate catastrophe and the idea of an uninhabitable planet, the sense of dread is crippling. People with eco-anxiety might experience some sleep disturbances, nervousness, and stress.
Causes of Eco-Anxiety
Eco-anxiety is caused by observing environmental changes caused by climate change; these include more frequent heat waves, wildfires, droughts, and floods; there are also visible habitat changes for animal and plant life. The changes coincide with increased media and lead to a proliferation of catastrophic images in the collective imagination, causing deep fears.
Eco-anxiety - or solastalgia, is still a fairly recent phenomenon. It does not have a place in medical terminology yet, but psychologists around the world are noticing its effects. When fear and confusion are triggered by news of information about climate change or environmental destruction, you are experiencing eco-anxiety, which requires emotional resilience to manage.
Although solastalgia can be experienced in the short term, it is more likely to be a persistent long-term condition with elements of anxiety and depression - it can also be accompanied by other mental health issues. Solastalgia tends to affect people in different ways. Someone predisposed to the condition will experience more distress when they encounter climate news.
That said, there are some signs and symptoms that everyone with solastalgia will experience. There is likely to be anxiety and depression with accompanying thought patterns; despair, distress, and sleeping issues are also common. People with solastalgia might also experience anger - especially towards governments and industries. Emotional resilience is often needed.
Eco-anxiety doesn’t always require an official diagnosis; someone might be aware of their triggers and choose to practice mindfulness or attend an eco-anxiety workshop, but an official diagnosis can be made. A medical professional will look at the primary cause of the distress - media or climate changes in the local area - along with the medical history and symptoms.
Solastalgia is a form of anxiety and is treated in much the same way. What makes the condition slightly different from conventional anxiety is the lack of agency over the cause - it’s not possible to avoid the effects of climate change. A medical professional can prescribe medications for solastalgia, but it can also be treated with mindfulness, CBT, and online community resilience.
Eco-anxiety, solastalgia, climate anxiety: people of any age can be affected by the stark realities of the global situation. That said, children and young adults are very vulnerable groups when it comes to handling the difficult realities that they will have to confront in their futures.
Emotional resilience is crucial. We must not hide the realities of climate change from people; it is counter-productive. Instead, we need to face the scientific data that shows the planet is in crisis to free up the energy needed to process anxious feelings and create the best possible future.
The Importance of Having Future Conversations
The future starts today because the actions we take on a daily basis determine our future happiness and prosperity. This is true in all walks of life, including creating a sustainable planet for future generations. But if we don’t have the conversations, it will be impossible to adapt.
What are Future Conversations?
Have you ever been on a road trip with family or friends? Unless you have a direction in mind or an idea of where you’re going, you are likely to end up somewhere you didn’t intend; by the time you reach your destination, it might be too late. This analogy is also relevant to climate change.
“Future conversations” is a process of developing and implementing ideas about the future that help individuals and communities to create a roadmap for how they would like to live, relate, and work together in a low or zero-carbon world. The conversations also help bring people together.
Eco-anxiety can be crippling, but it can also be enabling. Future conversations replace future fears with future hopes, building resilience and creating a collective vision that can be pursued proactively. In the end, it is better to have a positive, proactive vision than no road map at all.
Nine Planetary Boundaries
Back in 2007, Johan Rockstrom, a director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, developed the nine planetary boundaries - these are limits that must be met to sustain modern life on the planet. The boundaries include climate change, biosphere integrity, and biochemical flows.
Credit: Azote for Stockholm Resilience Centre, based on analysis in Wang-Erlandsson et al. 2022 More information The “novel entities” planetary boundary encapsulates all toxic and long-lived substances that humans release into the environment — from heavy metals and radioactive waste to industrial chemicals and pesticides, even novel living organisms Biochemical Flows are Phosphorus and Nitrogen - essential for farming Biosphere integrity refers to species loss; e/msy = extinction per mammal species years - technical measurement of extinct rate
In January 2015, Rockstum stated that the planet had moved past four of the nine boundaries needed to maintain stability; as of 2022, it is thought to be six. But Rockstrom’s message is not a doomsday one; the planetary boundary system is an efficient way to gauge how well the world is adapting to a sustainable future. Current performance is poor, but systems exist to improve it.
Resilience and the Future
Bringing the planet back from the brink of disaster and onto a more steady and sustainable footing will require emotional resilience and future conversations. Through decades of inaction and business as usual, the planet has reached a point where the climate is changing very rapidly; species are going extinct, and ecosystems are being lost at increasingly alarming rates.
In order to navigate this perilous course through the 21st Century, governments, businesses, and individuals must recognise the realities of climate change and channel any fearful energy into positive action. Climate action takes place at all levels of society, from governments creating greener infrastructure to businesses using less energy and the everyday changes of individuals.
At one time, people and nature were inseparable, but then agriculture happened for better or for worse, and suddenly, nature was used as a means to an end. Through the centuries, there have been attempts to reconnect with nature - eg, the Romantic movement in the 18th century - but it is needed now more than ever. Connecting with nature and animals again can inspire our future.
When it comes to climate change, our minds ping-pong between positive outcomes and catastrophic consequences. We know that we want a sustainable, thriving planet to live on, but our human habits are not creating this future - it’s the opposite. A dystopian vision can offer a cautionary tale, but a utopian vision is powerful: it is a collective long-term vision for the future.
To continue our analogy, the house fire is upon us. There is black smoke billowing at the top of the staircase, and the walls are becoming hot to the touch, but there is still plenty we can do to save our home. Using the visions, technologies, and creativity of the collective, humans can find a way to collaborate with the planet, reduce consumption, and then build a progressive future.
What are the 5 main effects of climate change?
At present, we can notice at least 5 tangible effects of climate change; these include record temperatures, heatwaves and wildfires, hurricanes and flooding, sea levels and melting ice.
What will happen if climate change keeps going?
If we do nothing to stop climate change, the 5 main effects will worsen and become more extreme. We can also expect there to be food shortages, geopolitical conflict, and displacement.
What does it mean to have a Net Zero planet?
A Net Zero planet is one that is in balance; it means that human-produced carbon emissions are lessened to the point where they can be reabsorbed by the planet through trees, technology, and the ocean. It is not in the atmosphere.
On the global stage, people unite or stand up as individuals with the desire to create a just, sustainable and resilient world. On a societal level, market forces rather than the welfare of planet, people and other living beings are on the agenda and protected by legislation and regulations. The right to extract, process and consume resources - to keep the consumer wheels spinning - seems to run away with us. But people are standing up to demand a world outlined on the principles of nature, not economics.
A long chain of actions is at play. Apolitical has listed the 100 Most Influential People in Climate 2022/23 and there exist diverse groups and organisations such as Artists for Climate, Climate Action 4 Jobs, Families for Climate, Fridays for Future, Grandparents for Climate Action Now and Scientists for Climate.
In historical retrospect, persistent rebellion is a known tool to improve human existence, for example labour conditions and the abolition of slavery. In some parts of the world conditions have bettered, in others they have not, and there are activists whose limbs and lives are lost when fighting for a better world. This also happens when protecting nature. Over 1,700 environmental activists killed in decade, states a BBC article and refers to a report from Global Witness.
A sense of inadequacy and that I should be doing more, like the brave people who take up the fight against giant industries and governments, creeps into my comfortable home in my safe life. I remind myself that there are numerous other things to do. Since we all need to eat, people have tremendous power with the shopping basket. Supermarkets fill their shelves with demands and what they are used to selling. We have the power to change their habits with ours. Steering clear of meat, products with palm oil, and overly processed foods which have been on a long journey. Instead, aiming for plant based, locally, fresh, raw food. We also have power over other types of purchases: thinking hard about our travel choices and our non-food purchases.
With focused attention, as little it might seem, we can support what we wish to see grow out of the crisis. May everyday activism make gentle, insisting waves rippling out as broader efforts towards a caring world.
