Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) started in 1978 by a group of passionate people motivated to fight for environmental justice. With just a small group of volunteers in a basement room, FoES has evolved into Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation, consisting of a 20-strong staff team based in a city centre eco-office. All of this has been made possible by our fantastic loyal supporters.

1969David Brower founds Friends of the Earth in San Francisco as a radical splinter of the Sierra Club
1970 FoE UK is born and local groups spring up across the country
1971 FoE UK’s first campaign action – returning thousands of empty bottles to Cadbury-Schweppes to promote re-use
1972 First Scottish FoE local group formed in Edinburgh
1977 First joint meeting of all Scottish local groups
1978 Board of FoE UK gives formal approval to an independent organisation in Scotland and an inaugural meeting is held on 16 December, thanks in large part to efforts by Mairi MacArthur, FoE Edinburgh member and first Chair of FoE International. The Scottish public votes against devolution in a referendum – FoES will have to wait 21 years before it has the chance to work with the Scottish Parliament
1979 First full time Co-ordinator is appointed. First national campaign launched – to protect the otter
1980 FoES becomes legally independent from FoE Ltd, now known in the network as FoE EWNI (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
1981 Campaigns launched to protect endangered species and against nuclear power
1982 FoES takes lead on FoE International campaign on acid rain
1984 Scottish Freedom of Information Act campaign launched with our support
1987 Xanthe Jay becomes first full time campaigner. Campaign win stops the planting of 759 acres of non-native conifers in Perthshire
1989 CFC-free campaign launched by dumping old fridge on steps of Scottish Office
1991 Kevin Dunion appointed as first Director of FoES
1992 Scotland’s largest tropical hardwood importer suspends dealing with its major supplier following FoES’s exposure of malpractice in Brazil
1994 Campaign launched to stop super-quarry at Lingerbay in South Harris
1995 Campaign launched to stop Scotland from being world’s nuclear dustbin
1998 Residents in village of Greengairs discover toxic PCBs being dumped in a local rubbish tip. With our assistance, campaign launched that will result in improvements in every Scottish rubbish tip
1999 Environmental Justice and GM Free Scotland campaigns launched
2000 Our support helps campaigners in Kirknewton shut landfill that has been operating without planning permission
2002 First Minister Jack McConnell pledges to address Environmental Justice in his key-note speech
2003 Duncan McLaren takes over as Chief Executive. Our Green Office website and handbook launched
2005 FoES launches appeal for £30,000 to take Scottish Ministers to court over their decision to over-rule the independent inquiry that recommended that the M74 extension should not be built
2007 UK Government publishes draft Climate Bill after Big Ask campaign led by Friends of the Earth. FoES launches Communities Reducing Excess Waste (CREW) project
2009 FoES celebrates success of Big Ask Scotland campaign as the Scottish Climate Change Act – the strongest climate legislation in the industrialised world – receives Royal Assent
2010 Power of Scotland research published demonstrating that Scotland can generate all of our electricity needs from renewables – months later the Scottish Government announces 100% renewable electricity by 2020 target
2011 Our intervention in a Supreme Court case leads to an important change in Scots law on who can take public interest cases to court
2012 Together with many other organisations and campaigners we succeed in stopping a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston
2013 Dr Richard Dixon returns to Friends of the Earth Scotland as the organisation’s new Director. After years of targeting RBS for its financing of fossil fuels, the bank bows to pressure and stops financing companies mining coal by mountain-top removal. We launch a major new Air Pollution campaign.
2014 We fight Dart Energy’s plans for coalbed methane extraction at Airth in a public inquiry alongside the local community
2015 The Scottish Government announces a moratorium on shale gas fracking and coalbed methane thanks to huge community resistance and our campaign
2016 The Scottish Government announces plans for a new Climate Change Act to deliver the Paris Agreement and to deliver a Low Emission Zone by 2018, they also ban Underground Coal Gasification
2017 60,000 people tell the Scottish Government they want fracking banned
2018We took over Edinburgh’s streets for Car Free day to highlight better ways to use our streets, intervened in the court case to fight for Scotland’s fracking ban and built support for fossil fuel divestment
2019Youth Climate Strikers take to the streets; Young FoE Scotland goes from strength to strength and Extinction Rebellion captures the media attention. The UN Climate Talks are announced to be coming to Glasgow. The Scottish Parliament passes a new Climate Act for Scotland, at the time the strongest climate legislation in the world, committing to 70% cuts in emissions by 2030 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
2020We begin to campaign on a Just and Green Recovery after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 The COP26 Climate Talks come to Glasgow in November, seeing the largest ever climate march in Scotland and the UK. People power forced the oil giant Shell to pull out of the Cambo oil field, leading to the project being paused. The Scottish Government backs away from its ‘drill every drop’ policy.
Climate Emergency road sign outside Holyrood