A Croft Carbon College for Leith
Leith Community Crops in Pots is expanding its' education projects by establishing a 'Croft Carbon College' - a local centre for raising environmental awareness within the community. Providing accessible and engaging courses that integrate the work and expertise of individuals and organisations focused on specific areas of environmental sustainability.
In late 2017 ran a survey to gather thoughts on initial ideas for the college approach, potential courses we might run, and how we might offer these.
The survey was used to inform our final application for the Climate Challenge Fund and we are delighted to have been awarded £120,165 to kickstart the college over 2018-19.
We will now use the views of the local community in order to develop and run the Croft Carbon college programme from 2018.
One main highlight of the survey is provided below...
Vision for the Croft Carbon College
The Croft Carbon College (CCC) is to be a centre of excellence for educating people on the basics of climate change and in motivating them (1) to take personal action to combat climate change, and (2) to similarly educate/motivate others. Such centres have never been more needed, because the world is facing multiple environmental and human crises, including climate change, mass extinction and a seemingly intractable gulf between the haves and the have-nots, with consequences which include mental and physical ill health (loneliness, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, obesity, type II diabetes…), stigmatisation, racism, etc. We see these issues as connected, and our ambition is for the CCC to offer courses which address them in a holistic way.
CCC will build on the experience and resources of LCCiP and those of other local organisations and individuals, while also drawing on expertise from further afield. (Examples of the organisations with which we hope to work include the Leith-based Edinburgh Remakery and Edinburgh Tool Library, the Real Junk Food Project Edinburgh, the Schumacher College, Zero Waste Scotland and Garden Organic, a UK-wide organisation with experience in education and community engagement with whom we already have a good working relationship.) The CCC will be collaborative in nature, fostering co-ordination and cross-pollination to boost the total effectiveness of those concerned with climate change and other issues, e.g. pollution, decreasing biodiversity, loneliness and poor diet. Rather than ‘re-invent the wheel’, CCC aims to share and improve ‘wheels’ already in existence.
A key focus of CCC will be motivation. LCCiP’s experience suggests it is challenging to motivate people to measure carbon savings, and the work of the Common Cause Foundation (on values and frames) cautions against relying on extrinsic motivators, e.g. ‘saving money’. CCC’s approach will be to ensure that every course will have a balance of self-evidently enjoyable elements (practical skills/hands-on experiences) and ‘hard’ education and carbon calculations. We suggest that CCC attendees complete brief personal carbon surveys as part of the application process, and then, if the course chosen does not already include a carbon-saving component, that they choose at least one area in which they will commit to making and monitoring improvements (e.g. energy supplier, home insulation, heating choices, transport, water use, diet, food waste). They would then take a supplementary course in this area.
Apart from supplementary courses (as suggested above), the courses offered will depend on demand, available expertise and partners, but we envisage courses in, for example, upcycling and woodwork skills, willow-weaving, grafting (and other orchard-related skills), hot composting, salad-growing, the principles of organic growing, gardening for biodiversity, seed-saving, the basics of climate change, cosmetic and medical plant use, seed-saving and how to educate and motivate people with regard to climate change. Courses will incorporate and build on the curriculum development we have already done (with the support of, for example, Good Food Nation funding) and informed by the Forest Schools training we have received. Feedback from course participants (largely locals) will refine the offer.
Money should not be a barrier to participation, though wealthy individuals/businesses may be asked to pay and/or sponsor the attendance of others. Our social enterprise projects will subsidise the CCC in the long term.
As mentioned above, the CCC will ultimately be based in the refurbished pavilion building, and will draw on and expose participants to the resources this location offers: a community growing space, our social enterprise projects (café, tree nursery, farmers’ market…), wildflower areas and a nature-play area. While the building is being refurbished we shall hire premises for CCC courses close to LCC, and some course components will take place on LCC. We envisage the CCC and LCC together becoming an influential centre for community-centred climate-change education.