Text by Gazelle Buchholtz, Surefoot associate
Your Net Zero Plan for Business
The majority of businesses understand the need for carbon reduction and Net Zero efforts. But there is a difference between knowing you have something to do and putting an effective plan in place that will help you reach your targets and future-proof your business. Designing and implementing a Net Zero plan is not straightforward; it requires collaboration and creativity.
Assess Current Emissions
Today, businesses understand that reducing carbon emissions is a high priority, but that doesn’t make the process any simpler or faster. In order for the world to reach the UN's goal of Net Zero by 2050, carbon emissions need to be halved by 2030, so action needs to happen quickly.
While it would be nice for businesses to be able to access a convenient step-by-step guide to decarbonization, the journey to carbon zero is holistic and idiosyncratic. Businesses need to take account of their current carbon emissions, taking care of the low-hanging fruit first before turning their attention to long-term strategies that meet science-backed climate change targets.
Research Official Targets
It is a decisive decade for decarbonizing the planet and securing positive outcomes for the future; that’s why science-based targets are non-negotiable when implementing a carbon-neutral plan. With so much information available, how can businesses make decisions?
There are a number of science-backed climate tools available to help you understand the impact of your business on climate targets, but you can also create a viable assessment of your company with a Net Zero consultation that aims for quick wins followed by substantial changes.
Identify Areas for Change
After deciding to make your business Net Zero, you can make progress fast. Most businesses emit more carbon than necessary on a daily basis, so quick wins are possible. These initial changes include things like energy procurement, employee travel habits, and purchasing items.
Again, the journey to Net Zero for any business is by no means linear; in fact, the journey is more of a holistic effort to identify and address the areas of concern in the company infrastructure. For best results, you should work with a climate professional for 12 months.
Build a Long Term Strategy
In order to meet climate targets of reducing net carbon emissions by 50% by 2050, two things need to happen, huge volumes of carbon need to be extracted from the atmosphere, and reducing emissions from businesses and households. Start building a long-term strategy now.
A long-term Net Zero strategy should be effective in the short term and flexible enough to adapt to changes over time. A long-term strategy is thought to be the best way to meet climate targets; it involves a long-term vision, sustainable development, adaption elements, and sector changes.
Learn More About Net Zero
Implementing a Net Zero strategy is very important, but maintaining standards and relevance over time is equally important. A Net Zero strategy is not a set-and-forget situation, especially since the criteria are now changing annually following the COP Conferences. Stay up-to-date on climate change news and insights at The Surefoot Effect, and contact us to discuss your Net Zero strategy.
Eco-distress - how to respond
Eco-distress is how people feel when they hear bad news about the planet or environment. Often, there is a sense of disempowerment and vulnerability, so what is the best way to respond? Climate distress is fairly new, and new approaches are needed to resolve issues.
Anxiety happens when there is a perceived threat to a person’s life; this is a primitive response that has evolved to protect us from imminent dangers, such as large-toothed animals. But as large-toothed animals don’t exist in the modern world, anxiety may be an overstated response.
However, when it comes to the climate crises, fear is not overstated; in fact, it is a realistic response to an existential turning point. Instead of minimising the situation to resolve anxious feelings, it is better to accept the realities of crisis along with fear. Although it can be challenging to accept these strong emotions, it can help to make us more resilient climate contributors.
Take Climate Action
One of the reasons we feel fearful and vulnerable in the face of the climate crisis is our inability to influence it in any meaningful way. However, once we accept the existential fears of the climate crisis, we can channel this energy into taking action that has some real-world impacts.
Start by optimising your lifestyle so that you reduce as much carbon output as possible; this is called “low-hanging fruit”, and it comes in the form of reducing overseas travel, switching to a no-meat diet, and using less energy and water. You can also join a more sustainable economy.
Find Professional Help
Eco anxiety, climate anxiety, and eco distress are some of the terms used to describe a newly emerging form of mental health issue. Some conventional forms of anxiety treatment can work for eco distress, but it is a slightly more challenging condition to manage and requires an expert.
If you turn on the news or glance at your social media feed, and you are triggered into a state of distress, or you have a panic episode, you probably have eco distress. If you need support for eco-distress, visit the Climate Psychology Alliance, who may be able to help you with strategies.
Find a Community
It is easy to feel alone with your fears; in fact, most people think of their fears as subjective, which is why talking therapies can be so helpful. When it comes to climate distress, however, you can count on there being more people with a similar condition to you instead of fewer.
There’s good news; a climate community is easy to find nowadays, thanks to online platforms and an increase in climate communities. If you want to try a climate community for solidarity and support, look out for Eco-anxiety Peer Support organised and run by The Surefoot Effect.
Spend Time in Nature
One of the reasons we experience eco-distress is that we feel disconnected from the natural world and our ability to influence or manage the situation. One of the best responses is to reconnect with the thing you fear losing; it fosters strength and inspiration for the challenges.
Carbon offsetting is a controversial topic; on the one hand, it seems to offer workable solutions to the climate crisis, allowing people to use their services and reduce carbon emissions; on the other hand, it can be used as a gateway to greenwashing and false advertising. The reality lies somewhere in the middle; carbon offsetting has some merit when coupled with Net Zero efforts.
Key Takeaways: Carbon Offsetting
What is Carbon Offsetting?
Carbon offsetting is a simple concept, CO2 produced by industry, transport, and markets goes into the atmosphere and contributes to the greenhouse effect, but this carbon can be reabsorbed back into the earth with additional trees planted in forests, investments in renewable energy, and supporting people in the Global South to develop sustainable communities. It’s quite a nice idea.
The trouble is carbon offsetting is difficult to measure and often ineffective; at the same time, it makes individuals and businesses feel as though they are doing something to support Net Zero efforts when the opposite could be the case. Research by ProPublica has shown that many of the additional trees planted for carbon offsetting were planned to be planted in forests anyway.
Tree Planting is Inefficient
Many of the world's major carbon-heavy brands, such as Shell, BP, and EasyJet, passionately support carbon offsetting programs in the forests of Brazil. That’s not surprising since carbon offsetting allows them to continue their business-as-usual model sustaining profits by selling products to ethically-minded consumers. Tree planting can reduce carbon, but only a fraction.
The earth’s forests are critical to maintaining the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but planting trees to offset carbon is not the efficient machine the world needs to slash carbon emissions and reach Net Zero targets. A newly-planted tree can take up to twenty years to absorb the amount of carbon promised in the carbon offsetting programs people buy.
Issues With Climate Justice
Climate justice - or climate injustice - is the dynamic between countries with high carbon emissions and countries affected by climate change. Climate justice can take other forms, too; it’s estimated that people born today will have to emit eight times less carbon than their grandparents to stay with the 1.5-degree target. Climate justice is an important consideration.
It is easier, cheaper, and more effective for big-name brands to set up carbon-offsetting programs in the Global South, but this comes at the expense of the local communities who might use the land to serve their own needs. These carbon offsetting initiatives can compromise the rights of indigenous people and depose them of their ancestral land in the worst cases.
Carbon Offsetting and PR
Carbon offsetting is excellent PR; it allows companies to present an ethical front and continue with business as usual. At the same time, carbon offsetting gives consumers peace of mind when transacting with companies since they get a service and make a green contribution. While it’s not completely ineffective, decisive action is needed to reduce carbon emissions directly.
It is now time for companies to move on from carbon offsetting arrangements in favour of carbon-reduction trajectories. The upside is that these efforts are also good for PR in the modern world. Businesses need to define low emissions thresholds and create workable decarbonisation strategies, with continued support for reforesting and rewilding communities.
Alternatives to Carbon Offsetting
When it comes to the climate emergency, every little count, even the small efforts people make on a daily basis to reduce carbon emissions, make a difference. There’s no doubt that carbon offsetting has a part to play, but consumers need to be aware of the dangers and alternatives.
