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A time to Reflect and explore: Lessons in Resilience with Pam Candea and the Surefoot Effect.

Yesterday I was given time to breathe and reflect on all of the work I have achieved at Fife Climate Hub. I attended a group workshop with Pam Candea from The Surefoot Effect who asked What is resilience? She said it is not to make you tougher but to breakthrough using the lessons of adversity. This is resilience and its about fostering good mental health.

The session was a taster of the Future Conversations workshops that The Surefoot Effect offers

“Taking action is important but looking after ourselves comes first,” said Pam in her calming hypnotic voice. Myself and the half a dozen other attendees from community groups across Fife and beyond all settled in and began to relax and take in what Pam was saying.

Pam described a Future Conversations workshop she had held at a community garden in Drumchapel, one of the most deprived parts of Glasgow where she held eight sessions over a number of weeks resulting in creating resilience for the group to go on and successfully set up their garden and produce food for soup, distributing this across their community during the pandemic.

But this session was a taster, a chance to explore some of the tools she offers. We were asked to draw a tree. Starting with the roots we thought about the roots of our lives, family, place home etc and the nourishment they give. Then we drew the trunk; the structures we have around us like work or groups we are members of and finally the branches, all of the things we give out. Looking at our pictures we reflected on the balance of the drawing. Were the roots small, the branches too many?

Then we were asked to do a ‘active listening’ exercise. Listening intently to each other in pairs for a few minutes without interruption or judgement. This calmed us all right down. The experience of being listened to, even for a few minutes was refreshing and nourishing. Eco anxieties began to be shared and dissipated. “Don’t you think that if everyone listened and really heard what the other person had to say the world would be a much better place,” said Pam.

Gratitude was the next tool. I was inspired by the idea of writing a ‘gratitude diary’, writing down three things I’m grateful for every day. “Sharing this with others is the first step to group resilience,” said Pam.    

Finally were introduced a book: ‘Active Hope. How to face the Mess We are in with Unexpected Resilience and Power’ by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnson. The book explains the three stories of our time

  1. The Great Unravelling (Covid 19, climate change)
  2. Business as Usual (people carrying on regardless)
  3. The Great Turning (people who will lead our future in a more sustainable direction)

The book is a new one to me and I was pleased to be introduced to the Great turning as a concept. There is hope in the number of people who are part of this and Pam pointed out that most of us experience all three of stories at once most of the time. The idea that we all share these stories is hopeful in itself.

My takeaways from the event was a new book to buy and recommend to others, the idea of the gratitude diary and a story from one of our break out groups where we discussed our hopes and fears. One participant was concerned at the amount of flying her friends had done this year and how they seemed unwilling to talk about it. Meanwhile a second person said that she was now looking at this type of resistance as a positive as it meant that this push-back was a sign that the person was aware and doing internal work on it. So resitence is good and the change is happening.

If you can find out more about Pam Candea and The Surefoot Effect’s Future Conversations and look into her courses for your community group if you can.

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This guide is designed to help community groups tackling climate change maximise their success by taking account of how change happens when planning, carrying out and reviewing their activities. Shifting normal - designing projects to tackle climate change: full guide - nan
Community Climate Action Toolkit. Easy-to-use tools and resources, to develop your group understand your local situation, to move into meaningful action. Community Climate Action Toolkit | The Schumacher Institute nan
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Where you have come from before: Before joining the Fife Climate Hub team I had two jobs I was the Sustainable Transport Officer for Transition University St Andrews and I worked as a Communications Advisor for Fife Council

I am a passionate communicator with a big interest in climate and biodiversity. I began this journey when I was asked to cover the GM Crop Trials in the Highlands as a young reporter for the Press & Journal. I realised that I wanted to be part of the solution and not on the sidelines reporting it.  

One small change I would recommend getting the train for your next holiday. It’s a fantastic adventure and once you get out of the UK the trains are much more relaxed and you feel on holiday straight away. On the Eurostar on to Paris even the toasties are served with a plate, a napkin and a French accent! 

Sean Flinn

Where you have come from before:

I have worked and volunteered in science communication since my undergraduate and have formal qualifications as both a youth worker and science teacher. I have a background in marine conservation and have briefly worked in conservation research. Previously I ran a project working with young people on the topics of climate change and the biodiversity crisis. I have used my experience to help upskill other educators based on the lessons I have learned. 

One small change you would make to make the world a greener, fairer place:  

Is to question everything you read or hear especially online! There is a lot of information out there and it can be overwhelming; especially when much of it is intentionally misleading!

GilIian Napier

Where you have come from before: Worked with my partner in his print business, doing everything except put ink on paper! I have also worked for the National Child-minding Association and the various Local Authorities in England. 

One small change: Ask everyone to celebrate their small wins whether it be buying second hand clothing to planting a patio tree on your balcony.  It all helps.

Where you have come from before: Before joining the Fife Climate Hub

Craig Leitch Fife Climate Hub Manager
Craig Leitch Fife Climate Hub Manager

team I worked for Greener Kirkcaldy and on the Climate Action Fife Project. My role was to deliver climate literacy training and inspire climate action. I also supported FCCAN as their secretariat.

My background is in wildlife conservation where I mainly worked to share the joys of nature with people as a ranger, leading guided walks and as education officer.  

One small change is to talk to people about climate change. Share your worries and celebrate your positive actions. You really do have power to influence those around you.  

Alternatively: buy (and sell)  second hand. There are so many apps out there now to help with this. This means fewer emissions, fewer things going to landfill and it saves you money.