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Policy Listening Session | Newbie UK Blog

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Policy Listening Session

At the Start to Farm workshop hosted by farming Connect, the Newbie project put on a “Policy listening session”. The goal of the 1-hour session was to create a space for dialogue between policy makers (and policy influencers) and new entrant farmer constituencies. To create opportunities for new entrants to surface their policy-oriented concerns and allow for policy makers communicate what they see as key policy opportunities.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Am I an agritourist?

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I am a social researcher working on topics relating to agriculture. It is my job to ask questions, but one I have been asking myself a lot recently is, Am I an agritourist?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Rural community resilience: the ‘everyday’ and the ‘emergency’

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During the winter of 2015/16, the North East of Scotland faced the worst flooding in recent history. The ongoing Long-term implications of flooding1 project that I’m co-leading focuses on the impacts on people and communities of flooding over a three-year period. We chose two case study areas in Aberdeenshire as the focus of the research: firstly, Garioch, as repeated flooding events have been experienced here in recent decades and, secondly, Ballater, as the 2015/16 flood event was the first high-magnitude flood to have affected the community in living memory. Our expectation was that because Ballater had no recent experience of flooding, individuals and the wider community would have struggled to cope before, during and after the flood event, whereas Garioch residents would be better equipped to cope with the emergency situation, due to frequent flood events in the past. I’ll tell you more about what we found later on.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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“It was like the Titanic”-Some thoughts on the social amplification of risk

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Certain risk events attract a lot of media coverage and this can have knock-on effects. Recent prime time TV coverage of the stricken cruise ship Viking Sky, battered by heavy seas with rescue helicopters circling overhead, will understandably have put some people off booking an arctic cruise for their next holiday! The Norwegian Tourist Board and the Cruise Line companies alike may experience some loss of visitors, revenues and perhaps falling stocks.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Reflecting on participation in the Citizens’ Jury at the Scottish Parliament & the idea of expertise

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Last month I had the privilege of contributing to The Scottish Parliament’s inaugural Citizens’ Jury held 29-31st March 2019, in the heart of our Parliament Building. Twenty-two citizens, randomly selected from across Scotland, came together to deliberate on the question, “How should funding and advice for land management be designed to help improve Scotland’s natural environment?” The Jury is designed to allow these citizens to question six sets of invited ‘experts’ about different dimensions of this question and come together to make recommendations to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Parliamentary Committee. I was asked to speak, as one of the invited experts, about “Scotland’s Multiple Land-Uses: Objectives, Benefits and Trade-offs”. This was a challenging proposition given that the information had to be accessible to people of all backgrounds and delivered in less than ten minutes.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Well, can you do excellent science without flying?

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Joshua Msika, the James Hutton Institute’s sustainability coordinator, posed the above question of those passing through to the canteen one lunchtime during climate week. He got a mix of yes/no answers and comments in response, and the question certainly stimulated debate that day. The obvious answer is “Yes,” not least because plenty of excellent science was conducted before the invention of the aeroplane in the early twentieth century. But the situation now is rather more complicated, and it’s not as though stopping flying is the only thing you can do to cut your carbon emissions and help reduce the threat from climate change. In this blog post, I look at all the reasons why stopping flying as a scientist is far from a trivial decision for us to make, and raise dietary change as an alternative.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Big data, small places: building a better evidence base

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Analysis of big data is telling us more and more about the world, from the state of our health and the environment to global population trends. It also has potential to generate important insights about small places, informing how our local communities develop and grow. In Scotland, for example, powerful online tools provide data about our population, public services and areas of deprivation. However, according to participants in our recent workshops at the Scottish Rural Parliament, this potential is not being fully realised.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Climate Activism in Academia

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During a recent seminar at the James Hutton Institute, Howard Frumkin - the head of the Wellcome Trust’s ‘Our Planet, Our Health’ initiative - caught my attention when he spoke of the ‘fierce urgency of now’ in describing the consequences of deteriorating planetary health. This phrase was taken from a speech Dr Martin Luther King gave in 1963, which called for ‘immediate, vigorous and positive action’ on civil rights. So, in this post, I ask: how should we academics and institutions working on issues relating to climate, ecological and human health be responding to this urgency?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Too much of a good thing for Aberdeen? Lessons from an agent-based model of commuting.

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Imagine a new policy that allows you to work anywhere at any of the workplaces in your region. Where do you choose to work?

Now, think about everyone else who has the same right to work where they choose. Will you change your answer to the first question?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Managing babies – lessons for managing the environment?

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I’ve just returned to my research on environmental governance after half a year of maternity leave. Whilst I was away I started to see parallels between my trying to care for a baby, and the challenges of managing our environment and ecosystems. Therefore, in this blog post I’m going to explore if baby care can highlight some key issues for environmental governance!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author, and not an official position of the institute or funder.

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Printed from /blog on 23/07/19 01:45:22 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.