Author Archives: Anna Beswick

Resilience pioneers – insights from Glasgow

Frankie Barrett, Sustainability Officer at Glasgow City Council, shares his reflections on Glasgow’s pioneering work to address long-term resilience challenges . 

The history of Glasgow presents an extraordinary story of a city that has remained resilient through over 250 years of successive shocks and stresses that have produced massive disparities in income, health and opportunity.

With an ambition to be one of the most sustainable cities in Europe, we are recovering steadily from a post-industrial legacy of social, economic and environmental shock. By drawing on cultural assets, investing in major regeneration programmes and diversifying the business sector, the city has done much to remedy its symptoms as Buchanan Street, Glasgowthe “sick man of Europe”.

But the journey is not over and our resilience continues to be tested by shifting macroeconomic trends, poverty and deprivation, and health inequalities. We have no choice but to continuously develop our ability to function in the face of challenging situations and recover from disasters.

It is in this light that Glasgow joined the 100 Resilient Cities Network, an initiative pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation. The 100 Resilient Cities Network has provided us with a unique opportunity to reflect on our capacity for managing the known and unknown shocks and stresses that are a growing part of city life. Amongst the most urgent challenges are climate change threats and the need to safeguard the city against long-term climate risks Continue reading

Maintaining and adapting Scotland’s trunk roads

Graham Edmond is Head of Network Maintenance for Transport Scotland and is leading efforts to ensure that Scotland’s trunk roads are maintained and adapted to the impacts of climate change. He shares his views on the challenge of adapting to climate change.

I am responsible for the maintenance of Scotland’s 3,600 km strategic trunk road and motorway network.  Long term thinking is necessary as good maintenance is all about maximising the life of a vital asset to the economy and protecting the considerable investment we are making in new and improved roads.  A well maintained road can be a wonderful way to view our outstanding scenery but my job is not without its challenges.

Of all of the challenges we face, climate change is perhaps the most important.  We have set challenging targets for carbon reduction but these must be equally balanced by those for adaptation.  Transport Scotland leads the transport sectors adaptation work for the Scottish Government and as well as my maintenance role I am also managing this adaptation work for the Agency. Road transport in particular is critical to the functioning of the economy, even more so in parts of Scotland where isolated rural communities face lengthy and costly diversions when road links are cut by flooding, landslides or fallen trees.  Predictions suggest a stormier and wetter climate in the future and the A83 at the Rest and be Thankful in Argyll, which has been the focus of Transport Scotland’s efforts in the last few years, has certainly provided regular reminders of this! Continue reading

Reporting back from Resilient Cites Congress

At the end of May I spent a couple of days at the ICLEI resilience cities congress finding out about the latest global urban adaptation work and sharing experiences from the work that we are involved with in Scotland.

There is no better place to be immersed in all things urban climate resilience related that at the resilient cities congress. It’s a three day round the clock networking and information sharing bonanza. Whilst there I presented on our work in Glasgow and the wider city region and gained many fascinating insights into work going on elsewhere.

Among many inspiring presentations, discussions and dinner time conversations: Continue reading

Lessons from above

This lunchtime I took a short detour from the rigours of adaptation planning and took myself off to a creative writing and poetry workshop at the Lighthouse in Glasgow.

It was amazing and, as often happens it brought me right back to thoughts of resilience building, future and legacy.

The workshop centred on a beautiful Britain From Above photography exhibition which shows amazing aerial photography of Glasgow and the Clyde Valley taken during the early 1900’s. The photo below doesn’t do it justice – if you are in Glasgow I’d highly recommend a visit.

Lighthouse Exhibition

Lighthouse Exhibition

The other people taking part in the workshop knew the areas shown in the photos very well and talked about their experiences of living and working in the places shown, many of which are barely recognisable today. Their reflections on the photos were powerful – they were looking for reference points – places that had stood the test of time and still existed in the present day. They reflected on memories of what it felt like to live and work in the areas shown. You can listen to some of the poems and reflections here Continue reading

If I wasn’t going I’d go. Scotland’s Adaptation Conference – 9th Sept

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I’ll be attending next week’s Scotland’s Adaptation Conference (it would be rude not to considering the number of people I’ve roped in to running, chairing and presenting at various sessions!).

I’m actually genuinely excited about this conference. Organising your own conference is a bit like hosting a house party – with most energy going in to making sure everyone else has a good time and goes home with good memories, often the event its self goes past in a bit of a blur. Having said that, I know that I’m personally going to get a lot out of this event – I’m looking forward to hearing and learning from some of the UK’s leading adaptation thinkers and doers – many of whom are based here in Scotland (take a look at the conference programme here).

The conference has been a sell-out since early August which is testament to the excellent range of speakers and key note listeners that we have attending from across the UK and Europe. If you’ve missed out on attending or live too far away to join us you can still follow the conversation on the day via twitter #Scotadapt13 and take a look at all of the presentations which will be online after the event.

With 5 days to go I’m convinced that this conference is gearing up to be a significant milestone in Scotland’s journey towards adapting to climate change.

Towards climate ready communities

Within Sniffer we often say that no one organisation, business or community will be able to build resilience and adapt to climate change on its own. We need others and others need us.

The same is true for the Adaptation Scotland programme. We’re a small team and our effectiveness in supporting a Climate Ready Scotland depends upon others sharing our messages and working with us to carry them forward within different organisations, sectors and communities. In my experience our most impactful work has come about as a result of working with people who have grasped the significance of adapting to climate change and been a driving force for change within their own spheres of influence.

This is particularly true of our work in supporting climate ready communities. Last Wednesday (7th August) we ran a workshop with organisations and individuals from across Scotland who are at the forefront of pioneering early work to support communities to adapt to climate change. We were also joined by others who are new to the challenges of adapting to climate change but wanting to get involved and help move this area of work forwards.

Climate Ready Communities

Adaptation Scotland’s presentation on our engagement with communities.

Preparing for the workshop was a good opportunity to reflect on the progress that we’ve made over the last couple of years in supporting climate ready communities. This includes work to develop a programme of workshops to support community adaptation planning, consultation workshops with vulnerable individuals and support groups and, the early development of the Are You Ready? resource. Take a look at our Prezi presentation for a full overview of all the work that has been undertaken.
Continue reading