If you are unsure about the green credentials of a company, you can always pursue your own offsetting agenda and source a transparent and responsible company or charity to invest in. In short, it’s always better to reduce personal carbon than to hand responsibility to the big brands.
Some Final Thoughts
Whether you are a business or an individual, you need to think about your carbon footprint and the impact your lifestyle is having. Small changes can make a big difference to your personal carbon emissions on the global journey to Net Zero in 2050. Find out more about how to make your business Net Zero by attending a Net Zero workshop or partnering with a climate mentor.
Eco-anxiety Workshops - the benefits
If you are worried about the climate crisis, you are in the right place. Many people have concerns about what businesses are doing to achieve Net Zero and how they can contribute with personal lifestyle changes. Equally, there is an overpowering sense of anxiety that comes from changes to the natural world. Connect with others at one of Surefoot’s free eco-anxiety workshops.
Discover New InspirationIf you have made it along to an eco-anxiety workshop, chances are you’re feeling stressed and a little bit pessimistic. Don’t worry; not only can the climate pressures be leveraged as fuel for positive action, but you will encounter new inspiration to enhance your wellbeing and lifestyle.
As part of Surefoot’s free eco-anxiety workshops, you will have the chance to listen to daily readings from community members. They take the form of poems, short fiction, and excerpts that help to illuminate how people in the network feel about the climate crisis. New members can contribute.
Learn Resilience StrategiesDo you ever feel overwhelmed by your life and the world, and you don’t have the resources to meet the challenges? You are not alone. This is a common experience for people trying to balance working life, family life, and some of the existential pressures inherent in the crisis.
Attending a free eco-anxiety workshop helps you to develop the skills and strategies needed to navigate a personal crisis, a collective crisis, or both. These strategies include mindfulness training, self-care planning, community resilience, and solidarity sharing personal experiences.
Self Care PlanningA crisis, such as a panic attack, an anxiety attack, a low mood, or something else, can strike at any minute. In relation to the climate and ecological crises, someone might simply read their social media feed and suddenly find themselves triggered into a crisis mode. That’s why self-care planning helps.
Self-care planning is all about becoming more aware of the patterns of your personal crisis and putting the pieces in place to navigate the crisis effectively. A free eco-anxiety workshop can help you to ask the right questions and build a self-care plan that has your back when needed.
Connect With a CommunityOne of the best parts of attending a free eco-anxiety workshop is the chance to connect with a like-minded community and enjoy a sense of solidarity and shared experiences. In the workshop, you will have a chance to talk about your experience of climate anxiety, and you are sure to recognise the experiences of others. It should leave you with a sense of optimism.
How Greenwashing backfires
Around 61% of UK consumers consider themselves conscious consumers, who are either concerned or very concerned about their consumption choices. For this reason, many businesses are “going green”, but how accurate and responsible are the claims? Greenwashing is a problem, but conscious consumers are starting to see the reality, causing it to backfire.
Greenwashing undermines the brand
Making bold claims about green credentials, such as materials and supply chains, might shift a few units in the short term, but when the business is found out, there is a backlash that can seriously damage the brand's image affecting sales and even the future of the business overall.
There is a growing desire amongst consumers to buy sustainable products, so if someone finds out that a product has been mis-sold, they will abandon the brand; not only that, they will leave negative customer reviews online and share the negative customer experience on social media.
Conscious consumers support genuine Net Zero progress
Consumers are more and more ecologically minded, which is good news for the 2050 Net Zero targets; it’s not such good news for businesses and brands who might cringe at the expense of going greener. Still, with nine out of ten consumers on board, it could be worth the investment.
Capitalism primarily values profits which is why businesses are tempted to cut corners with sustainability in a process called greenwashing. But conscious consumers are not blind to this and will quickly abandon a business that claims to be green in the interests of greater profits.
The business spreads misinformation
The effects of greenwashing on a business go beyond the sales figures; it can also lead to legal issues when a false advert is reported to the relevant consumer protection authority. In this case, an investigation will be launched to determine whether the business advert is legitimate.
An investigation like this might lead to positive outcomes; the authority might determine that the business advert conforms to standards and accuracy claims, but that is unlikely to remain in the minds of conscious consumers who only remember the business was strung for greenwashing.
The business can struggle to find investment
When a business greenwashes, it does not only affect itself; it also affects partner businesses and investors. Businesses and investors may not wish to engage with a business that greenwashes attempting to protect its own reputation, so partners and investors can pull out.
Not only can a business lose investment thanks to greenwashing, but it can also struggle to find new partners. Investors and businesses are affected by brand affiliation - in the same way as conscious consumers - meaning a damaged business can find it hard to rebuild its reputation.
Greenwashing isn’t needed - find out why!
The capitalistic mindset values profit over people, but making a business more sustainable is now in the best interests of a business. Due to greenwashing, truly sustainable brands are enjoying better growth making it more sensible to transform business protocol. Find out more about making your business more sustainable, profitable, and protecting it for years to come.
Thinking about growing your own this year? Here's some inspiration.
We all need food. Preferably food which is healthy for both people and the planet. However, lots of our food goes through a long process chain from sprout to packaged product and transport, before reaching the dinner plate. This chain often has a detrimental impact on the planet and the produce. Since not everyone has the space, time and capacity to grow one’s own fruit and vegetables, getting together in locally accessible gardens can lead to eco-friendly crops - and new friendships as a byproduct.
Daily activities and obligations consume a great deal of many people’s lives. Finding space, time and resources to grow fruit and vegetables is not always an (easy) option. But when involved in local gardens with appropriate pace and energy, it is possible to grow green fingers and food with a low carbon footprint.
A local, environmentally friendly approach to production, processing, packaging and transport of food reduces carbon emissions. Furthermore, experiences from John Miller at Braehead Community Garden, and Muriel Whitfield and Chris Steedman at Stirling Allotment Association, also show us that communal benefits and social connections can grow out of sharing the garden work and pleasure.
Braehead Community Garden is a two-acre facility located central in Stirling. The place was established with funding from the Big Lottery Fund. The community garden was established in 2015 and gives local residents an opportunity to rent a ‘micro plot’ for growing fruit and vegetables. There are 88 outdoor beds and 48 indoor ones. Of the outdoor ones, 73 are generally for members, 12 for market garden and 3 given free for community use. With community spirit and social connections at its heart, the community garden also engages people in polytunnels, an apiary, hens, a wetland, workshops, clubhouse and events. The social beds allow local school classes to join the gardening.
John Miller, trustee and treasurer at the community garden, explains the different kind of memberships, “The growing members have access to their own raised bed, and social members can attend garden events. Both groups can join activities at the shared market gardens.”
John adds that the gate is also regularly open for the wider public. For example, there’s an open stall, volunteer days and most Tuesday and Saturday mornings, when there will be someone in the garden to greet visitors who are interested in knowing more about the place.
Social aspects are at play via organised workshops, for example when there have been events about how to prune trees and maintenance of gardening tools, as well as when working together. “Recently, we have gotten a new hen roof for our 15-16 hens. The material was covered via the garden’s fund, but all the work was executed by volunteers,” says John.
Challenges are also faced together. If the collected rain water runs out in the driest of months, John and others bring water to the place. There’s a high demand for water, among other things to prevent tomato and chili plants drying out in the polytunnels.
John explains that community gardens differ from allotments by offering smaller beds for individuals, and have social arrangements and shared spaces at its core. The community garden’s individual plots require less time to maintain but are known for being more expensive in rent than allotments. The raised beds in the community garden come with access to gardening tools and a clubhouse where people meet up to chat and share tips and ideas on gardening. A community garden aims to provide planting areas to people living nearby, without a long waiting list.
