Climate projects given £120,000 cash boost ahead of COP26

The projects hope to encourage youngsters to engage with and contribute to climate research.

Climate projects given £120,000 cash boost ahead of COP26 iStock

A series of climate engagement projects have been given a £120,000 cash boost by the UK government ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) announced the investment in a series of projects which aim to encourage 14 to 18-year-olds to engage with, and contribute to, important climate research.

The projects will take place between September and December to coincide with the COP26 United Nations climate change summit which will take place in Glasgow this autumn.

They include the Climate in Your Hands project which will invite 14 to 18-year-olds based in Glasgow to explore climate change issues by making magazines, while in Edinburgh young people from the city’s Caribbean communities will be encouraged to explore climate change through their food heritage.

Another initiative will involve six online creative workshops bringing together ten young people from South Wales with ten young indigenous people from the Upper Xingu Territory in the Amazon basin, Brazil, to generate a collective, multimedia performance that captures their responses to climate change in drastically different environments.

Professor Christopher Smith, AHRC Executive Chair, said: “If we are going to come together as a global community to address the climate crisis, we need to ensure that people from all ages and walks of life are engaged with this crucial issue.

“These investments are a testament to the ability of the creative arts, theatre and storytelling to bring complex issues to life, and to bring people together.

“Young people have a particular stake in this because it is their future that is at risk.

“Their engagement in, and creative contribution to, these activities will lead to a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the need to work towards a more sustainable future.”

Other projects include a series of workshops in Exeter which aim to support young LGBTQ+ people to develop their own perspectives on climate change and another where 14 to 18-year-olds in Wigan and Leigh will work with academics, songwriters and the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside (LWT) to co-create songs.

Tom Saunders, UKRI Head of Public Engagement, said: “UKRI is keen to support researchers and innovators to engage with young people on crucial issues like climate change.

“These investments will establish a dialogue between the research and innovation community and the public that will bring underrepresented voices into the climate debate and provide valuable insights into young people’s views on climate change.

“They will help to ensure that the future of climate research is informed by a diverse range of people and foster a more inclusive research and innovation system.”

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “Tackling climate change is an endeavour which must include all age groups across society and connect communities around the world.

“I look forward to seeing the fruition of this inspiring COP26 initiative that will channel the fresh ideas, energy and creativity of teenagers across the globe into our fight against climate change”.

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