Climate Fringe Festival 2023: what we achieved

  • 28 Jun 2023
  • Written by Bruno Santos
  • Blog, Climate Fringe Festival

The Climate Fringe Festival has brought the Scottish climate movement together, fuelling conversations about climate action and raising awareness on the need to move towards a greener, low carbon, more sustainable Scotland.

This past month, Scotland saw once again organisations and community groups coming together and organising events centred around climate, nature and sustainability. With June coming to a close, we look back at the Climate Fringe Festival and what we have achieved.
First of all, we’d like to extend a huge thank you to all involved – organisers and participants alike! Thank you for joining us in showing that Scotland is fully committed to meaningful action on climate change.
Spread of Climate Fringe Festival events

We’ve had over 70 events across the country, from Caithness and Sutherland to Dumfries and Galloway, from the Isle of Skye to Aberdeen, as well as several online events. Groups large and small from the full breadth of the climate movement were involved, from local climate action networks, to NGOs working across Scotland.

We saw not only groups mostly focused on environmental causes, but many others – ranging from local libraries, theatre productions and community trusts, to groups promoting inclusive representation of ethnic minorities and charities supporting people and families with additional needs.

This cross-sector engagement shows us that the climate and nature crises are intersectional at their core, and groups from across civil society are keen to be part of the change we need.

Considering we’ve moved the festival from a month in September to a single week in June, we are extremely pleased with the amount of engagement and enthusiasm organisers and participants alike have shown in being involved.

Edinburgh Canal Festival "Climate Fringe Zone", by Fountainbridge Canalside Community
Do What You Can, by Halladale Film Club

This festival, the Climate Fringe funded 7 groups, supporting them in taking part in this year’s festival and engaging their communities around themes of climate, nature and sustainability. We were delighted to be able to work with Black and Scot, Cosgrove Care, Fountainbridge Canalside Community Trust, Green Fingers & Blue Lights, Halladale Film Club, Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust, and Milan Senior Welfare Organisation.

We were also extremely pleased to partner up with Environmental Protection Scotland to celebrate Clean Air Day on the 15th June, exploring the links between Air Pollution and Climate Change. You can read the full article here and learn more about EPS and their campaigns here.

People's Health Assembly, by People's Health Movement Scotland
Pibroch, by Pibroch Productions (Photo by Graeme Roger)
Community Litter Pick, by Kingsway Community Connections
Seed Bomb making at Landemer Day, by Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust

The strength of the Climate Fringe lies in the diversity of groups involved. The festival has, once again, highlighted the diversity of the climate movement in Scotland. This is reflected in the many different events taking place.  These have ranged from local community festivals, swap shops and climate cafes, to film screenings, talks & webinars, theatre productions, book clubs, workshops and more.

Throughout the festival, crucial and relevant topics were discussed and brought to the spotlight, such as building climate action at a local level, how to engage decision-makers, the role of faith in ecological conversion, retrofitting homes to tackle the energy and climate crises, imagining utopian futures and much, much more!

You can watch the recording of one of such events below, in which Black and Scot explores the opportunities for Black people in the Green Economy.

Full recording of Black and Scot’s Opportunities for Black people in the Green Economy event, part of the Climate Fringe Festival

This year we’ve had some good local media coverage, from Fife Today to the Northern Times, and a motion in the Scottish Parliament. The motion was submitted by Fiona Hyslop MSP and supported be several MSPs, showing that community-led action is being noticed by our politicians.

It congratulates all organisers and acknowledges the role of the Climate Fringe Festival as a community-led series of events that highlights how much people across Scotland are already doing locally to address the climate and nature crises.

Climate Fringe Festival motion,
submitted to Scottish Parliament by Fiona Hyslop

Given last week’s news that Scotland has missed yet another emissions target, we must use this visibility to continue the push for meaningful change from our representatives. The Climate Fringe Festival is a testimony to the fact that climate action is at the forefront of people’s minds and that there is a clear mandate from the Scottish people to take bold action against the climate and nature crises.

All of this would not be possible without your efforts. Thank you!

Shrub Coop at the Fountainbridge Canal Festival
Another Wellie Good Idea, by Green Team East and Old Parish Church Forfar
Summerfest Cambuslang, by Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust
Stitch It Don't Ditch It at the Fountainbridge Canal Festival
Insulation vs Ventilation etc: How buildings ‘work’ in relation to retrofit, by Edinburgh Building Retrofit and Improvement Collective
Opportunities for Black People in the Green Economy, by Black and Scot
  • Bruno Santos

    Bruno coordinates the Climate Fringe platform and Climate Fringe Festival, working closely with event organisers to support and promote their work. Previously, he worked with the COP26 Coalition, collaborating with SCCS to develop a joint volunteering programme. He has been active within the Food Justice and Migrant Justice movements, co-founded the food collective Nourishing Change and coordinated food access operations for refugees and displaced people in Calais, France.