One year ago today I was writing about launching Teach the Future Scotland, explaining our background and asks.
Now, one year on, we have made more progress than we could have imagined. We have had many key moments and achievements with even more exciting plans in the works.
On July 6th 2020 Teach the Future Scotland launched with a banner drop outside of the Scottish Parliament. As well as this we sent letters to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister who was Education Secretary at the time.
In August we met with John Swinney for the first time to discuss our asks and their implementation. A proportion of this discussion revolved around the ways in which climate education was linked to human rights, leading a group of campaign members to write a document of these instances. Following this call, the Deputy First Minister considered our asks before meeting us again in the new year.
In December our campaign members worked hard to write and promote a last minute letter to the cabinet regarding new school buildings and retrofits which were announced. The letter asking for these to be carbon neutral reached 288 signatories including politicians in three days.
Over the past months we have been lobbying councils to make local changes and encourage the government to make national changes. Some of our successes include Fife council passing a motion of support for the campaign.
From January to April 2021 we ran a series of events to allow young people to engage with their politicians regarding the climate emergency in the run up to the election. This was a key part of our election campaign and was very successful in engaging politicians with the campaign and building connections.
In addition to ‘The Future Speaks’ we helped organise ‘The Climate Hotseat’ and its pre-event with Youthlink Scotland. This was a productive way of engaging with party leaders in the run up to the election.
Another key success of our election campaign was our participation in the week of action in April in line with our last ‘The Future Speaks’ event. This involved campaigners doing banner drops around the country backed up by projections in Glasgow and Edinburgh highlighting our campaign in the major cities.
As a result of our election campaign and work with political parties climate education was mentioned in four out of five main party manifestos including SNP, Scottish Labour Party, Scottish Green Party and Scottish Liberal Democrats.
Teach the Future Scotland was part of a group of organisations and universities which ran three events around Education for Climate Justice from March to June 2021. Campaign members participated in the organising team and some took part in panels during the events.
Following our meetings with John Swinney the team has participated in a series of meetings with government advisors and stakeholders discussing the details of our asks and their implementations. Our initial meetings have taken place and we are now moving onto the next stage of evaluating discussions and information in the hope of putting together a policy brief for the new cabinet secretary.
Teach the Future Scotland’s success has been immense in such a short time. I am proud to be part of such a campaign and I cannot wait to see the progress we continue to make with COP26 coming up and the recent OECD review recommendations for the Scottish Education System.