A river in the woods in Scotland

Environmental Sustainability

We all joke that Scotland often experiences four seasons in one day. As much as it feels that way at times, Scotland should have cool summers, mild winters and rainfall throughout the year. However, our climate is changing. Over the last few decades Scotland has experienced a warming trend and shifting rainfall patterns. In future, experts are predicting warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers with more extreme events. These changes will have major implications for our way of life.

Impacts of climate change in Scotland include increases in flood risk, coastal change, damage to buildings and infrastructure, and increased prevalence of pests and diseases in the natural environment.

Climate change is also a key driver of the climate emergency – it is the single greatest threat to Scotland’s habitats. As Scotland aims to move towards Net Zero, it’s important for all of us to consider environmental sustainability at the heart of all of our activities. Many people call this being ‘Climate Aware’, which is the act of learning about the natural environment and making educated choices to benefit the earth, rather than hurt it. 

Why is this relevant in a youth theatre context? 

Information around the climate crisis can often involve alarming statistics, prophecies of doom and gloom, and a call to do important but small tasks that many consider dull and irritating, e.g. turning down thermostats and ensuring kettles are boiled responsibly. Most people have some level of climate awareness and understand that the future of our natural world, and our societies are at stake. Yet there is also a ‘climate fatigue’ in which people just don’t want to think about it anymore. Arts and culture can be a crucial remedy to this, and a catalyst for change, by making climate awareness accessible and exciting. 

Youth theatre could play a particularly crucial role within this. Many young people have a passionate interest in climate awareness as they are acutely aware that they are the ones who will be living in and leading the future. Harnessing the passion and creativity of young people in pursuit of a greener society can be enormously engaging and motivating for participants, as well as having potentially world–changing effects.

COP 26

COP26: A visual guide | Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (eciu.net)

YouthLink’s COP26 Scottish Youth Climate Project

How your youth theatre can get involved with Climate Awareness

The Green Arts Initiative

Swap, recycle and save money with the Circular Arts Network 

Culture Declares Emergency

24 Hours of Reality

Youth Theatre Performance Projects relating to Climate Awareness 

Scottish Youth Theatre National Ensemble’s “Once You See The Smoke”  

The National Youth Theatre’s three-year environmental project MELT  

Wild Geese Theatre: helping young people face climate change anxiety  

Almeida Theatre Young Company’s digital climate change festival ‘Shifting Tides’ 

General Climate Awareness Links 

Julie’s Bicycles Resource Hub

Keep Scotland Beautiful

Thriving Greenspaces

Dare we hope? Here’s my cautious case for climate optimism | Rebecca Solnit | The Guardian

What are YTAS doing to help the environment?

Youth Theatre Arts Scotland is a climate-aware and climate-active organisation. We are proud to be a member of The Green Arts Initiative, an interactive community of arts organisations working to reduce their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable Scotland. We are committed to monitoring and reducing our own environmental impact, and to inspiring, encouraging and supporting our sector to act sustainably as we transition towards a climate resilient and low-carbon economy.

At our events, we aim to…

  • Reduce paper resources. Where possible we send out information packs and delegate lists by email, and keep paper resources to a minimum.
  • Provide vegetarian-based catering, with vegan and other dietary requirement options available.
  • Encourage you to bring your own keep cup to use throughout the day.
Youth Theatre Participants
Towards an Ecological Performance Aesthetic for the Bio-Urban: A Non-Anthropocentric Theory
A thesis on how theatre can frame and question climate issues for audiences to think about the ecological world in a new way.
A Conversation on Creative Design
In this recorded discussion, we look at ways we can be creative and resourceful in the design process, and how directors and designers can work together in creative and ecological ways.
Adapting Our Culture
A toolkit for cultural organisations planning for a climate changed future, including useful information about making adaptation plans and adapting the operations of cultural organisations.
Creative Carbon Scotland Resources
Creative Carbon Scotland’s fantastic list of recommended resources to help you reduce your organisation’s impact on the environment and cut carbon emissions.
Advice for a Green Recovery
A report prepared by the Just Transition Commission, providing advice to the Scottish Government on ensuring a just green recovery, carrying forward the climate benefits that were witnessed during COVID-19 lockdown.


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