John has been involved in the community garden since it opened seven years ago. It is notable that societal changes which were unknown when it was established, may affect access to the spaces. He reflects on their prices for renting individuals plots in the light of the energy crises and concludes, “It’s worrying if the fee puts people off from getting involved. We aim to be as inclusive as possible.”
Even though the garden is able to cover its basic costs from membership and sales of produce, any new developments and maintenance of the infrastructure require funding. For example, solar panels have been installed with grant funding.
As a new initiative, the community garden has engaged a development officer who is reaching out to people. In that way eight people from The Thistles Shopping Centre in Stirling got engaged in the garden over four days. Other groups are involved in regular activities, for example apprentices from Stirling Council spend a few hours per week at the place.
With working groups on different topics there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and learn skills at the community garden, whether it’s tree nursing, taking care of the chickens or take part in the bee hive group. Compost is also a topic and is one of John’s favorites. What got him started was his gardening passion and skills. The development of many friendships was a highly appreciated surprise.
If you are interested in knowing more about Braehead Community Garden check out their Facebook site.
From the Stirling Allotment Association there is a view of the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle. The more than 70 allotments on the banks of the River Forth are located quietly beside the railway and the river. In a poly tunnel sheltered from torrential rain, Muriel Whitfield and Chris Steedman shared their experience on working together on her allotment.
When asked what Muriel likes about having an allotment garden, she answers, “Everything! It can be as simple or as challenging as you want. It was a major lifeline for me during the pandemic. I could come down for the day, bringing a flask and a sandwich and spend time safely outside, still meeting distanced, like-minded people/friends. It is such a healthy hobby both mentally and physically. As everyone knows – fresh air and physical exercise are good for you but also the surrounding countryside, hills and open green spaces lift your mood and improve your mental health. There is such satisfaction in developing and caring for “your space”, deciding which type of plants to grow, watching the growth and - if not very successful, as can happen - researching how to improve year on year. The level of input is your choice.”
Some challenges Muriel identifies in the allotments are – keeping the allotment rabbit free, spells of extreme weather and doing some maintenance jobs on her own. To get around the latter issue, Chris helps out occasionally in Muriel’s plot.
Chris Steedman and Muriel Whitfield in her allotment in the summer time.
The two of them met at the Transition Stirling Tool Library where Chris volunteers and Muriel borrowed tools with Chris’ helpful guidance. Chris has an interest in growing fruit and vegetables but doesn’t have a garden. He heard about a charity-run garden, but it was next to a petrol station and they needed more time than he was able to give. Then Muriel suggested he could come and help in her allotment, when his time allowed, and he could benefit by having a share of the produce in return.
“It actually transpired that Muriel did the growing and I did the woodwork and repairs around the plot. We also worked on some big and unwieldy jobs which would be difficult and frustrating for one person. This is an arrangement which benefits both of us,” Chris clarifies.
This arrangement started in the beginning of 2022, and Chris aims to be going at least every two weeks. After a couple of years on the waiting list in the same association, he recently got a starter plot, but still wishes to help and work with Muriel.
The best outcome of this arrangement, although not surprising - Muriel underlines - is their genuine friendship. Chris applauds, and also mentions the enjoyment of learning about gardening and growing. When walking around the site he chats with people and gets a look into how different people go about maintaining their plots. Tenants often help each other in various ways and share skills, ideas, surplus produce or materials. You get to know people of all ages and backgrounds in your community and are sure to learn something and to find like-minded people.
If interested, contact the allotment committee through www.stirlingallotmentassociation.org. The Allotment Association is a self-governing constituted association and run on a day-to-day basis by an elected voluntary committee. Rentals are paid on an annual basis and depend on the size of the plot.
Allotments have become very popular in recent times but any access to a garden or to some land for ‘growing your own’ is a great idea and as they say, “Local food always tastes better.”
Do you have any stories to share about local or community food growing? Please send an email to email@example.com
Text by Gazelle Buchholtz, Surefoot associate.
Eco-Anxious? Join us for a series of free online workshops to learn and share resilience strategies.
Do you worry about Planet Earth, biodiversity loss and global warming? Are you struggling to take action, or campaign, to mitigate the nature and climate emergency?
Most people who are gripped by fear, sadness, anger, confusion, powerlessness and other strong emotions are vulnerable to episodes of burnout or hopelessness. Strong emotions drive change, and Earth and society are undoubtedly made better by compassionate people doing what they can to act on these issues. But constructive progress can often seem out of reach. At times like these, self care, and connecting with resilient peers, is an effective way to re-empower yourself to continue striving for the just and enlightened society you aim to help bring about.
Meet others who share your concerns to discuss personal resilience and empowerment strategies to help. Simply sign up for one or more of the free group workshops we’ve scheduled between now and 30 March 2022.
Dates for your diary
Monday 16 January 2023
Tuesday 31 January
Thursday 16 February
Tuesday 28 February
Monday 13 March
Thursday 30 March
All workshops are at 7pm - 8.15pm on Zoom. You are very welcome to join us at all, or some, of the sessions listed below. We only ask that you help us to reach out to others if you know anyone who could benefit.
PLEASE BOOK YOUR PLACE VIA OUR EVENTBRITE LINK >>
Some feedback from our 2022 workshops:
“Great to connect with some people who love Earth”
“The planning tool was a useful prompt, even just as a guide to help discussions with other people, or make connections to things I am already doing.”
“The self care planning tool feels like a great way to spark a conversation or share with someone who is struggling.”
“I enjoyed the breakout room as we had a bit longer to talk together. I would be interested in an ongoing group if that becomes possible. I enjoyed reading the readings. The self care planning tool helped me …..”
“Very useful to be exploring this, I feel a bit lighter already.”
“Meaningful connections made through discussing our emotions through the use of creative writings.”
More about Eco Anxious Peer Support
In the meantime, please find out more about Eco Anxious Resilient Peer Support. Read our first 'daily readings' and check out a self care planning tool which are core parts of the project.
Find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspired by the spirit of Glasgow’s 2021 Climate Justice protest and with a £10k grant from The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland - Together for Our Planet programme, EAR Peer Support is funded until March 2023.
The climate crisis is here to stay; it’s the greatest challenge of the 21st Century, and everyone has a part to play, even individuals with climate worries and no climate support. The good news is there are plenty of practical ways to respond to climate concerns. Making small changes in our lives is not only beneficial to our emotional wellbeing and the planet; it can inspire change.
Petition Local Political Leaders
The climate crisis can leave us with a feeling of paralysis, especially when we hear about some countries at the UN Climate Talks stating that the 1.5C target is unrealistic and should be increased - needless to say, low-lying countries like the Maldives disagree. It is not time to abandon these ambitious targets; it is time to step up and make an effort to achieve them.
If this kind of news leaves your stomach feeling knotted, you might be experiencing eco-anxiety. Eco-anxiety is unpleasant, but it’s also an indication of where your passions lay and can be used as a source of motivation. In Scotland, you can attend political party workshops to express opinions or create a petition to be debated in the Scottish Parliament with enough signatures. Joining a local community group is a good way to start.
Attend Eco Anxiety Workshops
Eco-anxiety can be defined as extreme worry about the present and future harm to the environment caused by human activity during the industrial age; it is a kind of extreme fear that is existential in nature and needs to be taken seriously. The good news is that eco-anxiety - sometimes called climate anxiety - can be treated in ways that are empowering and productive.
There is no need to start a course of medication for your climate fear; instead, attend an eco-anxiety workshop, and connect with like-minded people. Eco-anxiety workshops create a space for individuals to explore fears, worries, and grief about the loss of habitats and species; they are also a chance to meet a community of activists and become another agent of change.
Change Energy Consumption Habits
There’s no doubt about it the dangerous levels of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere generated by various industries. In fact, the vast majority of energy use comes from heavy industries, transport, and energy use in buildings, so while individuals are not to blame for the crises directly, we can have a significant influence in the economy by changing our habits.
