What we do
SEAD challenges the causes of poverty, social injustice and environmental degradation. We support the community-based movement for positive social change – people collectively tackling challenges with a local and global perspective.
But what does this mean? Cathy McCormack, a community activist from Easterhouse, Glasgow sums it up from her perspective:
“I never thought that when I became active in the campaign for healthy housing that I would end up in the international struggle for justice, but that’s what happened when the people in my community in Glasgow started to make the links between our sick houses, our sick children, and the sickness of the planet.”
Switch On to Climate Change
For the last five years our priority has been to play an active part in building the community-based movement to tackle climate change. We have done this in various ways: we hosted a major conference in Edinburgh on “Oil, War and Climate Change”; we ran the Climate Justice Roadshow which toured around, working with community groups all over Scotland; and we launched Switch On to Climate Change, a programme designed to support communities who want to find their own ways of tackling climate change.
- We run workshops, training, and mentoring to help people in Scotland who want to work collectively with people in their area to make a positive impact on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
- We have produced an array of booklets and guides to help groups and individuals to do this.
- As well as that we have brought together links from groups all over Scotland, the UK and internationally which can help on all aspects of organising community action.can provide everything from simple inspiration, to advice, lobbying and campaigning opportunities.
- We’ve set up the Climate Action Hub on this website which offers all kinds of resources to help people in Scotland take action to prevent climate change. It brings together a wealth of information and ideas from all kinds of groups – from the smallest community organisation, right through to large international bodies – in Scotland, throughout the UK and around the world.
Global Community Partnerships
We place a strong emphasis on creating inspiration and solidarity through links between community groups in Scotland and around the world. Sometimes communities experience different effects of the same problem (for example farmers in Scotland and India have a lot to say to each other about the globalised food market), and sometimes finding the links is about acknowledging that our choices here in Scotland have an impact on communities on the other side of the world.
Our recent partnerships with communities around the world have included:
- Working together with Friends of the Earth Scotland, to create a partnership with representatives of the Cofan community in Ecuador (living with the impacts of oil exploitation in the Amazonian rainforest) and the refinery town of Esmeraldas (where a pipeline leak caused a disastrous fire in the community). We toured Scotland meeting with people to exchange experiences and stories of community action.
- Working with the network of agroforestry farmers in the Dominican Republic to help restore community resilience after the devastation of Hurricane Georges
We constantly used testimonies from people from all over the world who are working together to find solutions to the problems facing them. You can find examples of these testimonies at the Raised Voices website, or in the Panos Mountain Voices site.
People, Power and Participation
One of the keystones of SEAD’s work has always been to promote energising and fun ways to build community involvement, creating a space for the voices of people to shape decisions that affect them, or that impact other communities elsewhere in the world.
In practical terms, this means being creative about involving people. Recently this has included:
- The Great Clothes Swap-a-rama. 300 people came to this fun event in Edinburgh to swap unwanted clothes, listen to live music and find out about energy efficiency and sustainable resource use.
- Garbage Warrior. We hosted an event in the ‘Take One: Action’ film festival, where 60 people watched the film, Garbage Warrior, then had a lively debate led by some of Scotland’s very own Garbage Warriors!