Monthly Archives: April, 2017

Welcoming the YLDP 2017-18

April 28th, 2017 Posted by Blogs No Comment yet

Last night I had the honour of launching the 2nd year of the 2050 Climate Group’s Young Leaders Development Programme at the ECCI in Edinburgh alongside Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform,  Roseanna Cunningham MSP. To see a room filled with well over 100 young professionals from across Scotland and across various sectors was extremely exciting. The recruitment process this year was incredibly competitive with demand ever increasing, surely Scotland is in a very strong position moving forward with this kind of interest in a climate change leadership course.

My name is Richard Dryburgh, I’m lucky enough to be the new Chair of the 2050 Climate Group. This is a position I’ve held for around two weeks now so I’m still learning the ropes. I’ve recently been passed the baton from Elizabeth Dirth and vice chairs Mike and Chris, who have done an amazing job over the last year or so.

So who are the 2050 Climate Group?

For those who don’t know, we formed in 2014 and are a group of young professionals and students from across Scotland’s public, private and third sectors. Our aim is to engage, educate and empower future leaders to take action on climate change. We have a board of around 25 and recently took on 40 new operational team members to help us deliver our work. I should stress that we are all volunteers, we have one member of staff who keeps us all in check, but we are all working on this is because we care and all work is done in our own time.

Our main piece of work is our Young Leaders Development Programme (YLDP). Bringing talented and passionate young people together to work on their leadership skills whilst developing knowledge of climate change solutions – this enables a strong network of 2050 leaders across Scottish society that mainstreams climate action within our generation and indeed all generations. Alongside our YLDP, we also have a team working on keeping our alumni engaged and connected. The idea being here that in 4 or 5 years time we will have a network of over 500 2050 Graduates who can all work together and speak up for climate action within their own spheres of influence. We also have a policy team which feeds into national and international policy to give a voice to our network and to our generation. Finally, we have a communications team who help keep all of us connected, but also share our work externally. So there is lots going on!

Members of the 2050 Climate Group with Roseanna Cunnigham MSP (Pictured L to R: Ben Taylor, David Hogg, Rebecca DeVivo, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Richard Dryburgh, Jamie Wylie, Karen Cornfield)

The reason why we are all here doing this? Climate Change.

Climate Change is a huge global issue which often seems impossible to tackle, impossible to conceptualise and impossible to deal with. At the induction last night, I played this short video made by the UN and narrated by Morgan Freeman which outlines an alternative future for the planet. . I wanted to quickly touch on a few points raised at the end of the video which are particularly relevant.

  1. Beyond our doubts and differences, such a future does exist. We don’t know all the solutions to climate change, but we know a lot of them. This future will happen, it has to. By the year 2050, transformational change will have happened across Scotland and the world. Because it has to.
  2. We must stop getting stuck in the doom and gloom and instead turn towards the partnerships and solutions we need.

We must turn apathy into action. To do this, we need to stop debating the science and instead focus on debating the solutions. In terms of positive success stories, I’m not sure how many of you have seen the viral video by ATTN on Facebook? The one that shows Scotland leading the way on renewable energy. Although there is lots of bagpipes and Scottish stereotypes in the video, it shows Scottish leadership in a positive light and has clearly engaged a mass audience, with over 20 million views and 250,000 shares. If we focus on positive solutions and success stories such as this, we are moving in the right direction.

And the YLDP is certainly one of those success stories, large groups of young people from across society, getting together on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings to become climate leaders. The potential of this group really has no ceiling and I hope this year’s young leaders will be able to look back at this opportunity in a few years time and say I was there at the beginning of that movement.

We are lucky in Scotland to have politicians who have given climate action a high priority across all parties. But we still need to speak up and give a voice to our generation. It is incredibly important that climate change, as an issue that will largely affect our generation, is worked on with solutions and politics that are inclusive of our generation.

There is a lot of people on our side, not least our partners. Young Scot and ECCI continue to support us as do Scottish Water, ScottishPower Foundation, SEPA & The Scottish Government.

Without them we simply wouldn’t be able to function, so we are tremendously grateful.