The economy operates on a system of supply and demand, with capitalistic marketing efforts creating demand where none existed before; however, the economy will adapt to a change in supply, meaning that consumers have agency and power within the system. This is worth keeping in mind when we make everyday choices about how we use energy and transport.
Change your Commuting Patterns
Each year the UK government must report the country’s carbon emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), outlining the Co2 emissions from transport. In recent years there have been promising signs, with estimates suggesting that emissions from 2020 are 22% lower than figures from 1990. But there is room for improvement.
If you are feeling eco-anxious and you want to empower yourself to make a difference, changing your commuting habits is a simple and effective strategy. Although private vehicles are more eco-efficient these days, it helps to reduce carbon in the atmosphere if you use public transport or car share. All of these eco-choices take pressure off the system and help to reduce carbon.
Switch to a Vegan Diet and Lifestyle
Nowadays, it’s generally accepted that a plant-based diet has fewer carbon emissions than one that contains beef and other meats. It’s not hard to see where this idea comes from since raising cattle requires huge amounts of carbon and releases methane into the atmosphere. That said, a vegan diet will still produce carbon emissions but not on the same scale as an omnivorous one.
At one time, a vegan or plant-based diet was a novelty, and those who followed one needed to be deeply connected to their ethics to make it work, but that is no longer the case. Again, the economy has changed to accommodate the demands of consumers; as more people made plant-based choices, more companies started to produce plant-based products reducing carbon.
Some Final Thoughts
Eco-anxiety can make us feel guilty, regretful, and powerless, or it can make us feel empowered and optimistic; either way, it’s important to take action to resolve the inner crises we experience and make a positive contribution to the world. Every practical step you take towards making your life greener helps dissolve the tension of climate fear and inspires the people around you.
Eco-anxiety the warning signs
It can be hard to figure out why we are feeling unwell at times; is it the stress of overworking, financial stress, or the lack of time we have for self-care?
Eco-anxiety can affect us in the same way as Cold War fear in the twentieth century; it is a cultural fear that is realistic and valid.
Feeling worried about the planet's future
Anticipatory anxiety is very common; it's the feeling of worry and stress we experience about a future event, such as a job interview, an encounter with a difficult person, or the outcome of a situation. In some cases, the anxiety motivates us to act; other times, we feel powerless with it.
Eco-anxiety is an extreme form of anticipatory anxiety; it is a future-based fear that exists in the present moment. While concern about the future based on rational analysis is helpful, eco-anxiety is likely to reduce life quality. The best response is present-moment awareness.
Feeling as though you are not doing enough
The human brain has a strong negative bias which can be helpful to some degree, but the negative visualisation must lead to positive outcomes. If you feel as though you are not doing enough for the planet or your carbon footprint is too high, it's time to focus on the positives. Reflecting on what you are doing helps to bring the brain into balance and grows positivity.
Feeling worried about your past choices
One day you are scrolling through your social media newsfeed, and you notice a post about plastic pollution and its devastating environmental impact; as you read it, you feel an overpowering sense of guilt and regret about the single-use plastic you have recently used.
While regret can lead to rumination and more anxiety, it can also be a helpful way for us to change our habits and adapt our lifestyles. Sometimes, regret is the psyche's way of stimulating positive change, so if you feel continually regretful about plastic use, it might be time to switch.
Ruminating on internet newsfeeds
A brain is a problem-solving machine, among other things, and while this is good news for solving the daily Wordle puzzles, it can be unhelpful in the face of climate catastrophe. When the mind is stuck in problem-solving mode, you might start looking for answers obsessively.
If you find that you are scrolling your social media newsfeeds for the latest information on the climate crisis and it is affecting your quality of life, it is a warning sign of eco-anxiety. Notice that you are becoming stuck in a pattern and set some limits on your daily consumption of eco news.
Feeling paralysed by existential dread
Eco-anxiety can be compared to Cold War anxiety in previous generations; it’s a real fear about the future of life on the planet, coupled with a feeling of powerlessness in the face of it. Again, the feeling of paralysis is a warning sign of eco-anxiety, and the best response is to notice the underlying fear and respond with emotional resilience, perhaps by contributing to a collective.
How to respond to eco-anxiety symptoms
Now you have some warning signs to look out for; you need to know what action you can take to alleviate the symptoms. Anxiety is uncomfortable, but it is very common. The good news is that many forms of anxiety can be treated in a variety of ways that don't require any medication.
Discover your personal power to take action
Eco-anxiety is an arresting experience that can make us feel powerless in the face of the challenge presented to us; there is little we can do about the wheels of industry or the decisions made by politicians, and this only serves to fuel the sense of paralysis that is gripping us.
In reality, we have mountains of personal power to discover and express in the world, and even small things can make a huge difference. Find your core values and live them more truthfully, calculate your carbon shadow and make lifestyle changes; you are not the only one doing this.
Learn to build up your emotional resilience
Emotional resilience is someone's ability to handle stressful situations with integrity, so while feelings of anxiety can arise due to the climate crisis, they don’t have to derail everyday life. There is a difference between pain and suffering - see parable of the arrow. This shows there might be little we can do about our pain for the planet, but we have agency over suffering.
Find a climate community and connect with them
There are many ways to find solidarity in the world; one of them is to live our values and thereby connect with others in the world with the same ethics; this is like linking up with a community of engaged people. Another way is to find some people who are dealing with eco-anxiety to connect with.
If you are feeling eco-anxious, you are not alone; there are people all around you with the same concerns, so why not join a local group online through The Surefoot Effect, a local allotment project, or trash collecting? Connecting with like-minded people can improve your wellbeing.
Open up the topic of realistic climate concerns
Fear is a feeling, but it can become a distressing emotional state when it goes unexpressed. Climate anxiety is like this; it develops internally and festers because it does not have an outlet for expression. Talking about climate fears to a friend, therapist, or working on projects with local community members gives expression to the fear and validates the concerns you have when you feel you are listened to.
Practice mindfulness and nature appreciation
Mindfulness can alleviate the suffering caused by climate concerns; it can also help us to create emotional resilience and strength to address the challenges in our personal lives and in the wider world. Mindfulness is very easy to learn and practice; start by noticing the body breathing.
Nature appreciation is also helpful. Whether you travel to a local country park for some forest bathing or simply appreciate the music of bird song in the garden, you are reminding yourself of the joys and pleasures to be found in nature and in being alive. It is this we are trying to protect.
Main Image Credit
Jigsaw Image Credit
Eco anxiety and your business
Eco anxiety is starting to affect business productivity and consumer habits meaning that companies that don’t address the rising issues will be less productive and less competitive moving into the second half of the 21st century. If you’re unconvinced, read on; this article covers 5 ways eco anxiety is affecting businesses across the board, and what can be done.
Some businesses are more aware of climate change than others due to consumer demands or internal climate change remits, but the clock is ticking and it is only a matter of time before businesses everywhere notice the increasing pressure to take action and protect their futures.
Eco anxiety is not as well understood as social anxiety or general anxiety, but it is just as important and can affect the productivity of the business. Eco anxiety increases with awareness and affects the motivation of employees, so it is something to look out for in your workforce.
In recent years there has been a shift towards more compassionate workplaces as businesses recognise the productivity gains that can be made from looking after employees in the right ways. In the past, the issues were pain from long periods of sitting, but now it is mental health.
Looking after employees mental health is not only the right thing to do, it is also the best way to ensure your business stays productive and profitable. As the issues around climate change become more prescient, business owners can expect lower productivity due to eco-anxiety.
Young people aware of the climate crises and worried about the future are changing their lifestyles, habits, and expectations in line with current beliefs and attitudes. In some cases, people will even avoid starting families because of a bleak world view and lack of life meaning.
