Members of Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere’s core team have been out and about across the region in recent days as part of a countrywide drive to widen understanding of climate change and Scotland’s goal of becoming a ‘Net Zero Nation’ by 2045.
Scotland’s Climate Week launched in the Biosphere with Enviro-Day at Glentrool, hosted at The Hive community hub. This full day of workshops and discussions included topics such as Food Matters and Low Carbon Communities, with participants able to pursue Carbon Literacy Certification through the Biosphere Footsteps learning programme. Special guest Rick Taylor from the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project gave a fascinating presentation to attendees, reflecting on the link between climate and biodiversity. The event was part of the Climate Fringe Festival which is underway nationwide.
Meanwhile the Biosphere’s Project Support Officers – young people in 12-month development roles – have visited The Croft at Whithorn to interview members of the Machars & Cree Valley Climate Action Network about the multitude of reasons why local people gather and garden there. Malcolm Haddow, one of the Project Support Officers, says, ‘I absolutely dig the croft. It’s providing a social space for those who like getting their hands dirty; providing sustainable, cheap food; and is somewhat and intentionally unkempt, which I love as this is great for wildlife. Highlights for me were the swallows sitting on the ladder not giving a hoot at the door being repaired right beside them! And the blue lobelias showing proud, one of my favourite ornamentals. There is a strong feeling of community and co-learning and the volunteers I spoke to really valued not only the services MAC-CAN Croft provides but the coming together of like-minded people with an interest in sustainability and community spirit.”
The designation ‘UNESCO Biosphere’ was awarded in 2012 in recognition of the unique attributes that make Galloway and Southern Ayrshire a world class environment for people and nature. There are currently more than 700 UNESCO Biospheres around the world, all of which have as part of their remit a commitment to test solutions to the climate crisis and build resilience to local impacts. With a focus on research, education, and knowledge-sharing between multi-sector partners, the GSA Biosphere is regarded as a key element in environmental collaborations across southwest Scotland.