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Environment action on Callander community agenda with climate change fringe

Callander hosted a festival aimed at tackling climate change last week.

The Callander Climate Change Fringe was staged after members of the community with a strong commitment to a net zero carbon future decided to bring a festival programme about climate change to the town.

It was planned to coincide with the national Climate Fringe Week, held between September 18-26.

The opening event was Callander Climate Questions, organised with the participation of McLaren High School, with all the questions being posed by the students.

The event was held at Callander Youth Hostel with a live, socially-distanced audience of about 40 people.

The panel included: Martin Earl, (chair of panel) Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park representative and Stirling Council ward councillor; Evelyn Tweed MSP; Susan Holden, chair of Callander Community Council; Mike Cantlay OBE, chair of NatureScot; Michelle Francis, deputy chair of SEPA; and Neil Kitching, a local Dunblane-based energy specialist and author of “Carbon Choices: Common-sense Solutions to our Climate and Nature Crises”.

A ranges of questions were raised and topics included – the ecological priorities of each of the town’s organisations; heating of homes; plans to mitigate climate change in the community; how to tackle single use plastics, including their elimination in schools and more sustainable menu ingredients; the benefits brought by climate change; and what can be done to alleviate the problem.

Councillor Martin Earl said: “It was a privilege to chair this event. I was really impressed by the insightful questions posed by the students and the quality of the replies from the panel. Events like this are essential to ensure we all engage with these defining issues of our time. Increasing our collective knowledge at community level is key to building a positive and engaged ‘can do’ attitude.”

Stirling MSP Evelyn Tweed said: “I had a terrific time at the event, and it was great to see so many young people and members of the community enthused and engaged in one of the defining issues of our times.

“Reducing climate emissions and mitigating the impact of climate change on our communities will require ambitious vision and innovative means of delivery.”

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Susan Holden, chair of Callander Community Council added: “This event was put together by the community, for the community, and stands testament to the terrific sense of duty residents demonstrate here in Callander to be engaged in these issues.

“Climate change cuts across all political boundaries and persuasions, and its effects will be felt by multiple generations to come. By facilitating a bespoke programme of events here in Callander, volunteers really do hope to provide the space and platform for important conversations on climate change, mitigation and action.

“It’s vital for young people to be fully engaged in the debate, and for all of us living in Callander and Stirling to do what we can to reduce climate emissions in our own lives – and put pressure on politicians and policymakers to take action now to head off catastrophe.

“It was good to have the opportunity to respond to the students’ questions and to share views with the other panellists. I hope this conversation can carry on, possibly within the Callander Community Council framework.”

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