INTERVIEW: by Kerry Smith, Walker Institute at COP26 with Ann and Anthony Craig from the Caux Dialogue on Environment and Security, part of Initiative of Change IoC and SEAchange, an independent charity based in Scotland.
Monday, November 1, 2021
The Caux Dialogue aims to build trust between communities to bring together people together from different parts of the world. For example, the Water Warriors project has connected experts on irrigation in India with communities in Kenya. Dr Singh, known as ‘the waterman of India’, shares his knowledge of sustainable water management solutions that have worked in similar climatic conditions in India to help a Kenyan community gain year-round access to water.
Ann and Anthony feel passionate about the environment and were inspired by a talk about the climate crisis given by Professor Pete Smith held at the University of Aberdeen. They wanted to take practical action both individually and in their local community. This led to the formation of SEAchange in Collieston, Aberdeenshire in northeast Scotland. SEAchange aims to make Collieston a carbon neutral community with a particular emphasis on improving the insulation and heating of old stone buildings through a demonstration project of energy efficiency. A disused kirk – an old stone building – will be renovated using high-spec insulation, ground-source heating and supplied with renewable energy. The project aims to bring together the community and offer a place to meet and a café. They aim to show that although retrofitting to all high-spec energy efficiency standards may not always be feasible, renovating old buildings uses far less energy than building new ones and thus, brings significant energy efficiency gains. Tree-planting has also taken place nearby to create a new woodland as a second visual demonstration and to provide important biodiversity habitats for rare migratory birds.
In both the local and global community-based initiatives Ann and Anthony feel that communities listening to and encouraging each other are very important. They hope that these bottom-up initiatives can meet the top-down commitments made by governments at COP26 and that the promises made in Glasgow are delivered.
Written by Helen Hooker, COPCAS 2021 PhD Student.