Science for rural recovery and resilience

RSE/SCRR Peter Wilson Lecture 2021

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As a planet, we are currently dealing with unprecedented twin crises – the Covid-19 pandemic and the global climate emergency.

In terms of the climate emergency, Scotland’s Net-Zero by 2045 target will require that we change our diets and what we grow, meaning agriculture will need to change. The land also offers nature-based solutions to tackle climate change, to ensure w are more resilient to the climate change already in the pipeline as a country, and to benefit nature and people. This means we need to change the way we farm, produce, and manage our land. Science can inform us how land management needs to change.

In terms of the Covid-19 crisis, as we emerge from the pandemic, we will need an economic recovery package. We should not use this to support old, carbon-intensive industries; instead, we should support green, low carbon businesses. And we can make it a jobs-based recovery rather than an entirely public infrastructure-based recovery to fill the skills gap in the rural economy. Science can help us to work out where to invest.

This event discusses the options available to us to design an economic recovery package that not only helps society to recover from the damage caused by the global pandemic but also tackles the climate emergency and reboots our economy on a new, greener, fairer trajectory.

This opportunity will not come again – we must not waste it.