Take part in our COP26 climate change art exhibition

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The climate change and water story – as told by young people

WaterAid/ Basile Ouedraogo
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We're creating an art exhibition as part of the UN climate change conference - and we'd love you to be a part of it!

The UN's annual climate change conference, known as COP26, takes place in Glasgow this November. World leaders will come together to plan how to tackle the urgent threat of climate change – and you can be part of this historic moment.

On Friday 12 November, we'll be showcasing an art exhibition about water and climate change at the conference, encouraging governments to take action on the crisis.

Will you create a piece of original artwork to add to our exhibition?

What's water got to do with climate change?

Come rain or shine, we all need clean water we can rely on.

But climate change is causing more floods that pollute water sources, longer droughts that dry up springs, and unpredictable rains that make it harder to grow food. The climate crisis is a water crisis – and it's people who are already struggling to get clean water who are being hit the hardest.

Basile, who works for WaterAid in Burkina Faso, explains what climate change means to him, and how you can help demand action from world leaders:

Be part of the exhibition

To take part, create a piece of art – it could be an illustration, an abstract painting, a poem, or anything you feel fits – that represents the climate and water crisis, encouraging global governments to take action.

Think about your responses to these questions, and use them as prompts to help create your artwork:

  • What does climate change mean to you?
  • Young people in developing countries have done the least to cause climate change, but they are often hit hardest by droughts and flooding. How does this make you feel?
  • How can we encourage governments to take action?

Your finished artwork must fit inside a 15cm x 15cm​ square​​​​. You can download the template in our activity pack (PDF) and use that as your canvas, or make your own, as long as it isn't bigger than 15cm x 15cm.

You can take part as long as you're aged 25 or under; please also make sure you've read and agree to the terms and conditions before you start.

Inspiration to help you get started

These photos show the effects of climate change on communities in some of the countries where we work. You could use them as the basis for your work, or think about how they make you feel and then create something in response.

How to submit your artwork

Please make sure we receive your artwork by midnight on Friday 5 November.

By post

Send your finished piece to:

Climate Change and Water Story Art, WaterAid Scotland, The Bridge, Buchanan Gate Business Park, Cumbernauld Road, Stepps, Scotland, G33 6FB.

Unfortunately, we're not able to cover postage costs.

By email

If your artwork is digital, or if you'd rather take a photo of a physical piece, you can email it to us at [email protected]. Please only attach a maximum of five image files (in JPEG or PNG format) per email.

On social media

You can also share it with us on Instagram, TikTok or Twitter using #OurClimateFight – be sure to tag @WaterAidUK whichever channel you use!

Climate warrior workshop

This workshop explores the link between climate change and water, and gets young people thinking about how political change happens, while creating their own artwork for our COP26 exhibition.

Got questions?

You can take part as long as you're aged up to 25.

You can create something on your own, or you could team up and work together with your friends, classmates, or members of your university society or youth group.

Yes! We'd love to include different voices from all around the world.

If you're outside the UK, we recommend that you send your artwork to us digitally, to avoid postage costs and potential delays.

You can use any type of medium you like: you could draw, paint, make a collage, write a poem... It's up to you!

You could also create something digitally – but remember, we will print it to display it in the exhibition, so it can't include video, animations or gifs.

We'd love to see how you respond creatively – the only limits are that it must fit within the 15cm x 15cm border, it must be your own original work, and it can't include any inappropriate content.

We'll have space for around 300 images, and will select which are shown as fairly as possible, displaying as many as we can.

We'll display physical pieces, or printed versions of artwork sent to us digitally, on paper as part of the public engagement exhibition. We may also share images on screens both during and after the event, and on our website and social media channels.

We won't include individual names alongside pieces, but will show the name of schools or organisations where relevant.

We'll be displaying the exhibition in the COP26 Green Zone, in the Glasgow Science Centre, on 12 November – so if you're around, you can see it in person!

We'll also be sharing highlights on our social media channels, by email, and on our website.

Unfortunately, we won't be able to return physical artwork. If you'd like to keep your original, we recommend that you take a high-quality photo and email that to us at [email protected] instead.

Our changing climate is making it even harder for the world’s poorest people to get clean water, stay safe, and earn a living.

As global temperatures rise, weather is becoming more and more extreme, from prolonged droughts to devastating floods. Water supplies are drying up, so people have to spend longer walking to collect water that often makes them sick. Floods destroy pipes, pollute drinking water and damage toilets, so people have no way of staying healthy.

Millions of people around the world rely on farming to feed themselves and their families. But droughts are killing crops and livestock, floods are washing away fields, and rainfall is becoming too unpredictable to depend on.

We work with communities and partners to provide water services that people can rely on. Together, we build systems that can withstand floods, and train people to manage their supplies so they don't run dry in times of need. We support governments to reach even more people, and encourage them to take action.

Every year, the United Nations brings together nearly every country in the world for a global climate summit called a 'Conference of the Parties' – otherwise known as a COP.

In November, world leaders will meet in Glasgow for the 26th annual summit, COP26. Over 12 days of talks, governments will discuss how to tackle the climate crisis, and try to agree on actions their countries must take.

The decisions made this year will set the course for climate change efforts for decades.

Alongside reducing carbon emissions, governments need to do more to help people who are experiencing the effects of climate change right now. They need to recognise that climate change is making it even harder for people in the world's poorest countries to access clean water, and ensure communities get a source of drinking water they can rely on – today and long into the future.

If you have any more questions, get in touch with us by emailing [email protected] – we'd love to hear from you!