1000 Better Stories

Exploring the space where climate action meets social justice.

We hold a vision of a just and equitable, net-zero future Scotland reached through communities becoming empowered and resilient enough to grasp the opportunity to build a different, fairer society that regenerates our communities as well as our environment. Many glimpses of such a future already exist across Scotland as, often against significant odds, many communities are implementing locally developed solutions to meeting local needs. 

1000 Better Stories is about collecting and sharing these stories so as to build a new narrative to live by.  If you have a story to share, or if you would like to get involved in collecting and telling stories, please get in touch with one of our Story Weavers, Kaska or Joana: stories@scottishcommunitiescan.org.uk 

1000 Better Stories Blog

1000 Better Stories Podcast -see all episodes below (you can also find it on Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple podcasts, Podbean and all the other major podcasting apps):

Episode 19 – Creative collaborations for community climate justice

In this episode we start a conversation about how community organisations can benefit from collaborating with creative practitioners. We talk to Claire Durfour, Climate Creative Producer for Creative Dundee, about their CULTIVATE project which has been partnering creative practitioners with Tayside community organisations working in climate justice. We also chat to members of one of the partnerships, Pauline Lockhart and Carol Malone from Community First based in Forfar, Angus and their creative partners, Kirsty McKeown and Jenny Reid.

And to start us off you, will hear work by another one of SCCAN mini-grant recipients, Studio Youth Theatre in, Dumfries and Galloway. They show off a pilot episode of their brand new podcast, Blank Generation.

We will continue conversations about the value of creative collaborations in the next episode, due out in a couple of weeks.


Community First projects: 

Studio Theatre, Moffat  https://thestudiotheatre.co.uk/ 

Tayside Climate Beacon events in May and June: https://creativedundee.com/2022/05/2022-tayside-climate-beacon-event-series/

CULTIVATE https://creativedundee.com/cultivate/

Culture Collective https://www.culturecollective.scot/ 

Recording and editing: Kaska Hempel and Youth Studio Theatre, Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway

Production: Kaska Hempel

Episode 18 – Connecting to make a real difference now

Today’s storytellers, Mary Troup and Hazel Darwin-Clements, share personal reflections on how they were inspired to act on climate with their local communities. And on the often random, unplanned, messy and sometimes personally exhausting nature of what we all are trying to do. They both make a powerful case for working together with others so that we can spread our burdens, and so that we can keep ourselves motivated and sane in making a real difference.

We start with Mary’s brief piece, which she created during one of our Stories for Change workshops on finding and telling your climate action story. Through story and song she tells us about her involvement with COP26 and inspirations to set up a climate café.

Next, we hear from Hazel, one of the 8 recipients of our storyteller collective mini-grants. Her honest, first hand documentary about the first few months of setting up the Porty Community Fridge. What is a Community Fridge? How do we create projects that aren’t dependent on one person? Will coming face to face with food poverty divert a mission to reduce carbon consumption? 

The Porty Fridge has a Facebook page.  You can connect with Hazel @HazelDarEd on Twitter or find her at www.hazeldarwinclements.co.uk.

Recording and editing: Kaska Hempel and Hazel Darwin-Clements

Production: Kaska Hempel

Episode 17 – Walking for Hope and Stories for Change

The episode starts with a recording of a story “From fossil fuels shirt-and-tie to fossil-free hippie guy” shared by Bruce Donald, a net zero researcher for Thurso Development Trust. He was one of the participants in Paul Bristow’s January workshop on finding, writing and telling our climate action stories to better engage others in our communities. 

It’s followed by Phillip Revell’s uplifting story from Pilgrimage for COP26, with a couple of conversations about hope and coming together, beautifully illustrated with poetry and song. Philip spoke to two Pilgrimage participants David Gee about his book, ‘Hope’s work’, and to Olga Bloemen, one of the Pilgrimage organisers and a poet.

Pilgrimage songs were performed by Freedom of Mind Community Choir and written Karine Polwart. The Pilgrimage poem was written and performed by Olga Bloemen.

Recording and editing: Kaska Hempel and Philip Revell

Production: Kaska Hempel


Episode 16 – COP26 and community climate action in Scotland

Now that it’s all over, Kaska Hempel talks to SCCAN members about their participation in COP26, their most memorable moments and thoughts on what it all means for community climate action in Scotland.

Our guests included:

We also feature a wee teaser of another fab pod in our Scottish climate family – Local Zero. Check out their feed from last year for some excellent coverage of the events on the ground.


Episode recorded and edited by Kaska Hempel.

Includes excerpts from film about Tayport Climate Festival, shot and edited by Alex Caldow. Music from performance by Essa Flett.

Episode 15 – Magazine: Scottish climate podcast showcase

In August we published a collection of Scottish podcasts with focus on climate justice and action. This magazine episode is a companion to that blog, and it is showcasing 3 of the included shows.

We hear from Col Gordon about his Landed series with Farmerama radio (co-produced with Katie Revell), Catriona Spaven-Donn about United Nations House Scotland podcast – Connecting Women’s Voices on Climate Justice, and the PLANT Voices podcast from Tayport Community Garden.

Magazine episodes are just one thing we are trying out as ideas for SCCAN’s Storytellers Collective aimed at amplifying powerful stories helping everyone imagine the the future worth fighting for. To share your ideas and get involved get in touch with Kaska at stories@scottishcommunitiescan.org.

Storytellers Collective blog: https://www.scottishcommunitiescan.org.uk/category/blog/

Episode 14 – Land in community hands makes a difference for the planet

In today’s episode we have two stories in store for you. A brief update from Alex MacKenzie about Glasgow’s Lost Woods project and a conversation with Calum Macleod from Community Land Scotland about the Community landowners and the climate emergency report.

