This July, Friends of the Earth Scotland held our first ever Summer Weekender. Over 100 people came together in the beautiful settings of Wiston Lodge for three days of ideas and action to build a strong and diverse climate movement to create the Fossil Free Scotland we need.

With an exciting programme bursting at the seams with workshops, panel debates, practical sessions and film screenings, the event brought together people from across Scotland to network, learn, make friends and share strategies.

We got stuck into campaigning with workshops on fracking, migrant rights, air pollution, the Climate Bill, food sovereignty, divestment, community energy and more. We developed our activist skills with participatory sessions on sustaining groups, lobbying, digital campaigning, know your rights, non-violent direct action and avoiding burn out. And we hosted a drop-in creative space for people to take a go at upcycling, lino printing, banner-making, singing and theatre of the oppressed.

Here’s a sample of some of the feedback from participants, who ranged from 2 to 82 years old!

“The FOES Weekender was just terrific! Two things stood out: firstly, everybody talked to everybody else – there were no cliques or ‘in-groups’, and the safe space meant that everybody, irrespective of background or knowledge, could have their point of view listened to. Secondly, it was a gathering of wonderful people, involved in the most amazing projects, and it was a privilege to spend time with them all. Overall hugely inspiring and energising – well done FOES!!”

– Michael

“I found the gathering inspirational. When so many people gather together with common passions about saving the planet the energy is palpable. It’s so beneficial to share ideas and experiences. Thank you to all the organisers.”

– Jenny

“A brilliant weekend with many varied workshops and activities, music was good with Caro Bridges on the Friday night and the Ceilidh Science band on the Saturday night. I watched The YERT film screening too which was very interesting. Although I am not a vegan I actually found the food very palatable and something different to my normal tastes. The walk up Tinto Hill on Sunday morning was an experience simply for the view and seeing all the wind turbines. It was good to talk to other like-minded people and hear their points of view and I intend going to further Summer Weekender events in the future.”

– Neil

“An absolutely wonderful weekend with so much to do, so many people to meet, and a great atmosphere. The atmosphere created at the Summer Weekender was absolutely wonderful and that requires a lot of work. I’ve learnt a lot about the Climate Bill which I’m going to be talking about at our next Friends of the Earth Edinburgh public meeting.”

– Mark

“I loved the workshops which included self-care, with Alastair McIntosh and Tripod. I’m going to focus more on meditation and sorting some personal problems which will have a good impact on my commitment and motivation in activism. The event organisation was very good: diversity, interest in building safe spaces. I loved the diversity in the group.”

–Young Friends of the Earth Scotland member

And what’s next? We hope the Summer Weekender has left you feeling energised and eager to get stuck into environmental activism in Scotland. Here’s three things you can do now:

(1) Join Friends of the Earth Scotland

We don’t take money from corporations which means we rely on our members to help keep us radical and independent. A donation of just £3 a month will enable us to keep campaigning for climate justice in Scotland and globally.

(2) Take action on the Climate Bill

With the current consultation on new climate legislation, now is the time to take action to let the Scottish Government know that we need much tougher targets and stronger action on emissions to be true to the Paris Agreement.

(3) Find your local group

Our local groups are at the forefront of working for an environmentally sustainable and socially just world. Find one near you to get stuck into local campaigns, events and projects, including the upcoming Fossil Free international days of action this October. We’ll be taking action to say no to fracking – not here, not anywhere!