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Climate / ‘Inspiring the future’ – local architects highlight the dangers of the climate crisis

Ian Irvine of Shetland Architectural Society at Eshaness at the weekend.

THE DANGERS of rising sea levels and coastal erosion and the impact of rising sea temperature on wildlife are being highlighted in a new initiative by a group of local architects.

With the start of the United Nations’ climate conference COP26 in Glasgow just three weeks away, Shetland Architectural Society has chosen eight vulnerable sites across the isles to demonstrate the impact of the climate emergency on buildings and places.

Increased storminess and sea surges to low lying areas in and around Shetland poses a real threat to the destruction of Shetland’s current historic monuments, which over time may be lost, the group said.

The Lodberries marker.

Over the weekend members of the society erected bespoke tidal markers at these key sites to raise awareness and stimulate public debate.

The sites are:

  • Old Scatness Broch, Sumburgh.
  • St Ninian’s Isle, Bigton.
  • The Lodberries, Lerwick
  • Nesbister Böd, Whiteness
  • Mavis Grind, Northmavine
  • Eshaness, Northmavine
  • Sna Bröch, Fetlar
  • Hermaness, Unst

A spokesperson for the group said: “Through this we hope to inspire the public with the key message that better building quality, better planning, and urban design, and prioritising the re-use of existing buildings are crucial steps in reducing our future carbon emissions and use of embodied carbon.”

The local initiative is part of Scotland-wide efforts by architects’ groups to highlight the potential impacts of climate change within their communities.

They are engaging with people in what they can do to prevent a worst-case climate change scenario.

Each of the markers at the local sites is fitted with a QR Code, which once scanned with a phone camera will take people to the national project’s website at https://riasinspiringfutures.com 

The website features an interactive map illustrating events and marker locations throughout Scotland and the tidal route maps for each area and district.

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Shetland Architectural Society said it is encouraging everyone to head out, visit and interact with these markers to illustrate the risks to the built environment and highlight the importance of how and what is being built.

The spokesperson added: “We would be delighted of anyone interacting with the project would follow and tag the group’s Instagram page @shetland_architects and uses the hashtags #createbuildprotect #riasinspiringfutures #shetlandarchitects #cop26.”

Leaflets with all the information on each of the markers are available from local shops across the isles, the tourist centre in Lerwick, Mareel, Shetland Museum and Archives, Shetland Library as well as the Clickimin Leisure Centre.

The iconic beach at St Ninian’s Isle is one of the local sites in danger of disappearing. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News.

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