Green Gown Awards 2020 - University of St Andrews - Highly Commended

Tags: Green Gown Awards 2020 | benefitting society | University of St Andrews

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Learning from Loss: Climate change, coastal heritage and community action 

Heritage sites are valuable archives of past change and adaptation. Yet approximately 12,000 sites in Scotland are threatened by climate change. Since 2000, Tom Dawson and his research team have developed innovative methods for site prioritisation and pioneered a citizen-science approach in rising to this challenge. The methods have been adopted by heritage organisations in Britain, Europe and North America.  

The research has engaged over 1,200 people and the analysis of crowd-sourced data has underpinned funding priorities for Historic Environment Scotland. This has supported community projects rescuing information and led to new visitor attractions. By broadcast media appearances and public talks, the national awareness of climate threats to coastal heritage has also been increased.  

The Learning from Loss initiative is proactive and brings invaluable benefits to society by empowering and connecting communities; sharing learnings (nationally and internationally); raising awareness of climate threats; and saving irreplaceable heritage sites from climate-induced damage. 

Top 3 learnings:

  1. Work proactively to save loss to climate change! 
  2. Meaningful relationships with the public make the best citizen science projects.  
  3. Be innovative - make science reachable – use virtual interaction tools and documentary film-making! 

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