Such extreme world views are becoming more common in a workforce that should be motivated to find solutions to the present-day climate challenges. When businesses make efforts to support climate initiatives, it makes workplaces more meaningful and reduces climate anxiety.
Eco anxiety can affect a business internally, but it can also affect it externally. As the effects of climate change become more visible in the natural world and the conversations become more frequent and prescient, consumers are thinking seriously about the effects of their buying habits.
Again, this is a result of eco anxiety. It might seem as though there is little a business can do to alleviate the effects of eco anxiety in their customer base, but that is also incorrect. In fact, internal changes to the structure of the business and supply chains affect consumer mindsets.
Businesses that don’t take action on climate change today could be setting themselves up for a difficult time in the near future. Net Zero efforts are to be stepped up in the next few years making non-compliant businesses less competitive; not only that, consumer mindsets are changing with more support for businesses that address eco anxiety internally and externally.
Energy efficiency in community spaces
As well as businesses and private properties, churches, community centres and schools need to be part of the climate change solution and journey towards a Net Zero world. The UK has 300,000 public buildings that contribute 3% of carbon emissions to the atmosphere, but reducing this can be a challenge because of the way traditional buildings have been designed.
Community spaces include community centres, libraries, parks, community gardens, and more. While there is no need to worry about thermal comfort in a community garden - at least not the kind that requires carbon emissions - it is a concern for indoor community spaces of all kinds.
Public sector bodies as well as businesses need to quickly embrace Net Zero targets since 3% of the UK's carbon emissions come from its 300,000 properties. But balancing thermal comfort with Net Zero can be tricky as old buildings are not energy efficient, nor is their general usage.
Of course, community spaces are crucial to the wellbeing of society, they create a place where local people can connect, communicate, plan, and resource themselves for the present and the future; but often, these spaces have inefficient energy usage for their infrequent gatherings.
It’s important that community members are comfortable during meetings and gatherings so the buildings need to sustain their heat and lights for longer than is strictly necessary; so focusing on decarbonising community spaces is a key feature of Net Zero efforts in the UK and beyond.
Net Zero Efforts
In order to reach Net Zero by 2050, global carbon emissions and greenhouse gases need to be reduced by 45%. If the greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by 45% in this time frame global temperatures will remain at 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels societies in the late 1800s.
Achieving this goal will help the planet and its citizens to avoid the worst effects of climate change, but it won’t be easy. In order to reduce emissions by this substantial margin, the world of commerce, public bodies, and individual people need to unite and support Net Zero efforts.
One of the fundamentals of Net Zero efforts is energy efficiency. Every time someone switches on the heating in a home, office, or public building they are using energy in the form of heat or electricity that requires carbon to produce. It’s important that we use this energy economically.
Community spaces are an indispensable part of local societies, but they also need to contribute to Net Zero efforts and the drive towards the UN’s 2050 target. The good news is, there are several ways that community spaces can do more to reduce emissions and save on energy.
Traditional buildings like churches, community centres, and schools can be hard to move to Net Zero because of their designs; that said, partnering with The Surefoot Effect and HeatHack is a practical way forward. The Surefoot Effect and HeatHack are offering a program to community operators to help them create energy efficiency practices and thermal comfort in their buildings.
Future-proof your business sustainably
What does future-proof mean? That is a question on the minds of business owners everywhere when faced with the looming spectre of climate change and the need to create more resilience going forward. Future-proof means your business is aligned with Net Zero protocol, supports the mental wellbeing of employees, and has the right strategies in place to handle systemic shocks.
Net Zero Strategy
Governments around the world are starting to put pressure on businesses to create a Net Zero strategy that supports global efforts to curb the worst effects of climate change. The last few decades have had more natural disasters globally and record-breaking temperatures in the UK.
Creating Net Zero carbon emissions for your business isn’t straightforward; a holistic approach is needed to create a balance of Net Zero carbon that doesn’t affect your productivity or bottom line. Find out about these strategies at Net Zero week or get involved in Net Zero for Teams.
Mental Health Support
Health and wellbeing have always been important factors in business productivity and employee morale. In the past, much attention was paid to the physical condition of workers, the lower back and neck can become strained and lead to productivity losses, but there is more to think about.
Mental health issues, such as eco-anxiety, are causing productivity and morale issues in the workforce, especially in companies that have a remit for climate change protocol. Future-proof your business by making sure your workforce has the mental health support they need at work.
Future Proof Training
If the global pandemic has taught us anything - and it taught us quite a lot - it’s that no business is immune to unexpected shocks. Coupled with the uncertainties caused by climate change and geopolitical events, there is a clear need to protect businesses using some future-proof training.
Future-proof your business by retaining more customers, creating a Net Zero strategy that works, making your workforce more resilient by addressing eco-anxiety and other mental health concerns, and by adopting future-proof technology such as remote working conditions and cloud-based networks. Of course, there is always more to learn, but these give you foundations.
Remote Working Jobs
The global pandemic accelerated conventional business processes by around five years, according to analysts. It was expected that most businesses would switch to remote working or hybrid environments in the next five years, but these systems are now in full operation.
Remote working jobs for employees help to future-proof the business because it reduces the need for office infrastructure and creates a flexible working environment that can sustain shocks more easily. Adopting a cloud-based network is also an effective way to future-proof a company.
Paper Free Office
Going paper-free in your business or organization is another way to future-proof your business. It might sound surprising, but adopting digital formats instead of using conventional documents supports Net Zero carbon and improves your bottom line. Not only that, a paper-free office means you have easy access to important data from a range of locations whenever you need it.
The Wellbeing Economy - 5 Key Elements
The Wellbeing Economy is a movement for transforming the existing economic systems to support the wellbeing of people and planet, instead of wealth creation and environmental depredation. This theory of change can also be a powerful driving force towards Net Zero success. Find out more about the elements of the Wellbeing Economy and why it matters.
Until recently, the world used a linear economy predominantly, which is a system of production and waste. In the linear economy, raw materials and collected and turned into products that are sold through supply chains to consumers. When they are used, they move to landfills as waste.
The linear economy is wasteful and carbon-heavy; it is not in line with people and planet and does not support Net Zero efforts. Although it is not perfect, the circular economy is more sustainable. A circular economy values sharing, reusing, recycling, and reducing consumption.
In order to reach the UN's target of Net Zero by 2050, individuals, businesses, and public organisations have a part to play; at the same time, the Wellbeing Economy needs to maintain dignity and ensure that everyone has enough resources to exist comfortably on the planet.
When it comes to energy efficiency, it's the responsibility of governments to ensure that renewable energy and other Net Zero technologies are funded and accessible to the general public; that said, individuals and businesses can support Net Zero efforts with internal choices.
Eco anxiety is a fear about the future of the planet based on what we now know about climate change and the effects of carbon in the atmosphere. Eco anxiety can affect anyone, but it's more likely to affect people with more knowledge of the climate crises and the realities facing us.
While eco-anxiety sounds adverse, it can also be used as motivation to support Net Zero efforts, sustainability, and the Wellbeing Economy. Eco-anxiety can be challenging to manage and affects productivity; that's why businesses and organisations can benefit from peer support.
Food is a necessary part of the economy, but the ways it is produced, distributed, and consumed have an impact on people and the planet. Large-scale food production accounts for one-quarter of greenhouse gas emissions globally, including distribution and refrigeration.
Again, creating a more sustainable food system requires structural changes like sustainable farming practices, food waste reduction, and animal welfare, but individuals have a part to play in the choices they make when they visit supermarkets to support more ethical food production.
While eco-anxiety is part of mental health in the Wellbeing Economy, it is not the only factor. Society has unfolded in ways that support consumerism and wealth accumulation, not physical, emotional, and mental wellness. The Wellbeing Economy is about changing these dynamics.
