Climate Week 2017
Some thoughts on the role of green networks in dealing with the climate change challenge
During this week’s Scottish Climate Week many organisations, businesses and individuals have probably asked themselves the question: what does climate change mean to me?
For the LFGNP, climate change is intrinsic to our mission. But what does climate change action look like to us?
The LFGNP works across the region to help deliver attractive, diverse networks of woodlands, green spaces, wetlands and semi natural habitats in the Lothians and Fife. These networks perform a crucial ecosystem function, helping to regulate local climates, reduce air pollution, and mitigating flood risks. As part of the wider Central Scotland Green Network, the LFGNP is committed to promoting the benefits of green networks across the region through coordinated action. Together with our partners, our projects focus on identifying, developing and supporting green networks opportunities. These partner projects range from green active travel routes that encourage zero carbon travel, pulling together policy documents that guide forest and woodland management which help mitigate the effects of climate change to river management, where green corridors can help alleviate flood risk, for example.
Not only do green networks have an important role to play in mitigating the localised effects of climate change but are integral to the development of a strong local economy and key community schemes around active lives and well-being. A key part of our partnership aim is ensuring that local organizations and individuals are able to actively participate in the planning, creation, development and management of these networks, and foster local ownership of the sustainability agenda. The New Urban Agenda (outcome of last year’s United Nations Habitat III Conference) provides guidance for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and as well as a road map of actions to address climate change. One of the key commitments in the Agenda is to improve connectivity and to support innovative and green initiatives by, for example, strengthening partnership working between businesses and civil society. Working across different levels is important if we want inclusive and diverse green infrastructure that contributes to making places climate ready.
Our partnership is made up of five local authorities, government bodies and agencies as well as environmental NGOs. This places us well to exchange examples, connect different sectors and co-ordinate the development of key programmes and strategic projects. We offer a point of contact through our staff, our newsletters and website. Events like our partnership walking tours and forum bring together a wide range of built environment practitioners, policy makers and local groups working in the region to tackle the climate change challenges that we collectively face. By using a region-wide approach we aim to support our partners and champion quality green infrastructure across this part of Scotland.
Green networks are able to cross boundaries, are packed with health benefits, whilst providing a range of ecosystem services which can help create more climate friendly places. In a way, the qualities of green networks reveal and embody a way to address climate change. How so?
- Green networks are strategic – they require collaboration and positive action across political boundaries.
- Green networks are interconnected– they link and further integrate habitats, and also communities with nature.
- Green networks focus on the urban and rural.
To us, therefore, the green network approach is a green light for action on climate change.