Paperboats CAMPAIGN

In response to the failure of our global and national leaders to take meaningful and serious action on climate change, we are making a flotilla, a navy perhaps, of paperboats as a warning shot across the bows of current and future political leaders. If they fail to take serious and sustained action on climate change, they will no longer have our support. Join us.

In the last verse of her poem ‘What the Clyde said, After COP 26’, Scotland’s National Poet Kathleen Jamie, sent a warning to global leaders: 

“I heard the beautiful promises…
and, sure, I’m a river,
but I can take a side.
From this day, I’d rather keep afloat,
like wee folded paper boats,
the hopes of the young folk
chanting at my bank,
fear in their spring-bright eyes
so hear this:
          fail them, and I will rise.”

Since COP 26, few commitments have translated into meaningful action. There were more oil lobbyists at COP26 than delegates from any other single nation. COP 28 is due to be held in Dubai, at the heart of the oil economy.

The Scottish Government too, who promised to be a world leader on climate change, is not meeting its own climate targets. It needs to stand firm in opposition to new oil and gas developments in the North Sea and support a fair transition for Scottish oil workers.

Meanwhile, the climate and ecological emergency accelerates faster and more fiercely than our scientists predicted. Global leaders are failing to secure a liveable planet for our children, and the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people on the frontline of climate change suffer drought, crop failure, wild fires, floods and storms.

The Paperboats Campaign is our response to this.

Scottish Parliament Action: 23rd November

On Thursday 23rd November 2023, we gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to deliver 1000 Paperboats, 1000 Climate Hopes, to MSPs of all parties. Our message was this:

The climate emergency is not a party political issue. MSPs of all parties must come together to support rapid and urgent action in the face of accelerating climate breakdown, or they will lose our votes.

Scotland Be Brave! Let’s stand firm in opposition to new oil and gas in the North Sea. Let’s exceed our climate targets and lead the world in a fair transition.

The event featured poetry from Kathleen Jamie and Hugh McMillan, and music from Karine Polwart, Stephen Deazley, and the Paperboats Choir.

Of the 129 MSPs we wrote to in advance of the action, only six replied (Monica Lennon – Labour, Ariane Burgess – Greens, Fiona Hyslop – SNP, Maggie Chapman – Greens, Mark Ruskell – Greens, and Ben Macpherson – SNP).  

In this time of climate emergency, our MSPs are not listening.

If your MSPs are among those that did not respond, you can use this template letter to write to them. We’ve included a link for you to find out who your MSPs are.

Karine Polwart, Stephen Deazely and the Paperboats Choir

Read the poems written for the event by Hugh McMillan and Kathleen Jamie.

Scotland's Makar Kathleen Jamie, talks about the Paperboats Campaign

While the lack of response from our MSPs was deeply disappointing, your climate messages will be delivered.

We are documenting and photographing every single message, and will send them to all constituency and list MSPs representing the locations where the messages were collected. We will also be making videos of the messages for wider sharing. 

Paperboats Collected in Edinburgh

The elected representatives for this constituency are: MP Tommy Sheppard; Constituency MSP: Angus Robertson

List MSPs: Jeremy Balfour, Sarah Boyack, Miles Briggs, Foysol Choudhury, Alison Johnstone, Lorna Slater, Sue Webber

Get Involved in Our Paperboats Campaign

As our elected representatives are not listening, we are aiming to deliver thousands of messages of climate hope to MPs and MSPs from every constituency in Scotland. 

Here’s how you can add your voice:

  • Find a second-hand book or old magazine that symbolises something important to you. 
  • Cut out the pages and fold them into paperboats. There are instructions and ‘how to’ videos online, but feel free to be creative.
  • Write a short note with your climate hopes for the future. Tuck the notes into your paperboats. You can also write your message directly on the boat.
  • Send them to your elected representatives. You can find out who they are at
  • Optional – take a photo of your boats and tag your politicians on social media. Don’t forget to tag us too (Twitter / X: @paperboatswrite, Insta: @paperboatswriters)

If your school, library or community would like to join in with our paperboats campaign, get in touch at:, and we’ll send you a free digital toolkit.

Happy Folding!

p.s. Our wee campaign is taking off with choirs popping up and folk getting in touch. if you have ideas for actions or skills you can lend us, get in touch.

"Our world needs climate action on all fronts — everything, everywhere, all at once."

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