Putting the welfare of people and animals at the heart of society is the best way to adjust priorities and create a fairer, more sustainable world. When people are valued over wealth, it changes society's mechanics, improves mental health and harmonises the people and planet.
Eco Anxiety - what it is and why it matters
Have you experienced feelings of worry and fear about the future of the planet? This is called eco-anxiety, and it's becoming more common. Eco-anxiety is a newly coined term, but it is relevant to the experience of individuals and organisations in the modern world. Find out more about eco-anxiety and why it matters at The Surefoot Effect, along with our net zero offering.
Anxiety affects everyone to some degree; some have occasional worries and fears, while others suffer from chronic and debilitating conditions. Medical professionals have separated these anxious feelings into categories that include general anxiety, panic disorders, OCD, and others.
But we don't have to have a disorder to suffer from anxious feelings from time to time; in fact, most people experience some worry, stress, or fear, on a daily basis. Thanks to our biological evolution, our brains are encoded to search for life-threatening dangers, even in a home office.
If you're feeling anxious and don't know why it could be due to the condition of the world at the moment and your fears about the future of society and the wellbeing of future generations; this is considered a form of eco-anxiety according to the American Psychology Association (APA).
As with all anxiety, it affects different people in different ways, but it's clear that people with eco-anxiety have a greater awareness of the climate challenges faced by the planet and a realistic view of where we stand. As with other types of anxiety, it can range from mild to severe.
Climate change is the biggest challenge of our generation, thanks to a legacy of inattention and profiteering in previous decades. Today, it is hard to find anyone unaware of the impact of climate change in local communities and on a global scale. That's why eco-anxiety is growing.
The more information and awareness a person has about the effects of climate change, the more likely they are to experience the symptoms of eco-anxiety; these include stress, sleep disturbances, nervousness, and in severe cases, it can lead to depression and hopelessness.
Eco-anxiety is an existential condition arising from reflection on recent political changes, environmental challenges, and general attitudes in society; it can lead to despair about people’s lives and future. Employees might start to question the usefulness of their roles in the company.
Employees affected by this kind of anxiety can be less motivated and less committed. On the other hand, if a company is committed to climate action in the form of net zero practices like green supply chains, the opposite is the case. Eco-conscious employees respond to the call.
Have you experienced eco-anxiety, or does it affect the quality of work in your business? It's easy to access support for eco-anxiety through The Surefoot Effect, which offers workshops and a peer support service to individuals and companies. We can only serve the planet if we have the strength, resilience, and motivation to make a difference in workplaces and communities.
COP 27 and the Journey to Net Zero
Does your business have a Net Zero strategy yet? If not, it’s only a matter of time before you have to think seriously about implementing one. The UN has stepped up its efforts to meet global targets and small businesses have a big part to play. Becoming part of the solution not part of the problem improves brand recognition, revenue expectations, and future resilience.
Net Zero Targets
Net Zero - the point at which the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted across industries and other greenhouse gases (GHG) - is the same as the emissions captured by the planet and various technologies. The UN hopes to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C by 2050.
In 2015, The Paris Agreement was signed by 193 countries that committed to the UN's target, in 2021 the same parties agreed to step up efforts and meet every year instead of every five. Data shows a downward trend, but we are still on track for 2.5 degrees C by the end of the century.
Climate Change Conference
Cop 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt built on some of the commitments and ideas discussed a year earlier in Glasgow. It is the largest gathering of political leaders, climate activists, and business CEOs in the world, and it’s important for all businesses to take action.
Some of the critical issues covered in the climate conference include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience in business communities, adapting to the impacts of climate change, and finding finance to fund climate action. It’s clear more action is needed for results.
More Action Needed
Digging into numbers is useful for official figures but it doesn’t help businesses at a grassroots level, how can ordinary businesses implement the right changes and measure them to be sure they are on track? First, they need to commit to creating a progressive Net Zero strategy.
Implementing a Net Zero strategy is not always straightforward, much of the success depends on understanding the nature of the business and what is needed to achieve Net Zero results. To achieve Net Zero status a business must have emissions reductions of 95% and offset the rest.
Research shows that while 50% of UK businesses are aware of the government's Net Zero targets 76% of them have yet to implement a Net Zero strategy. It’s concerning because 50% of UK emissions are generated by small businesses. So what is their motivation to meet Net Zero?
Apart from the obvious planetary consequences of “business as usual” there is also a commercial gain. In a changing marketplace where consumers value ethical products and green supply chains, businesses can improve their reputation, reduce costs, and create resilience.
Net Zero for Teams
Implementing a Net Zero strategy is not as simple as it sounds, it requires transforming the internal workings of the business to align with government standards. Net Zero for Teams is a program that can help your business implement solutions to achieve Net Zero in the short term; this makes your business more sustainable, resilient and helps to improve your bottom line.
‘Carbon credits’, ‘carbon trading’, ‘cap and trade’, ‘carbon neutrality’ and ‘carbon offsetting’. The technical, complicated and distant words might have been created with noble intentions when put into plans at government and corporate levels. But one might question if the various terms come down to finding ways to keep emitting carbon and other greenhouse gases even though the ‘environmental waste bin’ is overflowing. How to find effective approaches to tackle climate change in a jungle of abstract measurements?
Have you ever been offered to carbon offset when travelling or when buying things? Be aware that many of these can’t equal out the polluting effect. We have to view it from a planet view, the ecosystem we all are a part of, not through economic regulations.
“We cannot offset our way out of climate change,” states John Oliver in his satirical program Carbon Offsets. Behind the light-hearted, sarcastic approach the British-American comedian, writer, and political commentator has a serious message: Corporates can’t keep polluting with greenhouse gas emissions under the concept of offsetting. The expression ‘carbon offsetting’ is not only integrated into the corporate world, but we are now getting offers to join in on an individual level. But there’s simply not enough room on the planet for planting ‘good deeds’ like trees, elsewhere on the planet, to compensate for the way we live. The offset system puts profits over the natural world and its dynamics and functions. The equation does not add up, we have to focus on reducing greenhouse gasses.
Planetary or economic rules?
We have lived on borrowed time for a while, based on the rules of free-market economics and consumption. But how much more deforestation and climate change stoking can we do with one hand, while offsetting with the other hand via schemes often not as efficient as claimed?
As Greenpeace writes in the article ‘The biggest problem with carbon offsetting is that it doesn’t really work’ that to be serious about tackling climate change, carbon emissions need to be stopped from getting into the atmosphere in the first place. As they say, “A newly-planted tree can take as many as 20 years to capture the amount of CO2 that a carbon-offset scheme promises. We would have to plant and protect a massive number of trees for decades to offset even a fraction of global emissions. Even then, there is always the risk that these efforts will be wiped out by droughts, wildfires, tree diseases and deforestation.”
It doesn’t help that the system isn’t transparent and standardised, “… there is no standardised way to trade carbon credits and no way to verify the compensating activity behind them,” as the article ‘What’s wrong with carbon offsetting?’ in The Week points out.
Developed countries’ exploitation of lesser developed countries’ natural resources have been known about for some time. The 2014 article ‘The carbon World Bank and UN carbon offset scheme 'complicit' in genocidal land grabs – NGOs’ states that, “Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 500 million acres of land in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean was acquired or negotiated under deals brokered on behalf of foreign governments or transnational corporations.”
The article points out flaws in the UN's Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme, including ‘financing REDD+ readiness activities.’ In this programme, companies in the developed world purchase carbon credits to invest in reducing emissions from forested lands. This is viewed as carbon emissions’ reductions. ”In practice, however, REDD schemes largely allow those companies to accelerate pollution [via their own industry] while purchasing land and resources in the developing world at bargain prices.” These schemes also reduce indigenous peoples’ access and rights to their forests.