Lost Woods Project: https://www.thelostwoods.earth/about

Community Land Scotland: https://www.communitylandscotland.org.uk/

Community landowners and the climate emergency report: https://www.communitylandscotland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Community-Landowners-the-Climate-Emergency_Report.pdf

Additional materials relating to the report: https://www.communitylandscotland.org.uk/find-out-more/case-studies/

Lost Woods story was recorded and edited by Philip Revell

Interview with Calum Macleod was recorded and edited by Kaska Hempel

Episode 13 – Climate Cafes Connecting Communities

Climate Cafés are open, inclusive spaces for people to get together to talk and act on the climate emergency. Community-led, the movement has emerged from the heart of Scotland and there are now sister cafés around the world.

In this episode, and following the recent launch of the Climate cafe website, Philip Revell chats to Jess Pepper (Dunkeld and Birnam), Alison Stuart (Aberdeen Climate Action), Carol Aitken (Pitlochry) and Ruth Hunter Pepper (Sustaining North Berwick) to learn more about the value and importance of creating these spaces in our communities and how to go about setting one up.

Episode 12 – CoMoUk

A special episode of 1000 Better Stories, created with CoMoUk, the national charity for the public benefit of shared transport.

We chat with Dunblane Development Trust and Arran Eco Savvy about the success of their community ebike schemes

Episode 11 – Pockets of Hope

As we emerge from our hibernation, we reflect on the challenges the last year has presented for social isolation, and hear about social enterprises who are ‘Collaborating in Communities to Improve Mental Health’ with the support of the Pockets and Prospects fund. And we have two stories of personal climate action from our recent storytelling training day.

Episode 10 – Zero Waste Pantry

A conversation with Ross Ahlfeld of Inverclyde Community Development Trust, discussing the development of the community pantry the organisation is running in partnership with Inverclyde Council. In 3 months, 400 members have signed up for the new service which addresses food insecurity and food waste.

Episode 9 – Community Energy

Our first 1000 better Stories podcast of 2021 explores community led energy initiatives across Scotland, from the difference it can make, to the challenges still to be overcome. We hear from Greener Kirkcaldy, Cosy Kingdom, Orkney Renewable Energy Forum, Barra and Vatersay Community Limited and Linlithgow Community Development Trust, all pioneers with practical experience of making community energy work.

Episode 8 – Winterings

For our final episode of 2020, we present a selection box of festive treats – book recommendations from some of our previous guests and some wintery themed eco-folk tales for you to enjoy by the fireside, or crunching through the morning frost.

Episode 7 – Stories for Change

As part of the European Day of Sustainable Communites, SCCAN ran a number of “story days”, working with people to create, record and share personal stories inspired by climate action. Here are a selection of the stories for you to enjoy, including songs, fables, poems and reflections. The work was supported by funding from ECOLISE.

Episode 6 – A Garden of Plenty

Our final stop on our virtual visit to Dunbar, is Belhaven Community Garden, before we hear some final thoughts on the power of community from the volunteers of Tyninghame Village Hall.

Episode 5 – Making and Mending

Our virtual visit to Dunbar continues, chatting cookery and food with the Community Carrot and repair and renewal with the East Linton Repair Cafe. And some glorious, hopeful singing from the Dunbar community choir too…

Episode 4 – Infinite Imagination

In October, Paul spent a few days virtually visiting Dunbar. In the first of three episodes exploring the transition town, we hear from development trust Sustaining Dunbar and reflect on the life, work and resonance of conservationist John Muir, who is celebrated in a new exhibition in the town.

Episode 3 – Black Lives Matter

In September, Professor Sir Geoff Palmer spoke as part of our Tuesdays4Climate programme, to explore Black Lives and Climate Justice. Sir Geoff explored the issue with a historical perspective and so we felt it would be appropriate for us to share his words again as part of Black History Month.

Episode 2 – Lost Woods and Forgotten Orchards

Looking for inspiration from the outdoors, we chat with Alex Mackenzie of The Lost Woods and Emily Reid of Eco Drama, two projects based in Glasgow who are inspiring young people in their communities to think differently about urban spaces.

Episode 1 – Fashion and Food

A message from Paul: “Something I’ve heard quite a few times since becoming SCCAN’s Story Weaver, is that people and projects can sometimes feel a little as if they are just plugging away, doing their best, hoping it makes a difference. And of course, it is making a difference – and viewed as part of a collective effort, there’s been so much distance travelled. Certainly, there is much more to be done, urgently – but we also need more people to understand that change is possible, to inspire new volunteers and projects. That’s the starting point for our new podcast series, 1000 Better Stories.

Over the coming months, we’ll be hearing from all sorts of groups and organisations, from folks involved in community land purchases through to rewilding programmes and outdoor learning. We want to give time and space to as many people as possible to showcase the cultural shifts that are already happening and to help build the momentum for more positive change. And we want to hear from you too.

In August, I ran an introductory story event, which suggested that we all have a responsibility to become storytellers, sharing what we have done with as many other people as possible, not just keeping it to ourselves. So I’m hoping to hear from many more people across the network who want to share their story of community led climate action. If you’re not sure how best to tell that story, then come along to one of our training events, or look out for the sessions we will be running later in the year. 

In the meantime, please enjoy this first episode of the podcast, which features Belville Community Garden and RIG Arts, both from my home town of Greenock in Inverclyde.” 

Please share your stories from your community! Please contact Stories@scottishcommunitiescan.org.uk

Our previous podcast series ‘Future Voices’ can be found HERE.