Earth Heritage Trust Trustees were amongst the speakers at one of the last conference events to take place before lock-down. The topic was the other major emergency facing society. Climate Change: Risk, Resilience and Sustainability was organised by Beacons Development Education Centre and University of Worcester and held at the Hive on Saturday 14th March. The organisers hope to make videos of the lectures available in due course.
Cheryl Jones gave a presentation on the UK floods and community response focusing on collaborative research between University of Worcester and other institutions on the position of children in relation to flood events. She showed how children need to be positively engaged to help them understand more about the risks and uncertainties of floods. An illuminating anecdote referred to teaching how floodwater is polluted, making appropriate textures and smells using safe ingredients available at home.
The firm conclusion was that a degree of age-appropriate participation in flood planning reduces anxiety and raises self-esteem in children.
Ian Fairchild was asked to summarise The Underlying Science, a tricky task in 35 minutes!
Ian sought to explain how, since the climate system is so complex, the science is a mixture of obvious demonstrable facts, sound extrapolations and more uncertain models. He drew an analogy with the way that Covid19 is being investigated by scientists. These are both issues that are so important that the necessity for a scientific consensus is agreed by most people. However, consensus often comes with a probability attached and allows for new observations to lead to modified predictions.
Through the successive reports of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change since 1988, the human impact on climate has become progressively more firmly established. It is striking how the IPCC and national Met Office predictions have remained stable over the last 10 years, with the exception of the impact of melting glaciers on sea level where new and better surveys of ice sheets show the melt rates are higher than previously thought.
The IPCC reports, including lay summaries can be found at: https://www.ipcc.ch/reports/. The Met Office climate change predictions for the UK can be found at: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/approach/collaboration/ukcp/index.