Flying visit to The Leven Programme aims to raise awareness about the effects of climate change.
Sasha is a UN Ambassador for the Convention on Migratory Species and is using the opportunity to engage local people along her travels about climate change and what can be done to tackle it. A compilation of these stories will be presented at COP26 the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.
The Leven Programme is a regenerative initiative created to reverse the decline of the economy, communities and natural environment centred around the River Leven in Fife. It also forms one of seven official COP26 ‘Climate Beacons’ around Scotland.
In July 2019, SEPA - a partner in the Leven Programme - signed a landmark Sustainable Growth Agreement with Fife Council, Sustrans, NatureScot, Scottish Water, Scottish Enterprise, Fife College, Forth Rivers Trust, Diageo, Green Action Trust and Keep Scotland Beautiful focused on six strategic outcomes for a “living, breathing example of inclusive growth”. This was followed by further partner agreements in June 2020 with NHS Fife, The Coal Authority, Zero Waste Scotland, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, Network Rail and Historic Environment Scotland.
The Leven Programme is the first living case study of the ‘Green Swan Observatory’, an initiative by the renowned think tank and advisory firm Volans, set up to identify and showcase the people, projects and trends disrupting harmful ‘business as usual’. Sacha Dench is a recipient of the Green Swan Award, which goes to pioneers doing seemingly impossible things for the environment.
Sacha, whose actions have led her to be dubbed 'the human swan', said: “I am delighted to meet people in Levenmouth who are truly focused on answers to the climate crisis – not problems - and as such are inspirations to all. We’re trying to answer the question ‘We drove the industrial revolution, can we drive the green revolution too’?
“As part of this expedition, we have been investigating how climate change is affecting different regions of the country and showing – in a visually stunning and exciting way - what is happing to help cut carbon and preserve and restore our environment.”
Pauline Silverman, SEPA Senior Manager Partnerships and Places and The Leven Programme Manager, said: “The Climate Beacons project is a huge source of pride for Scotland. Climate change requires immediate action if we are to adapt and live with its effects. We are so excited to use our collaboration to bring science and the arts together to develop the story of change from a carbon intensive past to a low carbon resilient community of the future.
“Sacha’s landing in Levenmouth is a particularly special occasion as we expect her work to inspire the community to see what steps they can take to help Scotland on its path to being net zero by 2045.”
Louise Kjellerup Roper, CEO of Volans, commented: “Sacha’s landing in Levenmouth is a powerful coming together of two pioneers in environmental regeneration. Sacha’s efforts in raising awareness for climate change, combined with the work of the Leven Programme to create a truly environmentally regenerative community, makes for an awe-inspiring example of how the seemingly impossible can be made seemingly inevitable.
“Scotland’s commitment to climate action, sets an example for the rest of the UK. Both Sacha’s work and the Leven Programme are perfect examples of Scotland’s leadership. And natural subjects for the Green Swans Observatory which tracks real world examples of radically better times to come”
Energy supplier SGN is developing a world-first hydrogen network in Levenmouth that will bring renewable hydrogen into homes in 2022, providing zero-carbon fuel for heating and cooking. In the project’s first phase, the network will heat around 300 local homes using clean gas produced by a dedicated electrolysis plant, powered by a nearby offshore wind turbine.
The project is the first of its kind to employ a direct supply of clean power to produce hydrogen for domestic heating – putting Levenmouth at the forefront of the clean energy revolution.
The system will be designed and built to ensure the same high safety and reliability standards expected from the current gas system. An on-site storage unit will hold enough hydrogen to ensure supply won’t be disrupted during even the coldest weather conditions.
SGN Director of Energy Futures’ Gus McIntosh said: “H100 Fife is the UK’s priority project in this area and is designed to demonstrate hydrogen distribution and in-home performance in a real-world setting. Hydrogen boilers have the same footprint as current natural gas boilers and can be installed with minimal disruption and without the need to replace existing radiators or plumbing. Hydrogen fires and cookers are also available. It’s an exciting opportunity to revolutionise the way millions of people heat their homes.”
During the visit, pupils at Levenmouth Academy had the opportunity to tell Sasha about the school’s wilding project where they are allowing dedicated spaces for biodiversity to thrive. She also heard about work being carried out in Scottish colleges to embed online materials on ‘sustainability’ into the college curriculum.
On her journey Sacha is also calling on people to sign up to Count Us In - a campaign to inspire people to take personal climate action in a month as part of a global effort – you can find out more at www.count-us-in.org
The expedition and Sacha’s progress can be viewed at www.climatechallenge.live
The Leven Programme
In June 2020, the programme was announced as the first living case study in Volans’ ‘Green Swan Observatory’ initiative, propelling the project to the global ‘one to watch’ list for innovative approaches.
The Climate Beacon project is being co-ordinated by Creative Carbon Scotland, along with a steering group of co-ordinating partners from Architecture and Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, the Scottish Library and Information Council, and the Sustainable Scotland Network.