We develop exciting projects to inspire public audiences, influence policy-makers, and solve complex problems. These are a few examples.

Climate Solutions

We are leading on Climate Solutions, a new qualification in climate understanding and solutions, part-funded by the Scottish Government. The qualification is aimed at managers in the public, private, academic and voluntary sectors – those who are in a position to make a positive difference now.

Consisting of four online modules and a full day workshop, the programme will provide a thorough understanding of climate change, climate science, relevant policies and the solutions and tools available for businesses to use.

The course will lead to a personal accreditation and the creation of a network of qualified individuals across sectors. A pilot is underway and the full course will be formally launched in February 2020.

The programme is being developed by RSGS in association with the Universities of Edinburgh and Stirling, and the Institute of Directors, along with digital qualification providers Jump Digital.

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In 2014-16 we developed a project to assess ways in which Scotland could make the biggest difference to reducing global climate emissions, through expertise, innovation or example, and building on the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. The project was called ‘Bitesize’, since an enormous task is easier when broken down into bitesize pieces!

A good deal of preparation and consultation led to a full-day conference in September 2016, run in association with the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI). It involved all sectors of Scottish industry and society, and identified the key areas on which future progress should particularly focus. These included the circular economy and low-carbon resources (such as low-carbon cement), transport (especially active travel, mobility as a service, electric vehicles and rail infrastructure), renewable energy and heat, housing standards, carbon capture and storage, city design and planning, agricultural emissions (especially nitrogen), and food waste. It was further identified that these key activities needed to be underpinned by suitable 'carbon financing' and, importantly, a greater understanding amongst middle and senior managers of climate solutions and the relevance to their businesses.

Laurent Fabius, former Prime Minister of France and Chair of the Paris Climate COP, gave a keynote address to the conference before being presented with the RSGS Shackleton Medal at a special event at Edinburgh Castle.

The immediate outcomes of the project were an edition of The Geographer on a theme of climate solutions, and a well-informed contribution to the Scottish Government's consultation process on the Climate Change Delivery Plan. Since late 2016, work has continued in several of the key policy areas identified.

The Great Horizon

Our heritage collections contain a mass of information and material relating to many extraordinary men and women who have travelled and explored the world over the past 150 years. To inspire more people to take an interest in geography and in the work of the RSGS, we decided to publish a book of 50 amazing tales of adventure and exploration drawn from our past and recent history.

We commissioned our wonderful volunteer Writer-in-Residence, Jo Woolf, to research and write a range of stories of adventures undertaken by well-known and lesser-known explorers. At the same time, we crowd-sourced from our membership and other supporters the funding needed to get the book professionally published and distributed.

The result, The Great Horizon, is a beautifully-crafted, thoughtful and exciting read! It features those who set out to conquer new territories and claim world records, alongside those who contributed to our understanding of the world all but accidentally, and it includes unique images and insights from the RSGS archives.

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Young Geographer

We have now supported two groups of young people in a project to produce a 'Young Geographer' magazine, based on our own quarterly magazine. The young people were responsible for commissioning and editing articles, for sourcing photographs, and for overall design. Throughout the process, RSGS staff provided mentoring advice, practical help, and promotional opportunities.


The Future We Want

The first magazine focused on climate change. We helped the team to present the printed magazine to the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change, and to three key architects of the Paris Climate Agreement (including the then head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), placing the young people’s work on a national and international stage.

Arctic Perspectives

The second magazine focused on the Arctic. In December 2019, we helped the team to present the printed magazine to the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, and we distributed copies to our network of members, contacts and secondary schools across Scotland and beyond.

We are currently making plans for a third edition, to be produced in 2020.

The Fair City

We commissioned artist Rob Hain to create a new painting of Perth in his trademark colourful style. From this we produced limited edition prints and unlimited greetings cards, which are available for sale in our shop.

The Armchair Geographer

As a response to the COVID-19 outbreak, staff at RSGS pulled together a special edition of our magazine, The Geographer, for Members to enjoy at home. Filled with light-hearted activities, articles, recommendations and inspiration, this 'Armchair Edition' included interviews with famous faces, insight from our collections, and a devilishly tricky crossword set by our Chief Executive. We are grateful to our Members, volunteers, Explorers-in-Residence and particularly our Writer-in-Residence for making this project happen in barely one month.