Pupils look to the future in climate change projects

How Arran could look in 2040 as imagined by Lily and Ceirah.

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Messages from young Arran islanders were among those delivered to COP26 in Glasgow last year as part of the world-wide Climate Change Message in a Bottle project.

In 2022, as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories, the project has been encouraging youngsters to write stories and draw images of what they imagine their carbon neutral island future will be in 2040.

Funded by the Scottish government, with support from Island Innovation, Youth Scotland and Scottish Islands Federation, Message in a Bottle is run by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Government (SCELG).

Eighteen primary and secondary schools across Scotland, including Whiting Bay, Brodick, Kilmory and Lamlash primary schools and Arran High School, have submitted stories and artwork which will be analysed in a report, to be released at the end of March. And artists Hannah Riordan and Melanie Grandidge have being commissioned to produce a 16-page illustrated booklet telling the story of a climate-friendly day in the life on a 2040 carbon neutral island based on the children’s responses.

The booklet, both printed and online, will be distributed to youth and community hubs on Scottish islands and will contain information on funding for climate-related initiatives. It can be obtained by email from bethany.walsh@strath.ac.uk.

The second of the two projects was an artwork competition. A public vote, available at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/9ZQ5LG9t, will determine a winning image which will appear on the cover of the Scottish Government’s Carbon Neutral Islands progress report. The report will be released in June 2022 and will detail the Scottish Government’s plans to fully support six islands in becoming carbon neutral by 2040.

The stories from young islanders will help to inform the future agenda of Youth Scotland’s newly-established Young Islanders Network, which aims to help young people offer contributions to the delivery of the National Islands Plan, as well as benefiting from training opportunities and implementing changes in their own communities.

Arran’s Bethany Walsh, knowledge exchange assistant at SCELG, said: ‘While island futures remain uncertain in an era of climate change, storytelling allows young people – the first of the not-so-distant future generations – to make a carbon neutral future seem real, attainable and possible. The arts are a powerful tool for forging narratives on the climate crisis and young people’s and islanders’ voices must be given a central position in decision making.’

Further information about the initiatives and some of the submitted stories can be found by searching for Climate Change Message in a Bottle on the University of Strathclyde website at www.strath.ac.uk



How Arran could look in 2040, as imagined by Lily and Ceirah. No_B10message01

Another art contribution from Sam and Victor of Arran in the future. No_B10message02

Bethany Walsh is a member of the Message in a Bottle team. 01_B10message03