Hi there, I’m Alice. I’m a graduate trainee with Changeworks, and I am going to be spending some of my time working for Highlands Adapts. I have master’s degrees in both physics and English literature, from the universities of Manchester and Glasgow respectively; and am particularly interested in the way that complex ideas are communicated. I am looking forward to working at a point where my two (quite opposite!) academic interests overlap, and to working with the team at Highlands Adapts on the problem of climate adaptation in the Highland region.
Climate hack – reduce, reuse, recycle is a hierarchy – before buying something new first consider if you really need it; then consider if you can repurpose something you already have or perhaps buy second hand.
Climate Change Coordinator Harper Loonsk is a Climate Change Coordinator for Highland Adapts. She recently completed a master’s degree in Environmental Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh, where her dissertation focused on species translocation as a means of climate change adaptation. Originally from the United States, Harper received a bachelor’s degree in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration from Yale College, after which she worked with refugees and asylum seekers as an immigration paralegal. Harper is thrilled to be part of the team at Highland Adapts and to participate in the important work that the partnership is doing to facilitate climate change adaptation in the Highlands.
Climate Hack – Active travel can sometimes take longer than other means of getting around, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Time spent walking, for example, can be a great opportunity to catch up with friends and family on the phone, or listen to a good podcast. Harper is currently enjoying listening to The Anthropocene Reviewed while she walks along the Ness on her way to work.
Forestry and Land Scotland
The Highland Council
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Adaptation Scotland / Sniffer
Highlands and Islands Climate Hub
Zero Waste Scotland
Forestry and Land Scotland
Forestry and Land Scotland is the Scottish Government agency entrusted with the management of Scotland’s national forests and land. Established on April 1, 2019, following the amalgamation of the functions previously carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland and Forest Enterprise Scotland, the agency now also oversees the newly devolved responsibilities in forestry within Scotland.
Forestry and Land Scotland’s primary mission is the stewardship of Scotland’s forests and land, with a strong commitment to benefiting both the present and future generations. Their multifaceted approach encompasses activities geared towards enhancing biodiversity, supporting tourism, and expanding access to green spaces. By doing so, they aim to contribute to the improvement of physical and mental health and overall well-being in Scotland.
NHS Highland is one of 14 territorial health boards in NHS Scotland. NHS Highland delivers a comprehensive range of physical and mental health services across the Highland and Argyll and Bute Council areas. Additionally, within the Highland region, the organization extends its services to include adult social care. They deliver services at hospitals, clinics, community facilities and in people’s homes – either in-person or online.
The Highland Council is the local authority responsible for a broad range of public services within the region. The council’s mission centres on improving the quality of life for its residents and communities. Services span various areas, including education, social care, infrastructure development, and environmental management.
The Highland Council’s work encompasses both urban centres and rural communities. It is dedicated to promoting economic growth, creating opportunities, and preserving the cultural and natural heritage that characterizes the region.
Keith Masson joined Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as Head of Net Zero Transition in February 2022, after spending 10 years at The Highland Council during which time he helped to establish the Highland Adapts initiative. In his current role, Keith is developing HIE’s internal approach to decarbonisation, whilst also developing support programmes to ensure the businesses and social enterprises of the Highlands and Islands benefit from the just transition to net zero, but are also prepared for locked-in change to climate systems.
Keith is excited to have recently re-joined the Highland Adapts Board, and is looking forward to increasing business engagement with the initiative over the coming months through the Business Climate Network group.
Climate hack: Whilst it won’t directly reduce your carbon footprint, my top climate hack is to actually talk about it, as often as you can and with whoever will listen. We need to normalise conversations and discuss hopes and fears much more openly if we’re going to stimulate action and increase collective levels of climate literacy, so if you care, make sure you tell people!
View the Highlands and Islands Enterprise website here.
Changeworks is Scotland’s leading environmental charity delivering solutions for low-carbon living. They develop and deliver high-impact solutions to make low-carbon life a positive reality for everyone. Changeworks has over 35 years’ experience in delivering high-impact solutions for low-carbon living. They work collaboratively with partners, organisations and householders to drive transformation in energy efficiency and to tackle fuel poverty.
