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By Hugh Boag
Schoolchildren from across Arran will have their voices heard at the COP26 international climate change conference in Glasgow next month.
As part of the Climate Change Message in a Bottle project, island primary schools from around Scotland and the world are sending their ‘message in a bottle’ to international leaders at COP26, asking them to do more about climate change.
Whiting Bay, Lamlash and Kilmory primary schools on Arran have also taken to the shore to search for beach litter, specifically plastic bottles.
This November, Glasgow will host delegates and representatives from nearly every country in the world for COP26 – the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Over the two weeks, nations will consider how to build on their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Founded by Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG), in partnership with Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre, and funded by the Scottish government, the Climate Change Message in a Bottle project aims to involve young islanders in COP26.
The project will collect film footage of messages from island schools to COP26 in Glasgow, and plastic bottles found on island beaches will be made into a sculpture.
The project is managed by Arran’s Bethany Walsh, who recently graduated from the Edinburgh University with a degree in sustainable development and geography.
She said: ‘It’s great to be working with schools local to me and teaching young islanders about climate change and environmental governance.
‘Young people will inherit our planet and – especially on islands where sea level rise and storm surges are already affecting our coastlines – have important messages for our world leaders.’
More than 25 islands schools are involved in the project, including in the Solomon Islands and Hawaii.
To keep up to date, you can follow the project on Instagram @COP26messagebottle, or on Twitter @SCELG.
SCELG is grateful for the funding and support of the Scottish government.
Here are some of the messages Arran pupils are sending to COP26:
‘Build more cycle paths for cycling on! Make more electric cars! Don’t cut down rainforests! Recycle more.’ – Nicolas, Whiting Bay
‘Create more wave and wind turbines.’ – Lucy, Whiting Bay
‘Please stop using fossil fuels because it is making the world heat up and sea levels are rising. All the islands will flood if you don’t stop now.’– Anna, Lamlash
‘Stop polluting the sea.’ – Alfie, Lamlash