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Various isles-based groups are coming together to inspire public engagement and positive action in the run-up to and beyond the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, taking place in Glasgow this November.

The partnership will be one of seven hubs across Scotland known as ‘Climate Beacons’, funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Change and Culture Divisions, Creative Scotland, and Museums Galleries Scotland.

Six other Beacons will be in Argyll, Caithness & East Sutherland, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian, and Tayside.

Climate Beacons will provide a welcoming physical and virtual space for the public, artists and cultural sector professionals, environmental NGOs, scientists and policymakers to discuss and debate COP26 themes and climate action specific to their local area.

The Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon is a partnership between An Lanntair arts centre, Taigh Chearsabhagh museum and arts centre, Ceòlas, Community Energy Scotland, Western Isles Libraries, TSI Western Isles, NatureScot, Adaptation Scotland and the wider Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership Climate Change Working Group.

It will focus on how the islands can adapt to the worsening impacts of climate change while celebrating their unique natural and cultural heritage.

Elly Fletcher, Chief Executive at An Lanntair, said: “ What an incredible opportunity we have to work together here in the Outer Hebrides to engage people and explore climate impacts, whilst celebrating the islands’ unique natural and cultural heritage. We have lots of exciting plans in the lead up to COP26 this year and beyond, and we can’t wait to get going and to share and connect nationally with the whole Beacons network.”

The seven Climate Beacons will operate in the lead-up to, during, and after COP26, each utilising their own expertise and responding to the needs of their local area and communities with planned themes including Scotland’s temperate rainforests, industrial heritage, water, adaptation to climate change, land use, biodiversity, green jobs, and the recovery from COVID-19.

Scottish Government Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said of the project: “This pioneering work from Creative Carbon Scotland ahead of COP26 makes a powerful link between culture and climate action. Climate Beacons will play an important role in ensuring that the history-making COP26 negotiations are not only felt in Glasgow but across the country, helping everyone in Scotland to better understand climate change and how to contribute to becoming a net-zero society.”

Creative Carbon Scotland, an arts and sustainability charity, is overseeing the project. They are connecting the seven Beacons and offering support throughout, alongside co-ordinating partners Architecture & Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Library and Information Council, and Sustainable Scotland Network.

Ben Twist, Director at Creative Carbon Scotland, said: “Tackling climate change requires us to find imaginative solutions to complex problems. Cultural buildings and events can provide an open and welcoming space for these challenging conversations, bringing people together to collectively think, imagine, feel and develop lasting connections that will strengthen future climate action.”

To find out more about each of the Climate Beacons, how to get involved and keep up to date with latest developments, visit www.climatebeacons.com.

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