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POLICY BRIEF Learning to be low-carbon: lessons from two community projects

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Svenja Meyerricks, Jan Bebbington, Rehema Mary White

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The potential of community organisations to effect change in their localities has been recognised in Scotland through the availability of public funding for projects involving carbon reductions. This study included an overview of the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) and a deeper 11 months participative engagement with case study projects. Summary results of the main two case studies reported in this policy brief include 1) differentiation between 'community', 'community organisation' and the 'community project' funded by the CCF; 2) potential for community initiatives to focus on internal group development or outreach, with both foci being beneficial; 3) diversity in community organisations' values and project aims that appears to be linked to different priorities resulting from inequalities, different notions of 'community' and a lack of political avenues for long-term community engagement. Community projects funded by the CCF have achieved pro-environmental and social benefits beyond carbon reductions, at local and larger scales. CCF-funded community projects act as valuable liminal spaces (spatial and temporal) in which groups and individuals can explore more sustainable living options. However, the magnitude of CCF-funded project impacts was constrained by insufficient societal and infrastructural changes. A political focus on environmental justice, intensified action to tackle climate change at all levels and involving community organisations more in democratic processes and in the design of research concerning them were recommended.


Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of St Andrews
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

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