Posts tagged " Scotland "

Christiana Figueres and Catriona Patterson

Selfies with Christiana Figueres: Climate Change, Leadership and Young People

April 12th, 2019 Posted by Blogs No Comment yet

Catriona Patterson, Chair of the Board of 2050 Climate Group, shares her reflections on the role of youth leadership on climate change, after a week which saw Edinburgh host both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Christiana Figueres.

I’m generally not one for selfies. So it was a surprise to me for many reasons when I found myself taking a selfie with Christiana Figueres last Friday afternoon.

Christiana Figueres is arguably the climate heroine of our present. Lauded as the individual who made the 2015 UN COP Paris Agreement possible, she is a tour-de-force of climate commitment, optimism and encouragement. As the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), she presided over the first international binding commitment on greenhouse gas emissions made by world nations…ever.

Visiting Scotland to collect the Edinburgh Medal (awarded each year by the City of Edinburgh to a person of science and technology who is judged to have made a ‘significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity’) at the Edinburgh Science Festival, Figueres often talks of challenging what we consider to be ‘feasible’ (a point particularly pertinent as Scotland discusses the level of ambition of our new Climate Change Bill), and seeing climate action as the biggest opportunity we have ever had. It is not hyperbole to cite her as inspirational: she needed to be in order to force international agreement.

2050 Climate Group was invited to participate in a roundtable of public, private and third sector leaders with Figueres during her visit to Edinburgh. Knowingly and obviously one of the youngest in the room, I was thrilled when she related her opening provocation – around rightful civic outrage, and radical optimism in the face of climate change – to the recent climate school strikes, and commended the actions of young people concerned about their future.

Days before, I had represented 2050 Climate Group as part of the ClimateXChange event ‘Climate Change Action in Small States’, taking place in the week that Edinburgh hosted a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sitting on a panel between hugely knowledgeable climate change scientists and policy makers, I was aware I stood out. I am not responsible for regional emissions figures or target reports, and the IPCC has been around longer than I have been alive. But in talking about the unique approach of our charity, and how it connects with the knowledge and political processes which structures climate change action, I am consistently excited and proud of what we achieve, and inspired to do more.

Young people are often-quoted as the motivators for decision making on climate change, yet rarely are they given the genuine opportunity to shape that future. At 2050 Climate Group we are committed to ensuring our generation are prepared with the knowledge of climate change and its impacts that they need for their personal, professional and civic lives, but also have the skills to influence those around them, the network to support them, and crucially, the opportunities to empower them with the agency to effect change.

Being invited to participate in these two events – speaking alongside climate heroes from research and policy – is for me an example of how young people are beginning to be recognised for the role they play, and should play, in climate change leadership. The school strikes inspired by the climate activism of teenager Greta Thunberg have recently demonstrated the depth of feeling of young people at the very ‘young’ end of the youth spectrum, but at 2050 Climate Group we have a generation of young adults already participating in our society and economy, and arguably one step closer to challenging the causes of climate change and dealing with its impacts.

It can be easy to dismiss young people, and the methods and tools we use to effect change. Selfies may be chastised for a variety of reasons, but for me, this image is not (just) narcissism, it’s evidence: a demonstration and a reminder that youth leadership is recognised, valued, and necessary.


2050 Climate Group is looking for new partners from all aspects of Scotland’s public, private and third sectors, and is interested to hear from those looking to engage, educate and empower future leaders within their organisations and across wider society to take action on climate change. If you are interested in discussing opportunities to work with us, please get in touch with chair@2050.scot

 

COP 23: Reflections

November 16th, 2017 Posted by Blogs, COP No Comment yet

2050 Climate Group team member,  Siri Pantzar, offers some reflections on time spent at COP 23 in Bonn, Germany this November. 

 

It is such a precious thing, this conference. People who are all passionate about climate change, discussing solutions, research, projects, and policies. Everyone is keen. Everyone is interested. Everyone is buzzing.

It’s a shame that that’s all pretty much restricted to this event though.

When we go home, we go back to the silence on climate change. Most people don’t talk about climate change in their everyday lives. People around us are concerned, but don’t voice it, don’t engage with it, and more often than not don’t see it as an immediate issue that they have to do something about in their own lives, or one that impacts them. It’s in the future, it’s those poor polar bears, it’s in the small island states and in Africa. While this motivates some people to buy clean energy, turn down the heating or vote for greener candidates, most people are more concerned about immediate issues (or ones they perceive as such): getting a job, paying their bills, getting food for your children, getting a mortgage. Climate change is indeed big and bad, but essentially something somewhere else, for somebody else with more time on their hands to do.

