We asked Pat McNicol from Faiths Together Skye & Lochalsh about the interfaith group’s plans for Scottish Interfaith Week and taking climate action across the Highlands. Here’s what Pat said:

“We love Scottish Interfaith Week because it challenges our group to be innovative in how to mark it locally as an outreach event to attract new members. The wonderful diversity and sheer number of events on offer throughout Scotland – even before Covid – has proven to be richly informative, fascinating and inspiring.

“Never more so than in 2020, when the unifying experience of creating our virtual art gallery connected our group as never before, and allowed others to view the artistic creation online and expand the circle of connectivity.

A photo of Skye Bridge by Lysana Robinson for Faiths Together Skye & Lochalsh’s Connecting Creatively Gallery (Scottish Interfaith Week 2020)

“The theme for Scottish Interfaith Week 2021 could not be more relevant or timely, coinciding with COP26 and marking a critical point in the history of the planet. Concepts such as the oneness of humankind, the interdependence of peoples and nations and the interconnectedness of all of nature, have come to the forefront of peoples’ minds as we try to imagine a new way of life.

Skye Climate Action reaching across the Highlands

Although not involved in Climate Action as a group, more than half of the group’s members have been supporting Skye Climate Action since its inception in 2019 – as co-coordinators, steering group members, project leaders, food growers. Some have met with local MSPs and MPs to discuss key sustainability issues for Skye.

Members are involved in the Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh Community Climate Festival taking place in August 2021. The festival aims to showcase what Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh are doing in response to the challenges of climate change and the need to reduce carbon emissions.

A member of Faiths Together Skye & Lochalsh’s garden

“Skye Climate Action has been expanding its networking efforts and reach through engagement in groups operating across the Highlands. A number of members have taken part in national interfaith and other climate-based events and international webinars. A salient quote to emerge from the latest webinar, namely “Don’t despair! Act!”, comes from Johann Rockstrum whose brilliant documentary ‘Breaking Boundaries’ is highly recommended viewing on Netflix.

“At last, a huge number of people are waking up to the realisation that the wellbeing of all the people of the world must be at the centre of our deliberations on the way forward. The spiritual qualities of collaboration, cooperation and compassion; justice both social and climate, equality and equity must underpin our future decision making and action. And we shall be bearing all of this very much in mind as we start to think about our event for SIFW 2021 for which we may well adopt the motto noted above – “Don’t despair! Act!””

Climate action: How to get involved

At Scottish Interfaith Week, we are delighted to be able to shine a light on the work of Faiths Together Skye & Lochalsh. We believe climate action is important for people of all backgrounds, faiths and cultures to get involved with and that the work being done to spread climate awareness is key to the survival of our planet.

If this story has inspired you to take your own climate action, then why not consider hosting an event for Scottish Interfaith Week 2021, perhaps an online cooking class or a climate literacy workshop? The theme this year is Together for Our Planet and we are encouraging individuals and organisations across Scotland to host climate-related events.

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