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Scotland's United Nations Recognised Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development

Meet our Members: Fiona Ross, Carse of Gowrie Sustainability Group

In the first of our Meet our Members series, we meet:
Fiona Ross – chair of the Carse of Gowrie Sustainability Group. Fiona is a hugely inspiring and positive member of the Learning for Sustainability Scotland network and plays an active part on our SDGs task group.

Here she talks about her interest in the Sustainable Development Goals and how the framework can be used to engage her community. She also reviews our latest event held on 6 November 2017, hosted jointly by our LFS & Communities task group and our Sustainable Development Goals tLfS Scotland blog guidance and outline docsask group: Taking Action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals across Communities and Schools.


Attending the ‘Taking action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals across communities and schools event’ on the 6th November 2017.

I have been involved with the Learning for Sustainability SCOTLAND task force taking forward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) via my role as a community activist and Chair of the Carse of Gowrie Sustainability Group.  This time last year, I took a step back whilst doing my MSc in Sustainability at Dundee University, a roller coaster for a fifty-four-year-old woman with an arts background.  However, I made it (whoop!) and I’m now able to reconnect with other things, including Learning for Sustainability SCOTLAND.

I attended the event with my colleague and our Group Secretary, Coral Bell. The event introduced the SDGs to Coral and re-engaged me with the framework they offer in bringing climate change, sustainability and low carbon futures (amongst other things) into the mainstream. We arrived in sustainable style – by electric car, pulling into the City Chambers forecourt and plugging-in to park and charge during the conference. We had not been to this venue before and we were both so impressed with the centrality of the venue for an event, including a fabulous downtown parking location for the electric car.

During my studies at Dundee University, the SDGs were not dealt with directly which, on reflection, seems a bit ironic. In looking at the bigger academic picture, I’d lost sight that the SDGs are key in representing 17 areas of the three pillars of sustainable development: planet, people, profit. However, the 17 goals were omnipresent, just not highlighted as a concept.

Coral and I quickly began to look at how we can embed the SDGs more effectively in our community work. This comes with a specific focus within the Carse of Gowrie Sustainability Group’s junior division, the Junior Carsonians (JC’s) who represent the six Carse Primary Schools – about 1000 children. The JC’s meet regularly to work collectively on climate change projects, often taking the work back to their own schools to be further developed and we’ll work towards using the Sustainable Development Goals to enhance their hard work.

All the presentations at the event were great in sharing ideas and projects that are happening across Scotland.  Email, twitter and facebook are all well and good but having the chance to sit, talk and debate with a diverse group of people for a few hours can just have great impact.  As Coral and I love a ‘bit of a debate’ we thoroughly enjoyed the group discussions which had a good amount of time allocated.

I’d just like to say thank you to the organisers and everyone’s generosity in sharing their experiences and expertise.

By the event close, the car was fully charged and ready to make the fifty-mile journey home!! Suffice to say, the conversation never stopped as Coral and I chatted enthusiastically about the day and how we can implement action in the Carse of Gowrie.

If you would like to introduce yourself and your work to our Learning for Sustainability Scotland community, or if you have a blog article you would like to write for us – download our blog guides and send your article to Abi Cornwall, Development Officer.