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Environment Minister sees vision of climate change

David Miller demonstrates the Virtual Landscape Theatre to Paul Wheelhouse
The work of the James Hutton Institute is hugely important to Scotland’s position as a world leader in environmental science.

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, got a virtual reality vision of the impact of climate change when he visited the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen.

The Minister was shown the Institute’s Virtual Landscape Theatre (VLT), a mobile curved screen projection facility, in which people can be 'immersed' in computer models of their environment to explore landscapes of the past, present and future.

Professor David Miller, one of the pioneers of the system, showed the Minister various scenarios for the impact on the Scottish countryside of changes to the environment in the decades ahead. 

The VLT is the first mobile unit of its kind in the United Kingdom, and is used for scientific research as well as engagement with the public on issues of landscape change. The theatre has been funded by the Scottish Government to improve our understanding of the complex issues surrounding land use and rural societies.

The Minister was briefed on the Institute’s work on sustainable land use, and as part of his visit, was also shown the National Soils Archive which is held in Aberdeen. The collection was started in 1934 and is used as a way of tracking the state of our soils and monitoring soil changes over time.

New samples are continually being added and there is a soil DNA archive. There are more than 4.8 metric tonnes of soil samples on 2.4km of shelving. It consists of more than 43,000 air-dried soil samples collected from 13,000 locations.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “The work of the James Hutton Institute is hugely important to Scotland’s position as a world leader in environmental science. Being able – through the virtual reality theatre – to experience the effects of climate change was illuminating and further highlighted, as has the recent weather, why we need to tackle the issue.

“Next month I will take part in the UN climate negotiations in Doha as part of the official UK delegation, promoting Scotland’s world leading emissions reduction targets and innovative approach to tackling climate change and developing a low carbon economy.”

Professor Iain Gordon, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, said: “Scotland is a world leader in environmental science and much of the work of our Institute is funded by the Scottish Government. I was really pleased that the Minister was able to spend some time with us, and it follows a briefing and reception we were able to host at the Scottish Parliament last week for MSPs.

“One of the reasons for the creation of the Institute last year was our ability to offer a huge range of scientific disciplines and to apply those to some of the challenging problems the world is facing to do with climate change, protecting biodiversity and food/water security.”

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

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Printed from /news/environment-minister-sees-vision-climate-change on 26/09/21 11:42:45 PM

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.