Project aims to get island children involved in COP26

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In November Scotland is hosting COP26 in Glasgow, providing an exciting opportunity to get involved in global climate change discussions and policymaking.

Launching this week is Climate Change Message in a Bottle, a project aimed at bringing island schoolchildren closer to the conference by engaging them in climate science, clean energy and COP26.

Working alongside Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre in North Uist, Island Innovation, and Glasgow Science Centre, Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance are using this unique and historic opportunity to get young islanders involved in global discussions on climate change, and to re-centre islands in environmental decision making.

With rising sea levels, increased storm surges, and coastal erosion, islands are at the forefront of the climate crisis. However, they are often also pioneering centres of innovation, grassroots campaigning, and renewable energy solutions.

Climate Change Message in a Bottle will get young islanders thinking creatively about how climate change is unfolding on their island, and how they can put pressure on delegates and policymakers at COP26 to re-centre often-marginalised island worldviews in global climate change discussions.

The Strathclyde University project is being managed by Arran’s own Bethany Walsh and both Whiting Bay and Lamlash primary schools taking part. Bethany is a former Whiting Bay pupil and hopes to the return to the school later this month teach present pupils about climate change at COP26.

Following educational workshops, kindly contributed to by Glasgow Science Centre, schoolchildren will salvage a plastic bottle from their local beach and with it they will formulate a message to send to COP26.

Children will be filmed reading their messages and telling us about their islands, and this content will be made into a short documentary by UistFilm, to be showcased at COP26 events, by Glasgow Science Centre, and by Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre.

Taigh Chearsabhagh will also be producing a sculpture from the plastic bottles found. This will be displayed at COP26 events – so keep an eye out for that!

Island Innovation, a social enterprise which aims to promote and facilitate sustainability projects on islands, are creating an online interactive map of the messages sent by schools to COP26.

So far, there are 22 island schools participating, and several other schools across the world will also be contributing to the project.

You can follow Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance on Twitter, and @COP26messagebottle on Instagram for regular updates on the project.