2050 Climate Group Announces New Leaders

April 22nd, 2017 Posted by News No Comment yet

The 2050 Climate Group announced this week the appointment of a new Chair and new Vice-Chair.  Richard Dryburgh, former Treasurer of the organisation, has been appointed to the position as Chair with Kerry-Anne McKay, appointed as Vice Chair and Ian Mack as the group’s Treasurer.

Commenting on the future of the 2050 Climate Group, Elizabeth Dirth said: “Richard, as our new Chair, and Kerry-Anne, as our new Vice-Chair, bring the knowledge and experience that are exactly what’s needed for the next chapter of 2050’s book. As we are just in the first months of our first year of being an official SCIO, they will guide the organisation through this transition and the second year of our “world first” Young Leaders Development Programme.”

The 2016 team Elizabeth Dirth, Chair and Mike Elm and Chris Palmer, Vice Chairs, will continue to contribute their skills and enthusiasm in their roles as Trustees and their involvement in the operational subgroups.

The Next Chapter of 2050

April 22nd, 2017 Posted by Blogs No Comment yet

When I began the role of Vice Chair of of the 2050 Climate Group, I was 24 years old. I had 2 years working experience in entry level positions. I had never spoken publicly before. I had no leadership experience. I had no management experience. I just had a vision. There was an opportunity in front of me and I had a desire to go for it. Let me be crystal clear here: It takes nothing more than that to be a leader.

Fast forward three years, 2050 is now a multi-award winning, internationally recognised official NGO, and here I am stepping down from this position of leadership.

In those early days, I found myself leading an organisation through its founding days, and some days I had no idea whether we were doing the right thing. I had never done this before, no one I was working with had ever done this before… But also this was partly because we were creating something that didn’t exist.

On the surface, we’re (now) an environmental NGO. We work on climate change. But what we really do is disrupt. We work on change. There’s no model for creating an organisation that’s main goal is to disrupt the status quo, the high emissions, high carbon, unsustainable, business as usual, status quo. When almost every aspect of what you do and how you run is different from organisations that could be your peers, there’s no handbook on how to run this. And when you are trying to do this while simultaneously working on an issue that is an existential threat, that is not taken seriously enough, there is absolutely no guide for how to be a leader in these circumstances.

I have immense gratitude for my peers, mentors, colleagues, friends, co-conspirators, who supported me over the past three years through the challenges of this journey. Particularly, there is something unique in the 2050 team, the way it functions, the sense of commitment balanced with sense of humour, or maybe it’s those 9am weekend mornings, that hooks you in and holds you up at the same time.

What we have become is an organisation that lives our mission, values and purpose. In every aspect of what we do in our operations we try to have a ‘handprint’ (a positive impact) and as small of an environmental footprint as possible. As we find our way through our first year as an official charity, we aspire to find innovative ways of working that demonstrate best practice for how an organisation can function. And I look forward to continuing to be involved in this process.

For me personally, this living our mission is also why the time had come to step down as Chair. If we stand by one of our core values, that leaders can come from anywhere and anyone can be a leader, then our organisation is made up of exceptional leaders, all of which could act as Chair. The experience of being Chair has been the best personal and professional development opportunity that I have had and it was time for someone else to have the same opportunity I feel that I did.

In addition to this, somewhere along the process to become a SCIO we decided to commit ourselves to this value by running with as flat as an operational structure as possible. Our team should be recognised internally and externally for the leadership role that they now play in the low carbon transition and this was the best way to do that.

Note, I said ‘now’. This transition, we are in it, and we, 2050, are a part of leading it, I am confident of that and that we will continue to do so in the future, in Scotland, and further afield.

So, What’s next…

Richard, as our new Chair, and Kerry-Anne, as our new Vice-Chair, bring the knowledge and experience that are exactly what’s needed for the next chapter of 2050’s book. As we are just in the first months of our first year of being an official SCIO, they will guide the organisation through this transition and the second year of our “world first” Young Leaders Development Programme.

As for me, I’ll be getting stuck into delivering the second year of the YLDP – I believe this programme has more transformational capacity than anything else I have ever come across, and I am committed to delivering this to the best of its potential. Not to mention, scheming in the background about how, when and where 2050 takes its first steps towards internationalisation of our model and work.


Elizabeth Dirth, Board Trustee