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The Scottish Government launched Climate Week (1-5 October) from the offices of the Perth-based Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) on Monday 1 October. Scotland's Climate Week is an annual programme of events aiming to raise awareness of climate change and encourage action to reduce emissions. The SSN support Climate Week across the public sector and work with members to encourage events and activities reflecting the work being done at all levels across public institutions.

As part of the launch event, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham announced the pilot of a new Climate Literacy course being developed jointly by the RSGS, the University of Stirling and a range of other partners – and supported by £20,000 of Scottish Government funding.

The course seeks to engage senior managers on climate change across a range of different sectors. In particular it will help them understand what they can do as individuals and as organisations to deliver practical solutions. It is envisaged that the course will be delivered both online and in short workshop sessions to make it as easy as possible to participate.

Following completion of the necessary units, individuals will receive acknowledgement of their learning and the opportunity for personal accreditation. Businesses who engage will be able to work towards organisational accreditation and evidence engagement to shareholders and customers. Implementing sustainable polices and good practice is the future of legislation globally and nationally, driving industry, innovation and market prescience.

Commenting on this, David Watt, Executive Director for the Institute of Directors in Scotland said:

“Climate change is something that affects all businesses, all across Scotland and, indeed, the world. Business need to think in a wider picture, not just in terms of their day-to-day operation.
“The sustainability aspect to business, and their impact on the environment is also very important to us. That’s about good strategic leadership; that’s what we’re about, good behaviour in board rooms and by leaders across business.”

Launching the pilot as part of Climate Week, Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Understanding the potential impacts of climate change and the role that we as individuals and organisations can take to be prepared, ready and able to make the move to low carbon living is critical if we are to meet our national and international commitments.
“That is why I welcome the development of this climate literacy course, which provides a means by which people and organisations across the country can grow their understanding of climate solutions and help generate a new, multi-sectorial network of climate leaders.”

Spearheading the new Climate Literacy qualification, Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the RSGS, said:

“We are delighted to be working with so many different organisations and business groups to design and deliver this qualification. Everyone needs to understand the role they can play in delivering solutions. It is too important to simply delegate this issue to young people.”

During her visit to Perth, Ms Cunningham also unveiled a new photographic exhibition at the RSGS Fair Maid’s House Visitor Centre which will be open to the public during Climate Week. Entitled “Images from a Warming Planet” and supported by Perth and Kinross Council it features the remarkable collection of Ashley Cooper, an environmental photographer who has spent the last 13 years documenting the varied effects of climate change around the world.

As stated in his accompanying publication, Ashley hopes his work will go some way to motivate change, particularly amongst richer western communities who are afforded a certain level of resilience in comparison to the poorer communities of our world.

Perth & Kinross Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Convener, Councillor Angus Forbes said:

“We are very pleased to support this exhibition here at the RSGS headquarters in Perth. It reflects the impact of climate change across the globe and highlights the part that we all have to play in protecting our environment, both as individuals and organisations. I hope many people will visit the exhibition and find much food for thought in Ashley Cooper’s images.”

Alongside Ashely’s exhibition, posters from a group of Primary 5 students from St Patrick’s School, Dumbarton were also shown to the Cabinet Secretary. These were produced as part of the Eco-School’s work on sustainable development Goal 13: Climate Action.

The RSGS Climate Week exhibition will be open to the public between 13:00 and 16:30, Thursday to Saturday from Thursday 4th October. Entry is by donation.

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