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People, Power and Participation

Three men thinking... The politician "Will we lose the next election if we take firm action on climate change?" Big business "Our business isn't limiting climate change - it's in making profits for our shareholders" The media "Sensational stories sell but we're pretty sure climate action doesn't have much to do with us" ...it's up to us to send a clear message to them

Everyone has a vital role to play in creating positive social change in Scotland. Supporting the development of collective action is one of the cornerstones of SEAD’s work. All our projects have this as a key element, and we have produced countless resources to help people in their efforts to create change – from within their community, but with ambitions to have a positive impact much further afield.

You can find some of SEAD’s resources for supporting community participation here, and if you are particularly interested in community-based climate action, you can find a whole range of resources from SEAD and other organisations in our Climate Action Hub.

Building resilient communities together

Building communities which are resilient and are sustainable ecologically and economically requires us to work collectively. When problems have been created by top-down decision-making, then the time has come to re-learn decision-making from the bottom up. We can’t wait passively for the solutions to come from government or from companies. As the cartoon above shows, they have their own limitations and priorities. We need to make sure that they are aware of what is important to us. We have power as consumers, voters and campaigners.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe we can make a difference. It’s important to remember the power of collective action. While it may seem futile for one person to make a small change to their lifestyle, when the problem is so huge, the progress that can be made when people work collectively can far exceed the sum of the individual actions. We stop being just one individual and become part of a movement for change.

There have been times in the last 40 years when a critical mass of public opinion has been reached, and there has been a surge of community engagement to achieve a particular goal. One such time in Scotland was the 70s when a new set of ideals fueled an immensely creative time in grassroots politics. As well as a strong co-operative movement, the 70s in Scotland saw the formation of many progressive organisations which still play a positive role in our society, like the Adult Learning Project, SEAD, Friends of the Earth Scotland and countless others.

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