103. Iain Stewart: Empowering communities to adapt to climate change

Access to Inspiration

28-06-2023 • 33 mins

In this episode, Iain Stewart, an expert in geoscience and sustainability, highlights the need for the scientific community to communicate differently to engage communities in developing sustainable climate solutions, learning to move away from the 'tell and sell' approach, to one of 'sense and respond' in order to build trust.

Iain explains to host, Sue Stockdale about his latest project in northeastern Jordan, where a wetland has dried up due to climate change, and what he has learned in getting the project off the ground in the desert landscape.

About Iain Stewart

Iain Stewart is the El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability at the Royal Scientific Society (Jordan) and Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth (UK). The founding director of the University of Plymouth’s ‘Sustainable Earth Institute’, Iain’s long-standing research interests are in disaster risk reduction, climate change, and Earth science communication.

His Earth science communication work has built on a 15-year partnership with BBC Science television presenting popular documentary series, such as ‘Earth: The Power of the Planet’, ‘Earth: The Climate Wars’, ‘How Earth Made Us’, ‘How To Grow A Planet’, ‘The Rise of the Continents’ and ‘Planet Oil'.Iain was also academic advisor on David Attenborough's acclaimed BBC series ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’.

Awarded an MBE for his services to geography and geology education, he was President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, was the Communications Lead and Evidence Chair for the Scottish Government's Climate Citizen's Assembly, and is the UNESCO Chair for Geoscience and Society.

Connect with Iain Stewart on Twitter and find out more at the Royal Scientific Society (Jordan).

Key Quotes
  • "Water scarcity is the number one problem here in Jordan. And I think you can't really be a geoscientist working on sustainability here and not have a project on that."
  • "One of the solutions is empowering communities to be able to make their own adaptations."
  • "To be able to cope with the effects of climate change I think adaptability and flexibility will be absolutely the key"
  • "Authentic listening, where you're genuinely shutting up, is something that scientists and experts don't do very well."
  • "Some people would argue from a sustainability perspective that we should effectively stop traveling."
  • "The worst people for traveling in terms of flights are academics and the worst academics are climate scientists."
  • "We need to show leadership here. We need to show the motivation, the sense of purpose to be doing this."
  • "One of the unpalatable messages is that the low carbon green energy economy is going to need more stuff. And that stuff is going to have to come from somewhere, and the place it's going to come from is the ground. And therefore, a future with less carbon in it is a future that's going to have a lot more mining in it."

Partners and Supporters

We partnered with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society to bring you this series. Take a look at their Climate Solutions course, developed by leaders and experts in climate change and endorsed by the Institute of Directors.

We are also supported by Squadcast –the remote recording platform which empowers podcasters by capturing high-quality audio and video conversations.

Connect with us on Twitter : Facebook : Instagram : LinkedIn : Read our Impact Report

Actions to take after listening to the podcast

Credits:

Sound Editor: Matias de Ezcurra
Producer: Sue Stockdale

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