First-ever Gaelic Climate Change Convention

A blog by Murdo MacSween, Director of Astar Media

In November 2023, at Cnoc Soilleir in South Uist, the first-ever Gaelic Climate Change convention was held, organised by Climate Hebrides as the inaugural event for the Outer Hebrides Climate Hub.

Astar Media was contracted to deliver the convention. As well as setting up the event, I acted as the host and moderator for the collaborative elements. Astar is a Gaelic projects agency based in Stornoway, and we’re also members of the Outer Hebrides Climate Hub and were delighted to be chosen to work on such a fascinating project.

The convention brought together residents, representatives from relevant organisations and interested parties from academia, media and the Gaelic development sector. In total, 54 delegates attended, 30 in-person and 24 online (with streaming services provided by the team from WeeStudio – also members of the Climate Hub).

BBC News | We Love Stornoway 

Being the first event of its kind, Climate Hebrides identified the need to establish some agreement for Gaelic terminology regarding climate change. The morning session discussions helped to ease the delegates into understanding the expansiveness of the topic, but they also introduced crucial local nuances that may help to spread relevance and understanding of the issues. 

Most of the terminology had been sourced from various databases, government and academia primarily, but delegates were also aware of terminology from media consumption of BBC Radio nan Gàidheal and BBC An Là while other delegates worked with school curriculum content regarding COP26. The discussions were active and collaborative, and discussing the different terms helped inform the afternoon sessions.

After lunch and experiencing the community cèilidh at Cnoc Soilleir, the delegates learned about the government’s approach to Just Transition planning and implementation. These sessions sought opinions and concerns about the themes discussed: Land Use & Agriculture, Built Environment & Construction and the Scottish National Adaptation Plan.

Gaelic Climate Convention Report.

Astar’s key takeaway from the event was that this was a hugely informing experience for the delegates, with most quite unaware of the plans regarding climate change in Scotland, especially for the islands. Our belief was that holding the event entirely in Gaelic meant that an entirely different demographic of delegates attended, which is further evident from subsequent events that have similarly taken place. 

The Outer Hebrides Climate Hub, Climate Hebrides and the Just Transition team at the Scottish Government should be commended for recognising the value of Gaelic in this setting, and Astar is proud to have had the chance to be involved in what is just the beginning of an important movement. 

Astar was also contracted to build this website and undertake other ad-hoc translation work for the Outer Hebrides Climate Hub. If you’d like to work with us, please get in touch with us via our social media channels below.