Meet our Climate Champions - Mhari
Mhari McLeman is HIE's head of strengthening communities in Shetland. She took part in the Climate Solutions course initially to build her knowledge and confidence in climate change issues. She says:
"I've been working with some very forward thinking local social enterprises and communities, including Fair Isle and Foula which are part of the clean energy for islands initiative. They're looking at ways to decarbonise their communities – not just in relation to their community owned electricity systems but also heat,transport and how to make smarter use of energy
"I definitely wasn’t an environmental campaigner, much like most people I had an awareness of climate issues, but no strong pre-existing principles. I've been really quite surprised at the impact taking part in the programme has had - I'm hungry to expand my knowledge and am reading and listening to lots of additional information.
"The course didn't pull any punches about the effects of climate change but it wasn’t all doom and gloom, it did make you feel motivated by the solutions that already exist. Working for an economic development agency I'm interested in growth and sustainable development, and this course has helped highlight that climate change is the ultimate sustainable development issue.
"The course gave us data over the last two centuries since the industrial revolution on how we ‘consume’ resources – including the impacts on CO2 concentration and world surface temperatures – and the trends are alarming. The climate change we face today arises from the accumulated results of unsustainable development at a global level.
"It’s perhaps been particularly relevant studying this in the time of COVID19 – another global issue which has turned all of our lives upside down. Lockdown means we're all asking fundamental questions about how we live – how we travel, communicate and consume products. It's also a time where governments have had to listen to scientists and science based targets to make progress, just as they need to do with Climate Change.
"A concerted global effort is required to respond. Creating a 'just transition' in energy, driving down waste, and considering the hidden issues which can be surprising and complex - for instance that the carbon footprint for internet use is already more damaging than the global airline industry!"