Young people across Scotland are being invited to take part in a major project to research the impact of climate breakdown on the country's coastal areas.

The On Our Wave Length initiative will see teams of young people from Argyll and Bute, Fife, North Berwick, South Ayrshire and the Western Isles investigate environmental consequences on beaches and waters of their local coasts.

The partnership between YouthLink Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will pair the Young Heritage Researchers' with youth workers to assist in their findings.

Experts from Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Coastal Archeology and the Problem of Erosion (SCAPE) will also be on hand to help.


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The young people will be encouraged to set their own research parameters and explore issues that matter most to them and their communities from climate breakdown, industry pollution and the impact on wildlife and oceans.

Amy Calder, Senior Policy and Research Officer, YouthLink Scotland said:"Watching Greta Thunberg and young people across the world marching through the streets to fight for a sustainable future, showing adults that climate change is real and needs tackling now, has been extremely inspiring.

"It also highlights the power of youth voice in holding adults to account for actions that will affect them and future generations."

Early next year the project will launch a youth-led national campaign to highlight the damaging environmental and and social impacts on sea-side communities.

The initiative launches at the beginning of the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 where Scotland's waters will be celebrated with a programme of activity designed to inspire both visitors and locals to explore and experience the country's unrivalled shores.

Well established annual festivities such as the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy and Crail Food Festival will be joined by The Fife Regatta, an expanded Clydebuilt Festival, and Edinburgh International Film Festival will present Scotland's Shores, featuring classic film screenings and a special outdoor coastal experience.

The RSPB will celebrate Aberdeen's status as one of the few cities in Europe where dolphins can regularly be seen from the shore at DolphinFest 2020. Scotland's Boat Show and Kip Marina will make a splash with a brand new special event 'River of Light' and The National Theatre of Scotland will deliver, Ferry Tales, an exciting new production, celebrating Scotland's surrounding waters and the journeys over them made by thousands of residents and tourists.

For young people from the North Berwick Youth Project, who are involved in the On Our Wave Length initiative, the project will help them to investigate already existing concerns they have about their area, says project director, Lesley Kay.

She said: "Young people are passionately interested in environmental issues and it’s fantastic that through this new project, they will be supported by youth workers and environmentalists to investigate the impacts of pollution and global warming right on their doorstep.

"As a coastal community there are a variety of environmental consequences for young people to consider, including coastal erosion, the predicted rise in sea levels, the need for marine conservation in the light of climate change and the effect of litter, in particular single use plastics."

The findings of the Young Heritage Researchers will be shared at a national event in the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh in July 2020, and then local story-sharing events in their communities.

Ms Calder said: "It’s fitting the research report is unveiled at the centre, as it is through the stories of first-hand accounts of damage to our coasts and waters that will bring communities together to fight against climate change."

The On Our Wave Length project is another vital investment in understanding the impact of climate change and joins other projects in Scotland such as the beneficiaries of the latest round of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)’s Green Infrastructure Fund, launched in 2016.

Nearly £8 million of funding has been made available to help reduce the impacts of climate crisis in urban areas across the Central Belt.


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The fund aims to tackle socio-economic issues such as poor health and high unemployment by creating and improving greenspaces in communities as well as attempting to mitigate effects of global climate change.

The seven latest projects will improve habitats and biodiversity, transform unused land, tackle flood risk and create new active travel routes, community gardens and play areas in Glasgow, Bishopbriggs and Dunfermline.

SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “We know that connecting people with nature makes them happier and healthier and it’s great to see this funding delivering that in our most deprived areas.

“In addition to the many social and economic benefits, improving our urban greenspace can also help us adapt to and mitigate climate change.

“This funding will help us create a nature-rich future for everyone in Scotland, part of the solution to the climate emergency facing us all.”

The EU-backed Green Infrastructure Fund is part of the Scottish Government’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme and is being delivered in two phases.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “This investment will bring significant benefits to communities across seven more urban areas, repurposing and revitalising land to create green spaces and infrastructure.

“Crucially, this funding will also help address the impacts of climate change by improving biodiversity, managing flood risk, and reducing pollution, while promoting new low carbon lifestyle choices and active transport options in the heart of our communities.”