At the beginning of the year we were approached to offer our support to a timely and charming initiative called The Lost Woods set up by a small community group, From Little Acorns Grow (FLAG).
Their pilot project began in March with every primary school in Glasgow being delivered a pack containing acorns and planting materials to enable children to grow oak trees. The group aim to transform various sites by planting these trees grown by the children, creating vital carbon sinks, improving air quality and promoting biodiversity, thereby bringing climate optimism and learning to life. The small direct action of growing and planting a tree aims to cultivate a sense of ownership and empowerment in the fight against climate change and simply explain the importance of natural climate solutions as part of the tools we have to repair our environment. The packs also included teaching resources and the book ‘The Promise’ by author Nicola Davies – a powerful allegorical tale of the power we have as individuals to change our environment.
"We believe the creative arts have a fundamental role to play in social and environmental improvement, connecting with people and being a driver for change. The central focus of the project is to use the arts to inspire and empower children to actively engage in influencing changes to the environment."
Our own involvement has been to help reinforce the message of the project through the creation of a playful logotype and a simple/accessible website, designed and managed by our talented intern, Alasdair Ekin. Alasdair reflected:
“The opportunity to work on a project which holds such a positive social impact was really heartening for me. Early learning about the natural environment, through practice is one of our most powerful tools for ensuring a sustainable future generation. This project has advocated that sense of social responsibility, and it needed a visual focus point to encapsulate that. Working on the identity for a community of such forward thinking individuals was really humbling, and I think it’s rare for such goodwill to be harnessed in the way The Lost Woods project has been done.”
In November 2020, Glasgow was set to host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) where heads of state, climate experts, business leaders, and campaigners set targets and the course of action for addressing the climate emergency. This important summit was seen as an ideal platform for celebrating and raising the profile of The Lost Woods project. Unfortunately COP26 has now been rescheduled to November 2021 due to the worldwide effects of COVID-19. The pandemic has presented many ongoing challenges to FLAG’s pilot project however they remain dedicated to achieving their original aims. The project continues to be carefully documented in the hope it can inspire similar initiatives across the rest of the UK and beyond.
“We’ve been fortunate to get support from a wide range of talented artists, designers, writers and musicians. We sought help from Graphical House as we admire their use of storytelling as a focus in their work. We were moved by their belief in the potential of our ideas and the sheer energy and enthusiasm that they have devoted to the project.”
Vasantha Piyasena, FLAG member
For many the pandemic is a prelude to a far bigger crisis, it presents an important opportunity for us to reflect and meaningfully address the environmental issues which we all face. As emissions have temporarily dropped during lockdown, this notable change has led to an increasingly shared belief (and optimism) that radical changes in our relationship to the environment are possible. The abrupt pause in ‘normality’ offers a real opportunity for governments and individuals to mediate towards a more urgent approach to protecting our environment. The enormity and complexity of the climate emergency can leave us all with a profound sense of paralysis and powerlessness, often making every conscious effort feel futile. For children in particular, it can be overwhelming or alternatively result in complete disengagement with a such a gloomy issue. If we are to have a chance of reducing climate change an important factor will be fostering a sense of collective responsibility and empowerment from a young age – planting a tree is a positive start.