The Scottish Government has set a legally binding target for net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045 and an 80% reduction in emissions by 2030. This will require one million homes in Scotland to convert to low-carbon heating systems by 2030 and the energy efficiency of these and many more homes to be improved.
Changeworks has been delivering energy efficiency measures for housing over nearly four decades. They have led the way in delivering solutions to lower carbon emissions, tackle fuel poverty and help householders to save energy.
Sniffer acts as a catalyst, fostering collaboration across sectors and places to ensure transformation towards a flourishing and fairer future for all in a changing climate. They are at the forefront of addressing the challenges presented by climate change and its impact on society. With their unique approach, Sniffer delves deep into the structures that underpin our communities and provides a clear path for action.
Leveraging the extensive experience gained over the past two decades, Sniffer facilitates the coming together of organizations and communities. This collaborative effort aims to comprehend, anticipate, and thrive in the face of environmental pressures and societal impacts. Their partnership with academia, government, technical experts, and creative practitioners ensures that they bring the most cutting-edge thinking and innovations to these collaborations.
Ben Leyshon has many years of experience working for NatureScot, currently as an Operations Manager covering Highland. He is interested in solution focussed approaches to adapting to climate change by working in partnership with local communities, the public sector and private interests.
NatureScot are the lead public body responsible for advising Scottish Ministers on all matters relating to nature. Their purpose is to promote, care for and improve our nature, to help people to enjoy nature responsibly, to enable greater understanding and awareness of nature and to promote its sustainable use.
NatureScot see Highland Adapts as an important way of ensuring that Highland has a resilient environment and that they can meet the climate challenges by deploying nature-based solutions. Through working with local communities and wider partners, Highland Adapts can lead the way in identifying and driving forward our shared green recovery priorities.
Climate hack: Cherish the wild places, especially those close to home.
Joan Lawrie is the Development Manager at the Highlands and Islands Climate Hub. The Hub is funded by the Scottish Government and is one of the first established regional community climate action hubs in Scotland. The Highlands and Islands Climate Hub encourages networking, peer support and provides assistance to communities through design, development and delivery of climate action projects, with a focus on where those projects can also provide solutions to community needs.
Climate hack: To be that bit more mindful in everything, giving deeper thought to consumer purchases, is it really needed? If we are all just that little bit more mindful of our actions, we can contribute to causing less harm and protecting our environment.
View the Highlands and Islands Climate Hub website here.
Zero Waste Scotland
Helen Lavery works with Zero Waste Scotland who exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change. They see Highland Adapts as a unique opportunity to work in collaboration with partners and wider stakeholders to address climate change issues. They will support the Highland Adapts placed-based approach to addressing key climate-related challenges and opportunities, these initiatives will improve resilience within the Highland economy, create more connected communities and preserve the region’s important biodiversity.
Climate hack: ‘Reducing your own (or family) carbon footprint and decreasing your environmental impact at home doesn’t always mean big and expensive adjustments. Leave the grass to grow to make wild patches in the summer, plant native species, feed the birds or dig a small pond. Top tips for getting started can be found here: https://wasteless.zerowastescotland.org.uk/articles/easy-guide-to-composting-home.
Keep Scotland Beautiful, representing the Highland Community Waste Partnership
Local Energy Scotland
Architecture & Design Scotland
Keep Scotland Beautiful, representing the Highland Community Waste Partnership
The HCWP brings together eight community groups in the Highlands in their efforts to reduce waste and promote sustainable consumption, in line with a net zero future. Our work is focused on food waste, the share & repair economy and packaging/single-use plastics.
The HCWP is coordinated by Keep Scotland Beautiful, the charity for Scotland’s environment, with a vision for a clean, green, sustainable Scotland. We have three goals – to combat climate change, tackle litter and waste, and protect and enhance the places we live, work and visit.
Being part of Highland Adapts allows us to connect and join forces with others working in the same space, helping to make the most of opportunities and initiatives for community engagement and action.
Climate hack: both as a society and as individuals, we need to rethink the way that we consume, and ultimately both use and waste less. This is a systemic change, but everyone has a part to play, and it’s important that everyone does what they can, however small or big. Change is a process.
