Over the years it has become common knowledge that green areas improve the quality of life. As the POSTnote Green Space and Health from Houses of Parliament states, “Areas with more accessible green space are associated with better mental and physical health.”
At Surefoot, we support communities and individuals to let their connection with the rest of nature take root and strengthen via creative approaches. The physical natural spaces can have many shapes and features, there’s no right and wrong whether you connect to the wilderness or a potted plant in a windowsill. Wherever you are, we hope you find comfort in our supportive materials to open up your personal ways of connecting with nature, others and yourself.
Texts, photos and paintings focusing on appreciating local nature are on display in the outdoors at Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve until the end of September 2023.
Finding your words – to support yourself, others and the Earth
During the summer we ran a couple of online writing workshops ‘Writing for EARth.’ The workshops were supporting elements of Surefoot’s Eco Anxious Resilient (EAR) Peer Support project, to encourage people to write a text for the series A Daily Reading for Earth. We hope you’ll enjoy the series of short texts to inspire and help you take one day at a time in the climate and natural crises.
The workshops illustrated the wonder and strength that arises when people come together to explore free range emotions, create meaning on paper and share fragments of their inner world when caring for the outer world. Comments from a couple of the participants:
“I'm taking with me the strength and beauty of what others have shared with me to make me braver and feel less alone when I do.”
“I appreciated the sense of connection and sharing, which was uplifting and inspiring.”
Your stories about caring for Planet Earth could also help tackle the nature and climate emergencies. Authentic communication and creativity are among the most important tools we all have.
“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.” – Jimmy Neil Smith.
If you would like to write a text (max. 380 words) for our collection Daily Reading for Earth on how to keep well in an age of climate and nature emergencies, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We plan to run more Writing for EARth workshops, so please keep an eye on our social media or let us know if you might be interested in attending: email@example.com
Sharing is caring
Inspired by feedback on our creative activities and on initiatives in our surroundings, we encourage you to take part in creative actions centred around nature. One way of capturing moments, thoughts and feelings in nature is via photos, and at Surefoot we’ll be happy to receive your photo(s) with a few lines about what each snapshot of places mean to you – how these nature elements affect you. We are convinced that such experiences can support others and give them a chance to feel connected whether it is to other people, places or resonate with oneself.
Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share them on our social media platforms, credited to you, or anonymously if you prefer.
You might find other communities around you where you can benefit from art work about nature, and/or where you can contribute yourself. Gazelle, associate at Surefoot, created a piece ‘Sand dune walk’ to the Morton Lochs outdoor art exhibition at Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve, organised by NatureScot. Where do you find places to let your creativity unfold and share this with others?
The contribution to the exhibition by Gazelle Buchholtz. Photo: Chris Steedman.
With Future Conversations workshops individuals and communities develop resilience to face current and future challenges in the society, to not only bounce back from adversity, but to grow stronger.
Our Future Conversations workshops support the development of robust, flexible and healthy communities. With techniques and tools, participants learn to develop resilience and a sense of being strong and secure, equipping them to plan and act on sustainable solutions for now and for the future.
The first step at the Future Conversations workshops is for participants to share their hopes and fears for the future. Our role as facilitators from Surefoot, is to guide participants through inclusive ways to make group decisions and how to plan projects. Together with the participants we make a plan for the community. The goal is to move to a viable future where humans and nature are in balance. This method is also used when we support commercial organisations via our programme Net Zero for Teams.
A central element in our sessions, is to bring people together and give them enough time and space to understand facts, urgency and importantly to build their resilience. We enjoy helping people and their communities to move into a beneficial future using our techniques, tried and tested over our 10+ year history.
Future Conversations sessions include
Online sessions are also a possibility:
Format: a programme in 6 sessions of 1.5 hrs using zoom calls, with a recommend group size of 10-20 people
Taster: a 1.5 hour online or face-to-face workshop to give a flavour of the full programme, and enable people to decide if they wish to commit to Future Conversations.
Even if this taster doesn't lead to a full set of Future Conversations, it helps people begin thinking about planning for the future, and the benefits of cultivating individual and community resilience.
Would you like to know more about Future Conversations? Please get in touch with us at Surefoot, email@example.com
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
APPLY NOW! Do you want to improve energy efficiency, thermal comfort AND move to net zero in your community space?
HeatHack and The Surefoot Effect are offering a programme for community groups to help plan for the futures of their churches, halls and community centres.
Tackling heat loss and energy efficiency in community buildings, Surefoot working in collaboration with HeatHack is delighted to announce confirmation of an Ingenious Public Engagement Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering.
For this project, a small team of people from across Surefoot and HeatHack will be working together to deliver a programme to help UK-based churches and community buildings to understand what a net zero future means for their premises. It will help them not just understand energy efficiency and thermal comfort in difficult buildings, but also to think about how their buildings should be used in their local contexts and how to make this change happen.
