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18/19 In Review: Climate and Environment

Posted: 20 December 2019

It's time to walk the walk...

Climate change is without doubt an urgent threat of unprecedented magnitude and Edinburgh Science is committed to doing all that it can to bring it to the world’s attention through its activities, Festival and Learning programmes.

We recently updated our ethical fundraising policy and announced that we would no longer accept money from fossil fuel companies. This was a difficult decision for the organisation to make and brought to an end some long-standing relationships with valued sponsors of our Learning programmes.

Edinburgh Science is determined to show leadership in tackling the world’s climate crisis and highlighting the challenges and opportunities that this revolution will bring.

Programming for the Planet

We have a philosophical mission to help foster a scientifically literate society that understands the relevance of science to their everyday life and is able to make informed and rational decisions about the things that affect them. Many of the biggest challenges facing humanity have science at their heart and we see ourselves as a platform for debate and discussion of the science that impacts us most.

We create work with this in mind, from education programmes that invest in developing young people, to events that ask audiences how we might work together – across boundaries, borders, disciplines and cultures – to help build a better world.

Business Roundtable

Christiana Figueres is the former Executive Secretary for the UN Convention of Climate Change and was the driving force behind the Paris Agreement. She was awarded the Edinburgh Medal at the 2019 Edinburgh Science Festival. As part of her visit to Edinburgh, we convened a meeting with leaders from business, academia and charity sectors along with Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, and representatives from the Scottish Government, to discuss ideas and opportunities to help Scotland reach its ambitious climate targets. To date, the group has met four times, twice with Christiana Figueres.

We are embarking on a revolution in the way we travel, grow food, play and do business, driven by the urgent need to meet the carbon reduction targets set by the IPCC Paris Agreement. We know these targets will require unprecedented and rapid change in all aspects of society, but if we move quickly and imaginatively these changes have every chance of leading us to a better life than the one we have now.

Edinburgh Science believes that Scotland can be in the vanguard of this revolution; we have a strong scientific and technical community and a dynamic business community, and our land and natural resources lend themselves to clean energy and carbon capture. We are honoured that Christiana Figueres is able to bring her perspective and determined optimism and we are grateful to the organisations who have given their time to this group. Scotland has already halved greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy and increasing productivity and employment. Our ambition now is to end our contribution to climate change, definitively, within a generation.

Key Green Initiatives Across Our Festival and Events

  • We programme events and activities that highlight environmental issues and encourage debate and discussion
  • We use e-tickets across all of our activities and events, dramatically reducing our paper waste
  • We use energy efficient LED light fittings throughout the delivery of our events
  • We are Zero Waste Scotland compliant, separating 100% of recyclable waste in our office space
  • Environmental sustainability is embedded in all staff training and features in our employee handbook
  • We respectfully request that all Festival guests prioritise trains over planes for UK travel
  • We have digital copies of all our programmes on our website and we encourage customers to return paper brochures for use by others
  • Our online recruitment process saves paper and postage by enabling electronic applications and communications
  • We work with our Transport Partner Lothian Buses to provide travel information to our visitors and encourage the use of public transport
  • We are currently reviewing all aspects of our business models especially overseas and UK touring work to quickly and dramatically reduce our carbon emissions