A public mapping project has just been launched at Liniclate Library in Benbecula as part of the wider Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon initiative.
The mapping project aims to reach as many residents in Uist and Benbecula as possible to find out what climate change means to people in the area; what concerns they have; and what areas, homes and other local places might be most at risk.
Climate change is an issue which affects everyone in the Outer Hebrides. However, there are steps all communities, organisations and individuals can take to mitigate carbon emissions and adapt to impacts in ways that strengthen our community. IThis mapping project provides a space for people to share their knowledge and experience of environmental changes and build a local database which communities can use to plan for climate change.
David Maclennan, Chairman of the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership Climate Change Group said: “The evidence that our climate is changing is strong - we can expect to see warmer, drier summers, heavier rainfall events, more storms and rising sea levels. We have to make plans to adapt to our changing climate, and this project gives people a great the opportunity to influence our approach.”
The mapping project is one of the first community engagement pieces to be launched for the newly formed Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon. The Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon is a partnership between multiple creative, cultural and public organisations across the Outer Hebrides, including the library service, An Lanntair, Taigh Chearsabhagh, Ceòlas and the Community Planning Partnership’s Climate Change Working Group. The partnership is collaborating on thought-provoking events and exhibitions to explore climate change and aim to inspire positive action in the lead up to and legacy from the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference.
Having hosted a series of online and in-person mapping workshops in North Uist in July and August, the Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon partnership are now offering communities the opportunity to map their histories and experience at their convenience in Liniclate Library. The mapping project will then be extended to other libraries in the Outer Hebrides, including the Mobile Library service. People are also encouraged to email their contributions on environmental change if they are unable to reach a library.
Eilidh Maclean, Library Development Officer for Liniclate Library, said: “We are really excited to be the first library in the Outer Hebrides to host the mapping engagement project. Local people have such a deep knowledge of the land and will be aware of the changes climate change has already brought to the area. Mapping these will have huge benefit for all of us going forward, and the project will also give people, young and old, the opportunity to share their concerns about potential impacts, which will help us prepare and adapt for the future.”
Image captions: Connie Dawson from the Climate Beacons partnership leading a mapping workshop at Carinish Hall, North Uist. An example of a map produced at a mapping workshop in North Uist.