• Becoming Carbon Literate

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    • Becoming Carbon Literate
    • by Lara Henderson
      Development Officer for Scotland

    Could carbon literacy training help you and your organisation respond to the Climate Emergency? Lara shares her reflections on CTA’s recent experience

    The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2019 outlines a commitment to reduce all of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045 at the latest. In Scotland, the transport sector is the biggest contributor to our national carbon footprint – largely due to private car ownership – and there is progress to be made across the whole transport sector to reduce these emissions.

    The Community Transport sector is already making great progress towards reducing transport emissions. Accessible, shared transport options are a great way to reduce the number of single passenger journeys that take place and reduce the need for private car ownership. But we also know that many Community Transport operators are making more sustainable choices to reduce their carbon footprint even further.

    While funding to support services can be difficult to source, one of the key findings in our recent More Than a Minibus report was that 12% of CTA members’ vehicle fleet in Scotland is already electric or hybrid. This shows that the Community Transport sector is ready and willing to adopt and invest in new technologies which allow them to support their communities in a way that is better for people and planet.

    With all of this in mind, we want to make sure we have a strong understanding of climate change; the changes required in the Community Transport sector and beyond to reduce our emissions; and the challenges and opportunities this may present to CTA members.

    As Team Scotland, we all recently completed Climate Emergency Training administered by Keep Scotland Beautiful, an organisation with key aims to combat climate change, tackle litter problems and protect our environment.

    Keep Scotland Beautiful are the official partner in Scotland for the Carbon Literacy Project, which is an organisation seeking to increase our understanding of carbon emissions, climate change and the action we can take to combat it on organisational, community and individual levels.

    The training is completely free for charities and involved two online sessions. We first discussed the problems caused by climate change, then moved on to the more hopeful topic of collective and individual action we can take to help reduce our carbon emissions. Keep Scotland Beautiful’s trainers provided a background on climate science and explained the damage carbon emissions have on our environment. Both sessions were engaging, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions, and a few breakout sessions in each to discuss the content with others on the course from different organisations and sectors.

    Once you finish the online sessions, there are a few brief written assignments to complete relating to the topics covered. These were useful opportunities to reflect on the information we’d received and make personal and professional commitments to take climate action. As a team we’ve found them to be handy discussion points, even after the training, to shape our thinking and planning.

    We would highly recommend this training to anyone in the third sector in Scotland, but particularly to our hard-working members. As we collectively move towards net-zero, and with Low Emission Zones being rolled out across Scotland’s major cities and more changes on the horizon, it’s important to have an awareness of developments in science, technology and policy and what they might mean for our sector.

    Thinking about this course from a Community Transport perspective specifically, it was a great reminder of the impact that shared transport solutions have in reducing carbon emissions and the opportunity they provide to move towards a more accessible and sustainable transport system.

    Completing the training as Team Scotland has helped us to start work on an exciting new project. In January 2023, we will launch a new Climate Action programme which will, among other things, seek to provide more support to our members and celebrate the brilliant climate action that many of you are already taking. Hopefully we can inspire others to follow suit.

    More on that coming soon! Make sure you don’t miss out on the big announcement by signing up to receive weekly Scotland Spotlight updates from us here.

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