Climate Change Message in a Bottle is bringing young islanders closer to environmental decision making in Scotland and across the world.
By Pauline Robinson, first published 17th December on the Arran Eco Savvy website
Message in a bottle
Founded by Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG), in partnership with Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, this Scottish Government-funded project is helping young islanders claim agency over their futures. Arran’s own Bethany Walsh is managing Climate Change Message in a Bottle, and several local primary schools have participated.
Initially, the project brought messages from island schoolchildren to COP26. Twenty-three Scottish primary schools and seven schools outside Scotland participated in workshops on climate science, renewable energy and COP26. After this, they recorded messages to COP26 which were compiled into the project’s film. This was shown at several events during COP26, including at COY16, the Landing Hub, and Island Innovation’s online ‘Island Space @ COP26’. Island Innovation also produced the Climate Change Message in a Bottle interactive map, where users can explore messages sent by young islanders from different locations across the globe.
Canary in the coal mine
Following COP26, the project returned to schools to explain what happened at the summit and what this may mean for islands. Islands have been described as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ when it comes to climate change – they are among the first to experience the adverse effects of sea level rise and increased storm surges. Low-lying archipelagos such as the Solomon Islands, home to two schools involved in the project, are already losing entire islands to climate change. However, islands across the world are also pushing forwards on solutions to the global crisis and are important sites of community action and innovation.
Scotland’s year of stories
Although COP26 is over, the project has received additional funding from the Scottish Government to enable its continuation. 2022 is Scotland’s Year of Stories, and in the second stage of Climate Change Message in a Bottle schoolchildren will write stories of their islands’ sustainable futures. These creative pieces will contribute to the Carbon Neutral Islands project at the Scottish Government, and the design and implementation of the Young Islanders Network, as well as helping young people understand and enact possibilities for their island futures in a changing world.
Many thanks to Pauline Robinson and Bethany Walsh for permission to share this blog in the Voice!