Act Now: Climate Emergency

Monday, 3 February 2020

Climate Emergency – Act Now!

Woodcraft Folk have been taking action on climate change and sustainability for many decades. Since January 2019 increasing numbers of Woodcraft Folk young members joined school strikes to demand our government declare a climate emergency and take action. In February 2019, Woodcraft Folk’s Trustee Board issued the following statement:


“Climate change is the most urgent issue of our time. Yet not enough is being done. Children and young people are taking action because the adults entrusted with making policy decisions are not doing enough to address the impending climate crisis.  

As an organisation committed to the principles of 'One World' and 'The Rights of the Child', we are supporting young members to explore their right to strike and climate change issues. Resources to help you explore these topics include our Right to Strike activity packand the All Together Against Climate Change Handbook.


Many young members of Woodcraft Folk have chosen to take part in the school strikes, including the UK day of action on the 15th February. By exploring related activities in their regular group nights, we are enabling children and young people to develop a critical awareness of the world and take action on issues which they care about.”


A further statement was made in May 2019 in response to requests from young members and following the Government’s declaration that we were facing a climate emergency:


“Climate change is the most urgent issue of our time. We therefore welcome the Government’s declaration of a climate emergency and eagerly await further action to be taken to address this emergency.


Woodcraft Folk recognises the crucial role played by children and young people in bringing about this declaration. In particular we admire the actions of school strikers across the UK and around the world, and the inspiration that they have drawn from Greta Thunberg.”


Woodcraft Folk’s AGM in June 2019 passed the following motions:


  1. This AGM agrees that all national and regional camps should be using sustainable energy sources to produce 100% of the electricity used on all camps as soon as possible. We propose that a lot more research should be done to explore alternatives to using gas for cooking.


  1. This Annual General Meeting notes that, on 6 May 2019, the United Nations published its "Global Assessment Report" - a comprehensive health check on the state of our planet. The stark message is that the world's life support systems, on which humans depend, are in trouble. Remedies are possible but they require urgent, transformative actions.

This meeting additionally notes that despite the environmental emergency facing the world’s population, including the threat to those living in the UK, not enough is being done by the adults entrusted with making policy decision to address the crisis.


This Annual General Meeting therefore instructs General Council, as a matter of urgency, to:


  • Declare an environmental emergency
  • Establish and support a working group to provide educational information about the environmental crisis and how to talk about it.
  • Further task the working group to provide information and support on how groups and young people can effectively campaign on this issue.


Action taken


Since declaring a climate emergency in June 2019, Woodcraft Folk have undertaken the following activity:


  1. Hosted Venturer Camp using only electricity generated from renewable solar energy.
  2. Contributed to climate research by Ten Years Time.
  3. With funding from the National Voluntary Youth Organisations of Scotland Fund, we have developed a new educational resource; Act Now – jam packed of activities for Elfins, Pioneers and Venturers.
  4. Attracted funding from the National Association of Environmental Education to support a peer education project around climate change, engaging young people in climate science education.
  5. Established decarbonisation groups to review our residential centres with the aim of reducing their carbon footprint and use of fossil fuels
  6. Working in partnership with Friends of the Earth to facilitate a symposium looking at best practice in supporting the emotional wellbeing of young people as they learn about and take action on climate change issues
  7. Attracted funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering to train 50 engineers in public engagement so they can share engineering solutions to the climate emergency.
  8. Lobbying charitable Trusts and Foundation, in partnership with Ten Years Time, asking them to review their financial investments and support environmentally friendly initiatives
  9. Contributed to the development of the IFM-SEI Resist: The Global Climate Divide project


We are now seeking to influence our partner organisations to prioritise the climate emergency and take action now.