One of the things I’ve constantly been impressed with about 2050 Climate Group is how it really addresses this issue, through making climate change relevant for young professionals by bringing it to the sphere where we have to operate in. We might want to do something about climate change, but often focus instead on things that will pay our bills, add experience to our CVs, or build us networks. 2050 fits into that framework. It makes being a part of the global action against climate change useful and fun to us, in our own specific terms, together with other people like us.

Yesterday I attended a talk by George Marshall, and I realised how special and crucial that is. George Marshall is a climate change communicator and the founder of Climate Outreach, a non-profit research organisation supporting those that want to work on climate communications. He stresses that tailoring the message is crucial; too often we use the same polar bear and disaster images, too often the messages are tailored to us who are already keen and identify with the issue, not to those that are not. Especially as we see the global politics reaching points where major countries can elect leaders that don’t believe in climate change, we, as people who know that this should not be a partisan issue, should acknowledge that we have allowed it to become one. There are values that we all hold dear involved in promoting climate change action, but they are not the same values for those on the left, as for those on the centre right, or those in faith communities, or environmental activists, or coal worker communities, or British people or Finnish people or Chinese people. For some it’s a question of justice and planetary environment, and those messages get aired often; for others it’s about fairness, or working together, or bringing the world to balance, preserving our heritage, protecting the world that is a gift from God, or keeping champagne production possible in Champagne. Authenticity is key; we want to see people who are like us, and care about the same things as we do, tell us that we can work together to protect those things. That’s why we can’t leave talking about climate change to environmental activists; their messages are relevant for people like them, but then again, people like them are in most cases already engaged.

Most importantly, these conversations need to happen and continue to happen, outside this bubble. Often they aren’t easy; at least I often inherently assume that no-one else is interested and that I come across as nagging, which is unlikely to be true. We need to create space, and have conversations, and make spaces for conversations that are appealing and create communities. The 2050 Climate Group has provided that for many of us; now we need to continue to spread it out to everyone else.

Professional Network Opens New Doors for ‘Young’ Borderers

August 29th, 2017 Posted by News No Comment yet

Friday 25 August was the launch of the new Scottish Borders Young Professionals (SBYP). SBYP aim to provide social opportunities for those starting their professional careers in the Borders or reestablishing themselves in a new field.

Over 90% of businesses within the Borders are small and medium-sized enterprises, Economic Profile for the Scottish Borders, (2013). With a high proportion of sole traders and micro-businesses, socialising and professional collaboration can be more challenging.

This newly established group aims to provide a free social hub for those living and working in the local area.

SBYP Chairman and YLDP 2016-17 alum, Tim Taylor commented:

Due to the rurality and sparse population of the Scottish Borders it can be really difficult for those starting their professional career to develop and maintain those all-important relationships with their peers.

scottish borders young professionals

Young professionals at the SBYP launch event.

“Couple this with the fact that we have such a high amount of independently practicing professionals, and SME’s, there’s a high likelihood that those starting their career journey could end up working in solitude without sharing their fresh ideas, opinions and best practice.

“The group welcomes people not only young, but those who are in the early stages of establishing their professional career.”

SBYP Group Secretary and YLDP 2017-18 young leader, Kirsty Mills commented:

“We’re aiming to create a really inclusive group that’s open to anyone in the early stages of their career. We’ve already established a diverse community of members spanning industries including Law, Finance, Marketing etc.

 “Often people in the early stages of these career pathways have studied for 6 years or more at University or through professional accreditation. Establishing a professional career in the Borders is extremely rewarding but there’s a real need for easily accessible opportunities for people to build their professional contacts and develop friendships”.

“Whether you’re a first time graduate or someone with more life experience who’s starting a new path, we’d love to hear from you and let you know about SBYP events”.

 


More information about Scottish Borders Young Professionals can be found by visiting SBYP.co.uk or by  emailing Scotbordersyp@gmail.com.

For sponsorship opportunities please contact Mary Hemingway, SBYP Treasurer via Scotbordersyp@gmail.com.