Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Adapting in the Hebrides

Stornoway Gazette (Scotland): The CoastAdapt project, which is investigating how local authorities and coastal communities can develop and put into practice ways of adapting to the effects of changing climate, has found that people living in the Outer Hebrides score highly in terms of ‘sense of community, sense of belonging, and caring about people who live here’, and this greatly adds to their capacity to cope with and adapt to change.

The second in the series of three CoastAdapt community workshops is to be held in West Gerinish, South Uist during the evening of Wednesday 4th May. Measuring the local community’s adaptive capacity or resiliency to forecast climate change related risks and hazards is being carried out by using vulnerability assessments following a bottom-up approach involving local people.

Workshops, interviews and surveys have been conducted during the first phase of the CoastAdapt project involving local residents, local authority officers, public organisations and non-governmental organisations from throughout the islands.

Respondents overwhelmingly said it was very important that knowledge about climate change impacts should be made available to help adaptation to take place, as well as identifying potential adaptation options to the risks and opportunities.

However, the project’s first round of community workshops supplemented by interviews with agency and council officers found that such knowledge has not yet been disseminated to decision-makers on the islands. This is not different from other local authorities in Scotland where knowledge of future climate change impacts, while available from universities and researchers, has not yet reached decision-makers at the local level.

Climate change adaptation is also relatively new to local government in Scotland and work on climate change at the local authority level has to date mainly focused on mitigation rather than adaptation, that is, efforts to combat climate change such as reducing our carbon footprint in public buildings….

Stornoway Harbour, shot by Wmck at en.wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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