Starting in 2016, the Scottish Government encouraged organisations from all sectors to host climate change awareness events as part of a National Climate Week. The inaugural Climate Week was a success with over 60 organisations taking part all over Scotland. This year over 130 organisations registered to host events!
For the 2017 National Climate Week, Beyond Green was thrilled to run a climate conversation in coordination with Castle Group Scotland and Kier. Both Castle Group Scotland and Kier are currently restoring the fire-damaged Glasgow School of Art and agreed to take some time out of their schedules to hold a Climate Week event.
Climate conversations were created by the Scottish Government to engage different sectors and industries all around Scotland in new ways of thinking about climate change. These conversations are important to undertake, involving everyone in the significance of reducing Scotland’s emissions and adapting to the changing climate.
To begin the conversation, Castle Group Scotland and Kier were shown pictures from Scotland and asked to choose one that relates the strongest to them. The images were then discussed in detail, outlining how climate change might impact the participant’s view of the picture in the future. The participants frequently discussed the potential decline in Scotland’s natural beauty, and how the hills and seaside towns might negatively change in the next fifteen years.
Climate conversations are open-ended and meant to provoke questions and allow the participants to voice their opinions. An excellent example of this that arose at the Glasgow School of Art, surrounded the politicized nature of climate change. A participant brought up the topic of Donald Trump questioning the validity of climate change, and how other world leaders weren’t. Allowing participants to lead the conversation, subjects like the political nature of climate change feel organic and offer further discussion points.
It was a great topic of conversation – which brought all trades from the project together to discuss one common theme. Some of the general contractors weren’t aware of the environmental impact from the construction industry out with the trade they are involved in. It introduced a topic of conversation which some of our subcontractors had never really thought about and it increased their knowledge and awareness in a relaxed environment. This is something we would like to participate in again next Climate Week.Summary of the conversation from the site team
Finally, the on-site team were shown predictions of what the Scottish government hopes Scotland might look like in 2030. These predictions included how Scotland might procure local food in the future, or how travelling might be easier thanks to low-carbon technologies. Working in teams, Castle Group Scotland along with Kier ranked their favourite predictions, which included ideas such as “future generations” where children learn about climate change in schools, and “working life” which highlighted flexible working.
Using the climate conversation, Castle Group Scotland and Kier were able to think critically about how climate change might affect their personal and professional lives in the future. More importantly, the climate conversation allowed topics to be discussed in an environment where climate change is not often debated.
“Participating in the Climate conversation at the GSA was a great way to think about the effects of climate change and what we can do within the industry to help reduce our impact on the environment. The open forum allowed for an inclusive and diverse conversation to be held to the benefit of everyone involved. Thanks to Beyond Green for arranging this for us!”Michael Fell - Contracts Manager
Working in the environmental industry, it’s an easy assumption that climate change is in agreement. Hosting the climate conversation was a wonderful opportunity to hear what people from other industries conclude, and what they are hesitant about. For construction companies, new demands on engineering and design that materialize from climate change are becoming challenges. Climate change induced material scarcity and changing environmental requirements for buildings are also taking effect for the construction industry. These particular discussions that really showed the engagement and awareness from Castle Group Scotland and Kier around how climate change will affect the construction industry.
We would like to extend a massive thank you to Castle Group Scotland and Kier for participating, and taking time to talk about crafting a sustainable future for us all. Hopefully, this climate conversation sparked ideas that will continue to be chatted about at the Glasgow School of Art construction site.
Hosting open-ended climate conversations are a great way to get everyone engaged! If you think your organisation would benefit from a climate conversation, please feel free to get in touch.