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International - welcome to our new international section which we'll be developing in coming weeks

This document is an ‘in progress’ piece providing a useful framework around which we can work. It is open to review.

CPA logo ScotlandBackground

This document is a summary of the results of the working groups convened for the purpose of bringing our shared ideas together in a single document. Many thanks to all for your individual and collective efforts. 


After 250 years of fossil-fuelled growth, climate change challenges us to innovate a new approach based around an attitude to life that is necessarily very different to what we are used to. Among other things, this may include embracing clean energy supplies, understanding the meaning of sustainability and participating in an equitable society. The challenges that we face in rapidly adopting such changes are considerable, and not least of these difficulties are emotional, psychological and structural obstacles. This is why we believe that a psycho-social approach can help us to negotiate the future in the most positive way.

The Psycho-Social Approach

Psycho-social approaches to climate change are concerned with understanding the non-rational, unconscious and emotional dimensions of our individual, collective and social difficulties in making and agreeing to positive changes in the face of the dangerous, life threatening effects climate change.


We will use a psycho-social approach to encourage research and actions that work towards positive change in the response to climate change. This approach provides the lens that we will apply to the objectives below.

• Enable people in positions of influence, including Scottish Government and politicians at all levels, to better make decisions on climate change.
• To share knowledge, training and interpretation of psycho-social perceptions around climate change; to enable members to use this approach to enable positive change across Scotland.
• To initiate an inclusive dialogue across a wide range of interest communities within Scotland about climate change and our collective future.

Addressing needs and possible developments

To increase the understanding of complexities and contradictions when facing climate change, and improve the understanding of the unconscious psycho-social processes that influence responses to climate change.

To enable us to move away from the adversarial, black and white positions towards a common cause where the theoretical and practical aspects of communication are drawn together to produce positive change.

Structure (TBC)

We will utilise the formal CPA structure for formal membership of the CPA, but act as a collective in Scotland, supporting the psycho-social approach across all areas of research and action on climate change.

CPA-Scotland members will join CPA UK as CPA Scotland members and will then receive member benefits, including free attendance at forthcoming CPA—Scotland events. Non-members will pay a nominal fee.

Membership is open to any individual in any sector, who is committed to CPA Scotland’s psycho-social approach to climate change and is based in Scotland.

CPA-Scotland will annually elect two co-conveners/Chairs (male and female), a secretary and define other roles as required. We currently have a web coordinator.

CPA-Scotland will aim to meet every 4-6 weeks, alternating between Glasgow and Edinburgh, with Skype available from Highlands and Islands.

We will hold a members’ day annually in the 1st quarter of each year.

Research & Actions

The collective will invite ideas for research and action, present ideas at regular meetings, inviting collaboration and support. This reflects the wide range of differing areas our members represent and the need to support personal professional approaches.

We will use accessible, positive language in assisting government, educational institutions & businesses to use psycho-social approaches.

We aim to provide a new story of economic, social and ethical growth, working with not on top of nature, that can replace the fossil-fuel-driven approach that is driving climate change.

We embrace social justice and an equitable society as a strong future society, and an economy not based on endless growth but one that provides for our needs and those of future generations.

Our work areas will be led by the collective’s members, and will use a psycho-social lens in encompassing areas such as mitigation, adaptation, social justice, sociology, economics, history, philosophy, spiritual and religious, organisations promoting less consumption and better use of resources, and working with the Scottish Government on policy and actions.

Reporting & Media

We will use the Scotland webpage at CPA UK to blog, promote and report on our activities. There is already a CPA-Scotland working group Facebook page and we will start a public-facing Facebook page (TBC).

We will develop presentations outlining the psycho-social approach and how it benefits us and society.

Document summarized by John Thorne from the summaries of the workgroups; reviewed by Julian Manley following CPA Scotland meeting 02.10.17