Category Archives: General

Climate Ready Homes: Preparing for the Future

I was invited to speak at the Scottish Federation of Housing Association (SFHA) Property Repairs and Asset Management Conference on 7 October 2014; and also contributed a feature article to the October issue of their magazine Housing Scotland – which I will reproduce below. It is great to see the social housing sector taking an interest in climate adaptation, alongside the many other challenges they are addressing – for example I shared a plenary session with Morton Duedahl who described how Denmark had setup their district heating network. 

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Housing Scotland (Issue No. 105) 

Climate change is happening. The evidence is clear. It is a global problem, but the impact will be felt locally, here in Scotland. In our homes.

The impacts could be serious, exposing homes and their occupants to greater risks, unless action is taken. Although the challenge is significant, with some forethought, it should be possible to prepare our housing stock over the coming decades through ongoing maintenance, responsive repairs and refurbishment programmes. 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

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

Hey Prezi! A few reflections on our presentations at Scotland’s Adaptation Conference

At Adaptation Scotland we have recently been experimenting with the use of Prezi as a substitute for the ubiquitous PowerPoint slideshow. At Scotland’s Adaptation Conference (Our Dynamic Earth, 9th September 2013) both of our presentations in the morning session used Prezi – and it seemed to work very well.

In fact, an unanticipated downside was that, on the day, I probably had as many conversations about Prezi as I did on climate change adaptation!

Joe Prezi  Anna Prezi

Click on the above to go directly to our Prezi’s from the conference – or see of all our Adaptation Scotland Prezi here

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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.
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Making climate data visualisation… well, more visual

Accessing relevant climate information has always been a challenge – for a start there is so much of it out there! But a bigger problem is that it has been static in nature – and to explore a range of climate variables it is necessary to look through a book of outputs (e.g. like the still widely used Sniffer Handbook of Climate Trends).

Recent years have seen rapid advances in data visualisation tools – and these are often geared up for the internet, even allowing embedding within existing websites and documents. Alongside this the design options have come along in leaps and bounds – and it is now possible to create attractive and effective data visualisation with relative ease. The Guardian: Data Blog has a collection that is quite inspiring.

trendstoolscressn

So what does this have to do with Adaptation Scotland and climate change? Well today we’ve released our first tool using Tableau Public – a tool for “Climate Trends for Scotland”. This uses data from the Met Office National Climate Information Centre to show Scottish climate trends over the last century – for a range of variables, regions, and averaging periods. Users of this tool can download images and interact with the underlying data (although we still recommend you go to the source if you want the data!). Usefully, Tableau Public allows anyone to embed a live version of this tool in their own website – and you are free to customise it if you want. Continue reading

The power of a good example

I feel very lucky to have a job where I meet inspirational people and organisations setting an example by doing things in new ways. Climate change adaptation means change – doing things differently, because the world around us is changing.

We believe the power of a good example has a crucial role to play in making organisations and businesses all over Scotland get climate ready.

Our new Climate Stories suite of films does just that: Through seven films, one longer film introducing climate change adaptation, and six personal stories of adaptation projects, we present fantastically inspirational initiatives across Scotland.

 

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