Joe Perry
February 2024

#IESTurningTheTide - Protecting vulnerable coastal communities from climate change-driven coastal change

When we imagine the Scottish Highlands, the vision we hold is one of snow-topped mountains, ancient woodlands and vast peatlands. The Highland coastline and its communities are often forgotten; however, they urgently need our attention as they struggle at the coalface of a changing climate.

Climate Action Coastlines is an ambitious attempt to reimagine a challenging stretch of coastline around the historic village of Golspie in Sutherland. The first stage of this project received Green Growth Accelerator Funding from The Scottish Government, which allowed us to assemble a team of experts, community organisations and local people to investigate the potential for nature-based solutions to protect the village from rising sea levels and storm surges.

Like so many other coastal communities in Highland and worldwide, Golspie faces an existential threat from rising sea levels and increased storm surges. For these communities, the coast is more than just their home; it is intrinsic to their identity, sense of place, health and well-being. Coastal communities need to be supported through the change to come and local voices should be at the heart of coastal change.

This webinar introduced the village of Golspie as a case study for how The Highland Council are thinking about coastal change. From this case study, the speaker moved into a wider discussion about the challenges faced by rural, coastal communities and the role that public and private investment can play in protecting these special places.

This event has been organised as part of our Turning the Tide: systems thinking for a sustainable ocean project, which has been endorsed as a UN Ocean Decade Activity. 

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