Reduce and reuse where you can, share and repair instead of throwing away or buying new -these are some of the things we are working on at the HCWP.
Highlife Highland is a charity registered in Scotland with the aim of developing opportunities in culture, learning, sport, leisure, health and wellbeing throughout the whole of the Highlands. Imogen Furlong sits on both the Climate Advocates and Core Group for Highland Adapts, representing the Highlife Highland Countryside Ranger Service which Imogen manages – with responsibilities for community conservation volunteering, green health provision, environmental and Scottish Outdoor Access Code education, and also contributing to the biodiversity duties of the Highland Council. There is a growing need to work with local communities to design adaptations to climate change, which work for locality, people and wildlife.
Climate hack: Start to better understand the nature in your local area through biological recording. Records are essential to help monitor species numbers. If you are feeling fit, why not get involved with some local conservation volunteering? Simply opening up a conversation on a local issue that might be affected by climate change with your neighbour can also lead to ideas and action.
Find out more about the Highlife Highland Countryside Ranger Service here.
Planet Sutherland is simply about helping everyone do more to help the planet. We thrive on initiating discussions and ideas and helping them to fruition. We support projects involving a wide variety of themes; from carbon cafes and film nights to growing, recycling and more general environmental and emotional support. Everyone can do something, but it’s more fun to do stuff with others.
We are therefore involved with lots of groups enabling information to be shared across many networks. We see Highland Adapts Climate Advocates as the central point of our community Highlands and Islands Network, branching out to others like the Highlands and Islands Climate Hub, the Highland Good Food Partnership, the Highland Community Waste Partnership and Future Communities Highlands and Islands. Together we can develop the Highlands and Islands into a highly resilient, happy, and secure place to live.
Planet Sutherland, SCIO, was formed by Anna Patfield, who is the key networker in our organisation, whilst our committee and members are working hard with many different planet friendly projects in the region the region.
Climate hack: Get Growing! Get together with neighbours and friends to form a mini growing group, share excess produce, growing tips and even help with veg growing rotations or sharing in greenhouse/polytunnel costs and management.
Gardening not only helps improve food resilience and reduces food waste, but also builds our physical and emotional health through physical exercise, gardening health and socialisation. Using organic (or natural) growing methods also helps to build soil health by reducing the use of fertilisers, fungicides, and pesticides. This not only improves the nutritional value of our food but also helps with biodiversity through companion planting with flowers that help our bees and useful beasties. And it’s fun!
Mhairi MacSween has 20 years of diverse experience in communication, project and events management, and community projects. Mhairi is a development officer for Local Energy Scotland, a consortium which manages the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES). CARES supports communities to engage with, participate in, and benefit from the transition to net zero emissions. It aims to accelerate progress towards the Scottish Government’s targets of 2GW of community and locally owned energy by 2030 and decarbonising Scotland’s buildings. This is achieved through funding and support for community groups to install renewable energy generation.
Climate hack: It is always worth investigating green technologies but don’t forget – fabric first! A well-insulated building is the most important first step and there is lots of free help and advice available.
Mark Dowey is an architect with 20 years of experience in education, retail, commercial and residential sectors in London ad Edinburgh. After recently completing an MSc in Environmental Management, Mark’s focus has shifted to how environmental policy drives built environment solutions and how we move to a climate positive future where real behaviour change is at the forefront of decision making.
Architecture and Design Scotland’s vision is a Scotland whose places are healthy, sustainable, and thriving, where everyone works together to shape their future. The future is one we need to be prepared for, and future-proofing our places as best as we can, including adaptation to address climate change, will make them better for everyone. Our Climate Action Towns project is helping to realise these ambitions, embedding the Eight Principle of a Carbon Conscious Place in our engagement processes in the nine project towns. The Climate Action Towns project is supported by the Scottish Government.
Climate hack: Transport is now the biggest sector carbon emitter in the UK and little improvement has been seen since the early 90s. Change is coming, but to get ahead of the curve, leave the car at home once a week. Explore different ways to travel including public transport, cycling, walking and shared transport. You never know, you might enjoy it and the more people that change, the better the services available to all.
View the Architecture & Design Scotland website here.