Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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Scots youngsters invited to have their say on climate change in charity’s podcast

SCOTS youngsters are being offered the opportunity to have their say on how to tackle climate change in a charity’s podcast.

The National Trust for Scotland invited pupils from Langside Primary School, Glasgow, to visit Holmwood, a historic site under the care of the Trust, and discuss how the charity should respond to the climate and biodiversity crisis. 

Trust Chief Executive, Philip Long OBE, met three eco reps from the primary school to find out about their vision for the future of Scotland, and what measures they believe the Trust must implement in order to tackle the climate crisis.

The National Trust for Scotland has outlined its commitment to becoming carbon negative by 2031 in its recently released strategy Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone. 

Red squirrel sitting on a log.
One of the Trust’s aspirations is for the native red squirrel to be thriving again across the whole of Scotland in 10 years’ time.

Three pupils met with Philip met with Philip and Juliet Turner, the Trust’s Gardener at Holmwood to discuss this subject.

Pupils Zara Gustinakova and Lyla Macfarlane, in Primary 6, and Alistair McClymont, in Primary 7, met with the pair to understand what needs to be done to protect the built and natural environment. 

During the visit pupils discussed the importance of caring for wildlife, in particular their aspiration that the native red squirrel will be thriving again across the whole of Scotland in 10 years’ time.

Alongside this, they shared their views on the need to care for our landscapes, plants and wildlife now, to allow them to flourish in the coming years. 

Talking about why they chose to get involved with the Trust, the pupils cited a “need to help”, “passion for the environment” and feelings that “not enough is being done”.

All three pupils signalled how urgent they thought the situation is for Scotland, expressing that unless there is more action now “we won’t be able to survive and neither will animals”.

They also shared their concern that as a country “we’re doing a lot but it still feels like it’s not enough”. 

The youngsters discussed the efforts of the Trust in responding to the climate crisis through work that is being done to conserve and protect natural heritage.

This ranges from native flora and fauna to wildlife, and the need to protect long-established and increasingly rarer native species in order to protect the eco-system. 

Philip Long OBE, Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland, said: “Earlier this year we announced our ambition to become carbon negative by our centenary in 2031, as part of our ten-year strategy.

“We have also made a commitment to introducing a range of changes and adaptations to allow us to respond effectively to the ongoing climate and biodiversity crisis which impacts all aspects of the Trust’s work – from the condition of our buildings to the preservation of our archaeological sites and the natural environment. 

“Across the Trust we have a number of initiatives already in place, such as our Peatland Restoration project at Mar Lodge Estate and the creation of a wetland habitat on the Threave Estate.

“But, in order to truly make an impact I believe we need to engage young people and work with them to understand what needs to be done now and to conserve our sites for the future.

“We want the places we look after to be enjoyed by everyone and, to do that, we need to hear diverse voices about how we should be tackling climate change.

“Meeting with Zara, Lyla and Alistair was incredibly inspirational, hearing their passion for the subject and learning about the initiatives they’re participating in at school.

“It’s this passion and vision for the future that inspires us to make positive changes now, for the sake of future generation.”

Mr Smith, a teacher at Langside Primary School, added: “I think it’s vitally important that young people engage with these issues, particularly off the back of COP 26 in Glasgow.

“Climate change is at the forefront of many young people’s priorities and consciousness; it is fundamental that these voices are not just heard but acted upon.

“I’m incredibly proud of our three eco pioneers for their work in school and on this podcast – they are an inspiration!”

During their visit to Holmwood the pupils were given the opportunity to work with Juliet on the Victorian kitchen garden, gaining a better understanding of the impact of the extreme weather the country is encountering as a result of the climate crisis.

To find out more about the visit and the hopes of the Langside Primary School pupils when it comes to climate change, you can listen to the latest episode of the National Trust for Scotland’s Love Scotland podcast.

Hosted by Cameron Angus Mackay, this podcast episode also covers new and ongoing initiatives from the Trust to combat the impact of climate change. 

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