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Trim Tabs Wanted: System Change in Progress

As we approach the end of Scotland’s Climate week and head towards Challenge Poverty week, this seems a good time to reflect on the deep connection between the climate & nature emergency and rising inequality, as well as on the role of community led action to tackle both.

Environmental and social breakdown are the inevitable consequences of an economic system based on the exploitation of both natural and social resources in the pursuit of continuous economic growth. As the American economist Kenneth Boulding famously quipped way back in the early 70s, and Sir David Attenborough echoed more recently:

“Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”

Wait a minute, I hear you say: if these are systemic issues, what can communities do to deal with them?

Perhaps we can take a leaf out of Buckminster Fuller’s aspiration to be a ‘trim tab’:

“Think of the Queen Mary — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go. So I said, call me Trim Tab.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me. If an individual can be a ‘trim tab’, think how much more we can achieve being ‘trim tabs’ together!

Here are a couple of local initiatives already under way:

The Moray Local Action Group, with support from tsiMORAY and the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, is developing a community led vision for Moray, intended to inform, inspire and support the role of community led action in a just transition to a wellbeing economy.

The vision is based on insights about community needs and aspirations distilled from recent funding applications from Moray community groups. It is intended to provide an overarching long-term and evolving vision of the kind of place we want Moray to be, and an inspiration to decision-makers and communities in Moray and beyond. We are still working on a first public version, and will be looking for groups and individuals to help us both refine the vision and making progress towards achieving it. Have a look at Moray Local Action Group ( or get in touch through for further information and to get involved.

The Moray climate hub, known as Moray CAN (Climate Action Network) was launched on 31 August. Hosted and facilitated by tsiMORAY, Moray CAN is designed to build on and support the further development of existing groups already engaged in climate action and just transition, to help them reach even deeper in their communities, to further raise awareness of climate change, and to enable more community led action to address the associated challenges.

We can support community groups to develop their plans to tackle the climate and nature emergency or to support a just transition, and we have funds to distribute through small grants for projects ready to roll. We can fund training courses and learning exchanges, covering participant costs and hosts or trainers fees if needed. And we will organise events and gatherings for people to share learning and plan further action. Moray CAN will eventually have its own website.

In the meantime, you can keep an eye on the tsiMORAY | Connected People Creating Change website, or join the network and mailing list by emailing

Trim Tabs wanted: come and join us!

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