Furthermore, the goal of carbon offsetting isn’t functional in practice. According to the article ‘Cop26’s worst outcome would be giving the green light to carbon offsetting’,“… offsetting doesn’t stop carbon entering the atmosphere and warming our world, it just keeps it off the ledgers of the governments and companies responsible. According to the Institute for Applied Ecology, about eight out of 10 offsetting projects rich countries relied on to meet their climate targets under the Kyoto protocol were deemed unlikely to have delivered any climate benefit. Offsetting has been tried and it has failed – to pursue this as a solution now is nothing more than greenwashing and would blow a huge hole in the Paris agreement.”
Economic aspects are often given attention in the media and on political agendas. We wish to bring focus on balancing the way humans live with the rest of the natural world, which supports us in so many ways. This could be the interwoven connectedness which is explored in deep ecology, an environmental movement regarding human life as one of many equal components of a global ecosystem. It’s not just a philosophical approach, but it’s the physical world and its laws we live with. A Global Footprint Report from WWF-UK and 3Keel’s concludes, “… the UK must reduce its global footprint by three quarters by 2030 to meet planetary limits.”
In the article ‘Carbon offsetting is not warding off environmental collapse – it’s accelerating it’, the Natural Climate Solution Campaign is mentioned as a tool to draw attention to the need of revival of ecosystems in a time of climate breakdown.
Focus on reducing emissions where you are
Even though it might feel out of our hands as citizens when the frame for climate change actions needs to be set on a societal level, we can still contribute. Being critical, choosing your products and lifestyle carefully and writing your elected representatives, encouraging action, are some of the things we can each do. In Scotland the majority of people acknowledge that climate change is related to human activities, but is that always taken into account when voting? When looking into election material, the standpoint of politicians on the matter is not always clear. Could it be that MSPs and MPs need a reminder from us on why climate change is important for us and our vote?
Not only do we vote at elections. What we put in the shopping cart, our means of transportation and where we go on holiday are also choices which influence market forces, and they are directly linked to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
Net Zero is another term often used on a societal level. It’s “…a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere.” (https://netzeroclimate.org/what-is-net-zero/)
The Scottish Government has a goal of reaching Net Zero on a national level by 2045. There are governmental supported initiatives such as funding opportunities, but how to get to Net Zero can still seem unclear. It’s a path not yet rolled out but still in the making as we go forward.
At Surefoot, when we work toward Net Zero with organisations, the focus is on how to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions and to build resilience to thrive at the same time. Read more about Net Zero with Surefoot, or please get in touch if you want to hear more.
Please contact us, if you have a story to share about dealing with reducing greenhouse gas emissions in your community and how you strengthen your ability for resilience. On Insights we share opportunities and examples, to inspire and motivate each other in climate friendly activities. Write to email@example.com if you have story to share.
Text by Gazelle Buchholtz, Surefoot associate.
Sustainability Heritage Health
The European project Sustainability, Heritage, Health, or SHH for short continues with partners in Greece, Lithuania, and Spain.
Partners have already finished compiling 10 recipes from each participating country to focus on ingredients with a lower environmental impact, those which are locally produced, plant-based, and organically grown, but also that have a connection with their country's cuisine and can be considered heritage recipes.
The team will be meeting in Cantabria, the north of Spain near the cities of Santander and Bilbao to train at the Spanish project partners' premises, AbrazoHouse. Participants will put into practice some of the recipes of the book and the connections of the food we eat to energy, and resource consumption, and biodiversity protection, both locally and globally.
The team will also have the chance to learn about the passive house building where the AbrazoHouse is based, the use of recycled materials for building and will also visit the famous natural protected area the Santoña marshes.
Surefoot's Sustainability Heritage Health Project page gives you more background.
Breakthrough for resilience
The European project "Breakthrough for Resilience: People, Places, and Communities" came to an end in August after 3 exciting years with our partners in Greece, Italy, and Sweden.
The partners met in Stirling for the last time. They had the chance to have a short taste of Scotland and know the work of The Surefoot Effect, the coordinator in this Erasmus+ project. In these 3 years, the project has researched 90 resilience tools and has delivered 12 workshops, 3 in each partner country for individual resilience, community resilience, and place resilience, and nature conservancy.
You can access all these materials at the project platform: www.resilienceproject.eu
For testimonies and experiences of participants of our workshops and interviews with key resilience speakers, please see the videos that the project team has created.
Also Surefoot's Breakthrough for Resilience Project page gives you more background.
If you live in the UK and want to visit a rainforest, you don’t have to catch a flight to find one. Scotland is home to its own Atlantic rainforest.
“The west of Scotland is home to one of the most important remaining rainforest sites in Europe, with its rich diversity of species making it internationally important.” Rainforest action, Scottish Government.
Last year, the Scottish Government decided to support the restoration and expansion of the rainforest and is engaging with the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforests.
Like most natural habitats these forests are also in need of protection. Nitrogen pollution, exotic conifer plantation and other factors put pressure on the habitat including its plants and animals. Facing a climate emergency, the government also acknowledges the importance of forest and woodland capabilities to absorb more than 6 million tonnes of CO2 every year. This is equivalent to almost 10% of Scotland’s gross greenhouse gas emissions, states the Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan in the Scottish Governments Rainforest Action. Furthermore, Mairi McAllan says: “As world leaders commit to end deforestation by 2030, we are planting 80% of the UK’s trees and making bold commitments like this to protect and enhance Scotland’s own temperate rainforest.
“Our ambitions do not stop there. We have increased our new woodland creation targets from 12,000 hectares a year to 18,000 hectares by 2024/5. By then, we will be planting 36 million new trees every year in Scotland.”
Every action counts - also outside the rainforest
At Surefoot we welcome the initiative and are looking forward to seeing the outcome of the plans. There’s certainly a need to support the natural world, high biodiversity and areas with tree cover to prevent temperatures rising - in short to take care of the living beings and resources we have on the planet.
In other areas - including in our daily life - there are several ways to reduce CO2 emissions and aim for Net Zero. If you would like to know how your organisation can reach Net Zero, check out Surefoot’s Net Zero for Teams or get in touch with us.
Scottish Renewable’s Energy consumption by sector points to building heating as the highest energy consumption in Scotland which causes a large amount of CO2 emissions, so improved energy efficiency in buildings is critical. If you are involved in a community building, you can apply for free help from HeatHack and Surefoot. Read more here: Energy Efficiency in Community Buildings.
When we reuse, repair, recycle and rethink ways of handling our personal resources, we are also supporting the Planet’s capacity, natural habitats and resources. We recently ran a workshop in partnership with Transition Stirling to show how being creative (in this case with reuse) can build both individual and community resilience. For more about building resilience for your community, please see our Resilience workshops which have been informed by both our recent Erasmus+ Breakthrough for Resilience Project and National Lottery funding for a previous project.
Text and photo by Gazelle Buchholtz, Surefoot associate.
Creativity = resilience
SAT 20 AUG, 11am-4pm
Drop-in to the Transition Stirling ReUse Hub and learn about how being creative helps build resilience in free crafting sessions.
Surefoot's Erasmus + 3 year adult education project, Breakthrough for Resilience, has helped us learn a lot about building resilience. One of the themes that became very obvious was that working creatively, individually or in groups, is key to our well-being and therefore key to building our resilience as individuals and communities.
So what better place to hold our final event than the Transition Stirling ReUse Hub where community comes together to reuse creatively?
During the day, there will be several makers on hand to help you explore a craft technique using materials that would otherwise have been discarded. And, we will be sharing the insights gained on this project about building individual, community and place-based resilience.
So please drop in to find out more and to reuse creatively, building both your resilience and that of the community. Register here to help us gauge numbers and have enough refreshments.
Find out more and book your place >>
Here’s a collection of some of our articles which have been in our newsletters or published elsewhere.
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The Surefoot Effect equips people, communities and organisations with skills for sustainability and resilience.