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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Mainstreaming inspirational projects – working with nature to help Scotland adapt to climate change.


Policy makers like to talk about helping nature and its benefits but reality can be different’ – especially for those managing tight budgets. Those of us involved in policy do sometimes get a bit carried away with exciting new things and forget the realities, so it was a good reality check at the beginning of one of the Natural Environment Parallel Sessions at the recent Scotland’s Adaptation Conference.

 The aim of the two sessions on the day was to inspire and to show that the natural environment not only needs and deserves our support in the face of a changing climate but can be an asset when it comes to adaptation rather than a burden. However, it was clear from participants that despite it being appreciated, nature is not always seen as an important asset. ‘We don’t always make a persuasive argument’ regarding the benefits or ‘the economic case’. 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.

TAYplan aims to better understand climate change – and the role of planning

Lorna Sim from the TAYplan Strategic Development Planning Authority highlights recent climate change adaptation workshops run with Adaptation Scotland.

In February and April 2013 Adaptation Scotland ran two half day training workshops in partnership with TAYplan to support planners in integrating adaptation at all points within the planning process.

TAYplan adaptation workshopThe aim of these workshops was to increase awareness of climate change adaptation considerations in policy development and implementation and to identify opportunities for improvements in current planning policy practice. The focus of the second workshop was on how planning policy could be improved to address adaptation at the strategic and local level, through the spatial strategy, proposals and individual policies. A report, which summarises the outputs from both workshops is available here.

For TAYplan, growth is a key strategic issue which is dealt with through the Plan, with an overall objective of creating better quality places. Collaborative partnership working is very important to TAYplan. Working with Adaptation Scotland through these workshops provided an opportunity to better understand what adaptation is and how the TAYplan landscape will look in 20 years’ time, how people will live their lives differently and the role of the planning system in this.

Local authorities join forces to plan for climate change…with a little help from Adaptation Scotland!

Thanks to Jim Fraser, Emergency Planning Officer at Scottish Borders Council, for his guest blog on Adaptation Scotland’s new local authority climate risk support group:

Like most other local authorities or organisations, we are all very busy and when it comes to the issue of climate change adaptation. It’s in people’s minds but it may have been put into the ‘too difficult to do box’ for the time being.

As someone who has to deal regularly with the outcome of extreme weather and climate change and can see the damage caused and the cost of the response, the time to address climate change risks is now Continue reading

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.


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