Learning Journey for Local Climate Adaptation

Finding pathways to action for citizens and policymakers

As the climate changes, how can communities join together in adapting and becoming more resilient? Alongside crucial efforts to mitigate climate change, now is the time to consider how all of us can actively work towards local climate adaptation. This is in the practical work of flood preparation, food growing or nature restoration, but also in developing our vision of community and of ourselves as citizens. You can read more views about this in our blog. We are starting our look at place-based climate adaptation through five key themes: Water, Food, Human Health, Natural Environment and Energy & Technology. 

Summer Learning Journey June 2024

The BLC Learning Journey bus is back on the road! Joined by dozens of local journeyers, we were out and about on a week-long Learning Journey from June 3rd-7th, 2024, listening to communities across South Devon and hosting conversations around local adaptation. We were inspired to hear from places where citizens are taking the initiative and to see policymakers thinking at a systems level. How can we be brave in the face of uncertainty and remove blocks to doing things differently? Each day we visited a different location to find out!

Day 1: A focus on food and farming: we visited Porsham Farm outside Plymouth and enjoyed discussions over lunch before heading to the Apricot Centre at Huxham’s Cross, where the team are teaching and demonstrating climate adaptation in the food and farming sector. We also had a look at a community rainwater harvesting project.

Day 2: We learned more about natural flood management on a walk looking at the Dartmoor Headwaters Project, and heard about the impact of past flooding on the town. We then headed down river for Dartmouth where the Harbourmaster talked to us about rising sea levels, coastal flooding, the impact of extreme weather on shipping and how the local community is responding.

Day 3: Soil and water regeneration at The Flete Field Lab and innovation and adaptation at the Flete Estate, looking at joined-up actions for a shift to regenerative agriculture. After a pub lunch we were back on the bus to the Yealm to try out the electric ferry and hear from the community-led pot hole repair team. We also learned about the whole catchment Estuary to Moor project and local clean energy generation.

Day 4: How the community is addressing human health and climate adaptation in terms of energy generation, social care and organisational collaboration in South Brent, followed by a visit to the Avon Valley Project around Woodleigh with Devon Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust to learn about the impact of climate change on biodiversity and eco-systems, and how adaptation strategies for the natural world are being implemented.

Day 5: A morning in Kingsbridge with Kingsbridge Climate Action and Kingsbridge councillors who have experience of coastal flooding and how to cope with it, have written their climate emergency response plan and have a volunteer team looking after vulnerable people in the community. In the afternoon, we closed the week with a visit to Riverford to learn about food and farming under a changing climate.

A big thank you to all our hosts and participants! We are now gathering together everything we learned.

Exhibition Autumn, 2024

Our Learning Journey will create lots of information, data and stories. Would you like to bring this learning to a venue in your community? We’ll be experimenting with participatory arts, film making and installation art to bring these stories of local adaptation to life. This “exhibition” will be supported by online storytelling through our blog and in collaboration with Sustainable South Hams.

This BLC project is funded by South Hams District Council alongside their work to support local organisations focused on resilience in the face of climate change and in collaboration with Sustainable South Hams.

Concept of a “listening bus” and graphics inspired by the vintage Sonicon Bus and packaging from Masudaya/Modern Toys–a 1960’s tin bus that changes direction in response to a whistle. Discovered in Ogwell Antiques & Vintage Toys, Newton Abbot.

We work in and at the intersection of economy, ecology, learning, arts and culture and the gaps in between.