David Attenborough praises Mull man’s new children’s book on climate change

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A Tobermory hotel owner has launched a new book at COP26 teaching children about climate change, through the adventures of a Scotty dog from Mull and his best friend Owl.

The new owner of Mull’s Western Isles Hotel, James Wright, who grew up in Tobermory where his father was a grocer and baker, commissioned the book as his contribution to alerting young children about the climate crisis.

It has already been issued to 400 delegates attending the UN’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who called it a ‘valuable contribution’, and the legendary broadcaster David Attenborough, who told James it was a ‘stupendous idea’.

Scotty Plants a Seed, the first book in a series, stars a small black dog from the island called Scotty. His website explains: ‘Climate change can sometimes be a little frightening. This is a story about the small changes we can all make, to help protect the planet. No one is too small to make a difference, and no difference is too small to make.

‘Come with Scotty – to the island of Mull, then India, Brazil, Africa and right around the world. Will he find his way home? Will his friend owl lose all his feathers flying after him? Will they learn something extraordinary about trees on the way? Hold tight…’

The book, written by author Conn Iggulden and illustrated by Lizzy Duncan, is based on James Wright’s original idea. James explained: ‘I was invited to join the Scotia group, a not-for-profit environmental group, with a view to producing a blueprint recommendation on how to tackle carbon emissions to reduce rising global temperatures.

‘The recommendations will be presented to the Secretary General of the United Nations at the Cop 26 Climate Change Conference in November 2021.

‘Not being a scientist, I took the following view. Conferences come and conferences go. Politicians come and politicians go but children are constant.

‘I felt it was essential to find a medium by which young children could be educated about climate change and how our planet is currently being destroyed by modern living practices.

‘Today’s children will be the very people that will have to deal with the consequences of what my generation and the generation before us has created. These children when grown will need to continue what we have now started, albeit with greater urgency, to make the necessary changes to reverse global warming.

‘Scotty and his adventures are the medium by which I felt we could teach young nursery and primary school children all about the varying issues facing us today. Meet Scotty in his brand-new book, Scotty Plants a Seed, where we find out that no one is too small to make a difference and no difference is too small to make.

‘Keep in mind that TODAY we have an opportunity to do good for ourselves, the planet, and others. We do still have time and this first book is our small contribution towards that end.’

Scotty’s website also features colouring in pages, a Scotty wall, and Scotty’s collaboration with the Millennium Seed Bank in Kew’s wild botanic gardens in Sussex, which stores over 2.4 billion seeds to save the plants from becoming extinct.

The team are hoping to find a publisher so the Scotty books can be available at Christmas.