Groups will emerge from the process with a shared vision, the knowledge and confidence to work well with architects, heating engineers and other professionals, and the evidence of community need that grant funders require.
We are recruiting community groups and volunteer engineers NOW for sessions starting September – December 2022.
Find out more and apply >>
More about the programme
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a conversation about how you can get involved, if you would like to participate either by forming a group or as an assisting engineer.
The project is funded by Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious programme.
As part of tackling climate change Scotland has set a goal of becoming Net Zero by 2045. Net Zero can sound technical and seem an abstract goal. We will reach Net Zero when the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we put into the atmosphere are equal to the amount we take out of the atmosphere. In short, aiming for Net Zero is about engaging in climate friendly activities - which often are not only healthy for people and planet, but also for the economy, for example when saving energy in your organisation. Our programme Net Zero for Teams will support your journey towards Net Zero.
Net Zero for Teams in your organisation
Starting or accelerating your transition to a carbon neutral business may seem daunting. What does operating as a Net Zero business look like for your organisation? Rest assured, with Surefoot’s Net Zero for Teams, your decision-making and transition will be quicker, smoother and more straightforward than you think. As with all successful strategies for change, it starts with you and your team using your expertise to decide what is right for your organisation.
How it works
Surefoot’s Net Zero for Teams workshops are a mix of information sharing, identifying areas for change and an exploration of possible solutions. In between the workshops, Surefoot supports your team to help finalise the actions needed to achieve their chosen objectives. See more here.
Please contact us if you would like to know more.
Our first workshops of the year is about fostering resilience for a flourishing life, community, and the places where we live and enjoy.
You might already have experienced our resilience building workshops during 2021. Whether you have already participated or not, you are most welcome to join the next pair of workshops in February. The workshops are free but please sign up via Eventbrite:
Anchoring Communities and Organisations in Resilience in February.
At the workshop we will work with resilience tools as:
- Compass of Resilience
- Time Banking
- Community Land Trust
The workshops are part of the project Breakthrough for Resilience: People, Places and Communities.
To build a better future we need to build a better present! These are wise words, but how can we make a better “present” without having the right conversations?
Image credit: www.unsplash.com
Are you talking about climate change in your business? Perhaps it’s been kicked down the agenda in favour of growth strategies or commercial processes; if so, it’s time to re-think your priorities. The effects of climate change are becoming more obvious every year and it’s affecting local and global communities. People, nations, and businesses must adapt to survive.
What is Net Zero and why do we need it?
We are living in the Anthropocene, an epoch of earth characterised by the dominance of humans on the planet. Humans have impacted the planet significantly, changing the landscapes dramatically and increasing the presence of poisonous gases in the atmosphere.
Human existence is only possible because the earth absorbed these poisonous gases and trapped them underground making photosynthesis possible and therefore oxygen. Today, industrial activity is releasing these gases into the air. Find out more with Carbon Conversations.
How can I make my business sustainable?
At one time (not too long ago) commerce was all about growth, but that was before the realities of climate change started to take effect. Now businesses and customers realise the importance of long term strategies that limit carbon output to Net Zero while maintaining productivity.
Commercial sustainability is the path to Net Zero and a carbon-neutral planet - that is a planet that does not produce more carbon than it can absorb. Every person and business has a part to play but it isn’t always straightforward. Learn how to meet Net Zero targets at The Surefoot Effect.
How can we overcome eco-anxiety?
Eco anxiety refers to the feeling of fear we get concerning environmental destruction and our societies of the future. Eco anxiety can affect people on a personal level, but it can also affect companies - how is it possible to plan for the future when it is so uncertain and perilous?
There’s good news! Although eco-anxiety can make us feel powerless, one of the best ways to cope is to take positive action. Understanding the theory behind eco-anxiety and teaching practices to alleviate this is what The Surefoot Effect does best - see their Resilience Workshops.
What is a company’s “climate shadow”?
Much is made for our carbon footprints nowadays, everyone is encouraged to calculate how much carbon they use in their daily lives and to make changes to reduce that number; while this practice is admirable on a personal level it is somewhat misleading and doesn’t go far enough.
The carbon footprint was thought up by major oil companies and directs attention away from the real problem. The “climate shadow” is a more useful idea, it reclaims the language of climate change and offers a more holistic measure of carbon consumption for people and companies.
The Surefoot Effect
The Surefoot Effect works with communities and businesses on a range of climate change issues. Through workshops, courses, mentoring, and team engagement, you can learn how to equip your business to meet the challenges of climate change. The challenges are both psychological and practical, but they require the right conversations to build a better future.
By James Bollen
James Bollen is a digital writer and content creator. He writes articles and blogs in a wide range of niches including business and technology but has a particular interest in conscious living practices, nature appreciation, and creative pursuits. He lives in Glasgow with his partner and sibling cats, Hansel and Gretel.
Here’s a collection of some of our articles which have been in our newsletters or published elsewhere.