Who? The UKYCC Community Team
When?  November 12 2016
Where? The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation
Why? To bring together our committed group of organisers and local catalysts with a view to developing our skills on local level climate change campaigning

How did it go?

Global carbon project graph

Global carbon project graph

The day kicked off with a reminder of the climate science and the hard facts about why we are all in agreement that change needs to be made across society to lower our levels of GHG emissions.

We identified the areas in our community that consumed large amounts of energy or could be easily remedied: agriculture and our eating habits, poorly insulated housing, high levels of consumerism and transportation systems were all identified.  But, being positive, kick-ass campaigners we weren’t about to dwell on the negatives, but instead seek solutions!

Workshop 1:  Initiating a Campaign Plan

This workshop brought to the forefront of our minds the key questions that should be asked when beginning to plan a campaign. We then put these ideas into practise by planning a hypothetical campaign around one of the issues identified in the first session.

So what questions should be asked?

  1. What is the project and goal?
  2. How can young climate campaigners help to achieve that goal?
  3. What campaigns are already active?
  4. Who are the stake-holders?
  5. What is a reasonable goal for us over the next six months?
  6. What skills, training and research do we need?
  7. What are our tactics? (letter writing/stunts/media/social media)
  8. What resources do we need? (funding/time/skills/online/spaces/people)
  9. How we organise? (skype/email/local meet-ups/national meetings/online networks)

Workshop 2: Success Stories from Scotland

Speaker 1: Amanda Grimm, BP or not BP Scotland

BP or not BP

BP or not BP

Key points:

  • Seek inspiration from other campaigns; BP or not BP Scotland was launched off BP or not BP’s protest at the Edinburgh Festival.
  • Utilise the skills available. Amanda felt comfortable with the dramatic flair of the protest art as she was a former ballerina.
  • Create a narrative as this will stick in the minds of your audience more than facts and figures.
  • Remember that the stunt is not the whole campaign;  Amanda followed up the action with a letter to the director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Speaker 2: Flick Monk, Friends of the Earth Scotland

Friends of the Earth Scotland

Friends of the Earth Scotland

Key points:

  • Be informed about what’s happening in the affected area as they have the local knowledge and a ready-made network of people; Flick built on the amazing work being done by the groups in Falkirk and the Firth of Forth.
  • Good research is the basis for good campaigning; FoE Scotland sent the Scottish Parliament detailed research on the negative effects of coal seam gasification observed around the world.

Speaker 3: Caroline Rance,
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Key points:

  • Find a moment to take advantage of; Caroline noted that the MSPs would be most likely to listen when they were newly elected.
  • Think about power structure; Caroline used constituents to reach MSPs who could talk to ministers and climb the power structure.
  • Remember your MP might not directly care about your issue, frame it in a way that will be applicable to them.
  • If you want media coverage remember that some things are more likely to make the news; Caroline knew gathering the leaders of the political parties had a higher chance of making the news than constituents talking to their MSPs.

We broke for an energy reviving lunch (with plenty of hummus and cake) then got back down to business.

So we were developing topic ideas, we were developing our campaign planning skills, we were drawing inspiration from highly successful campaigns in Scotland, but how do we get our message out to a wider audience?

Workshop 3: Using Media Effectively

Firstly, it’s important to consider what you want to achieve through your media exposure, who your audience are and the most effective way to reach them.

Purpose of media

Purpose of media

Press releases

Key points:
Remain focused about who you are sending your press release to, target the right news outlets and the right people working at those news outlets.


Paragraph 1: The five W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why

Quotes: Ideally a one sentence sound bite. Remember to include the person’s full name, age, and associated group/location

Paragraph 2: Provide a broader context, including facts and figures

Notes to editors: Attach your contact details and places the journalist can find further information if they decide to pursue your story

[For an in depth guide on how to secure press coverage in your campaign, why not download our great free guide here?] 

Social media

Key points:
It’s all about likes and shares, to create “click-bait” there are several things to make the most of:

Social Media

Social Media


Finally, we split into groups and used all our newly acquired skills to have a discussion about real next steps that can take place to turn ideas into action.

We came away at the end of the day with plans to take on food waste at the Co-op and in Oxford, to get behind divestment campaigns in London, to work on sustainability for departments at the University of Edinburgh, to contact MPs/MSPs about our issues and to work on education plans.

Most importantly, we came away with a new found confidence in our abilities and the knowledge that we have a great support network in each other!


If you’re thinking about getting involved and still need more reasons why you should join the Local Catalyst Network then check out our message to the UKYCC team at COP22 in Marrakesh!

Okay, now that you’re itching to get involved just head over to our website and jump in to make a difference with us!


Written by Local Catalyst Co-ordinator Cat Leggat

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