Ahead of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters in 2020, YouthLink Scotland is launching ‘On Our Wave Length’. The project will support young people to research the impact of climate change in their coastal communities, alongside a nationwide campaign.

The initiative is a partnership between YouthLink Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Young people from Argyll and Bute, Fife, North Berwick, South Ayrshire and the Western Isles will be supported to investigate the environmental consequences along the beaches and waters of their coastal areas. The Young Heritage Researchers will have complete freedom to explore the issues that matter most to them and their communities, whether this is climate change, industry, pollution, impacts on wildlife, oceans and so on. They will be supported by youth workers and experts, including Scottish Natural Heritage; Scottish Coastal Archaeology; and the Problem of Erosion (SCAPE).

At the beginning of the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, the project will be launching a youth-led national campaign to highlight the damaging environmental and social impacts on our coastal communities.

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.”

One of those involved in the initiative is North Berwick Youth Project, their Project Director, Lesley Kay believes youngsters in coastal areas often witness the impact of climate change more acutely:

“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 Young Heritage Researchers findings will be shared at a national event in the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh on July 2020.

Amy Calder of YouthLink Scotland added: “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.”