“To inspire and promote, connect and support community-led action in Scotland to address the Climate Emergency.”
Scottish Communities Climate Action Network (SCCAN) is a volunteer organization based in Scotland, mobilizing within the climate emergency movement and supporting the change to a post-carbon future. Following the publication of an initial discussion paper in 2010 by Simon Pepper and Rachel Dunn addressing the barriers to community climate action, a “Framework Group” made up of members from community organizations was convened to identify areas for improvement in community action on climate change. Their recommendations were detailed in a “Framework Report,” which was circulated widely and received feedback from close to 40 community organizations. The second phase of the Framework Initiative began In 2011, when a large number of community representatives at the Climate Change Fund Gathering in Glasgow agreed that the Framework initiative should continue and gave a mandate to a temporary Steering Group to take it forward. SCCAN was born as a more permanent evolution of this Steering Group.
Vision, Mission, Aims
Vision: SCCAN works towards a just and equitable Scotland with empowered democratic communities, vibrant local food culture, effective local energy, local living, zero waste, happy healthiness and practical training & education.
Mission: To inspire and promote, connect and support community-led action in Scotland to address the Climate Emergency.
- Enabling communications across the network e.g. through newsletters, opportunities for members to be part of participatory media projects, events, social media etc.
- Developing and sharing ideas and building capacity in our movement by organising events, gatherings, and trainings related to climate action across the country.
- Being involved with European and worldwide climate action networks and sharing best of practice with our membership.
- Inspiring communities by providing online tools for networking, sharing of best practice, and showcasing projects between community groups and beyond.
- Communicating and developing the discourse of community climate action wherever possible including in Scottish Government (through meetings, consultations etc), across social media, through partnering with a wide range of organisations etc.
- Building understanding of the role and potential of communities in climate action within civil society by partnering and collaborating with other Scottish community networks (e.g. through Scottish Community Alliance), public sector, and business.
Introduction to Sociocracy
SCCAN consists of a large membership of organizations and individuals with a core team of 12 volunteers. These volunteers were all involved in the early stages of SCCAN and are engaged members of their local community groups. They learned about sociocracy at their Annual General Meeting in 2019 through a training on “the basics of how you would run a meeting and a bit of how circles are run,” notes Eva Schonveld, one of that core group of 12. Before this meeting, “we didn’t have a clear structure…we worked with a preconceived idea of what organizational structure is…we did it how you think everyone else does it.”
Learning about sociocracy got them thinking about what their circles would be, how they run meetings and how they structure their projects. With a “Logbook” in hand from the trainer to help organize their meeting agendas and notes, their meetings became more “focused, efficient and worthwhile.”
SCCAN also began to put what they had learned about circles into practice within their organization. They created a General Circle and Subcircles outlined in the map below and allocated Lead Links for all the circles.
The group noticed that while they had created circles and allocated lead links, they were not meeting in their circles and were still bringing their decisions to the General Circle. They had an Away-Day with the focus to “empower the circles,” notes Eva. “It was almost like we had to consciously disempower the General Circle and empower the circles… and that did really help.” This has led Eva and others to feel more ownership in their circles and has also resulted in less frequent meetings of the General Circle.
While SCCAN has begun to introduce sociocratic concepts and practices into their organization, the transition is still underway. The delineation of circles and subcircles has allowed some circles to begin to handle their work completely in their circle but some “circle decisions” are still being brought to the General Circle. Since SCCAN members have varying levels of training in sociocratic facilitation, and, as facilitation is currently being rotated among circle members, there is a large variation in meeting styles, with some being run more sociocractically than others.
Where to from here?
SCCAN hopes to bring about a fuller implementation of sociocracy over this coming year. One idea that SCCAN is considering for speeding up the implementation is to use a portion of the grant money that it is due to receive from the Scottish government for this coming year to have one paid staffer be responsible for their sociocratic development and ongoing training for members.