Message in a Bottle Isle of North Uist

animation of a house with solar panels
animation of a house with solar panels
  1. My 2040 Island – Alexander, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

I woke up from the loud turbines outside, I got ready and put on my clothes, they were ones from my older brother. My mum says that I do not need new clothes because we can just reuse them. We went down to the shop in mum’s car.  I asked her why doesn’t she have a car running on petrol. Mum replied, “it is against the law now.” I slowly thought to myself about the stories Grandpa told me. He said that a couple of years back, petrol and gas was bad for the world because he said there was a thing called climate change. He said boldly that he remembered that it would have been terrible if it was not for the people in the world that made the change. He said that students like me helped with ideas of how to tackle climate change.

They produced the ideas to make a lot of wind farms and stop making plastic things such as plastic bottles. They also said to stop the greenhouse gases. I remember asking him what greenhouse gases were. He said it was mostly the factories that produced it because they were burning a lot of fossil fuels and the gases were over-heating the earth. He said things are different now compared to the past like we have to use our bottles again and again. He also mentioned that in the past, they didn’t have to take their bottles in to shops they could just buy a new one again and again, which meant there was far too much plastic littering the world.

He said if it were not for the people at Cop-26, we could be flooded right now. Later that day I went looking at the wind turbine.  I saw that people were putting more of the turbines in the wind farm – great!  A big electric bus flew right past me, nearly knocking me down. I also saw a woman with her dog picking up her own litter.  I wondered if people did that back in 2022.

 Another thing caught my eye. It was Billy’s house with solar panels. I thought everyone had solar panels even in 2022  but I remembered Grandad saying that they were new back then, I couldn’t imagine what the world looked like then. It’s so colorful and pretty with animals everywhere nowadays!

Each week, my mum would support our local shop by giving them some of the fish my dad caught. Later that day me and my brother went to get some carrots from our field. We plant them every year. Me and my brother [Sam] saw a large house being built. We watched for a while whilst picking carrots up. I love that we can have our dinner, knowing it’s all been grown or bought locally. I love our life 2040.

  1. My 2040 Island – Cait, Primary 6, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

Today, I was just waking up when I heard lots of thuds from the neighbours gardening, they are putting up more solar panels! I quickly put on my vet’s gear, that is made from recycled bottles. I leaped down stair to help my children get ready for school. I poured them a cup of milk that came from my sister’s cow, named Bessy. As Alexander and Mairi Ann, my children, got ready for school, I hurried out the door to feed my hens and ducks some food and to get their eggs. It is the law now that we must have our own ducks and hens and other animals that lay eggs. I shouted up to Alexander and Mairi Ann to hurry up or they will be late for the school bus that is electric. As I watch them get on the school bus, I realised that I was going to be late for work as I took the charger off the car, my electric power car. I set off down the road when I saw Mr Paker with a petrol car! I was shocked with that Mr Paker would do this. Why would he do such a thing? 

When I arrived at the vet’s surgery, I was put to work straight away like always. I put the wind turbine on, put all the cars on charge and cleaned out the cage with an electric mop. But to my horror, I saw all my neighbours walking up and down the grass with big sign saying in bold (we want planes back) 

As I raced over to my boss Katie, I was trying to say what had happened, but I was all out of breath. The protesters were coming round the corner and fast. As we raced to the office, we stumbled upon LITTER – one of the worst things for our planet, and there were so many bits of litter. I saw Mr Paker. As I walked slowly towards him, I said to him in horror “Why would you want to go back to the way things were in 2020? Why would you? You were the one that wanted rid of all this?.”

 As he stopped grinning, he said “Well, it was not me. It was everyone else and I don’t care about the world anymore so bye.” As he said that last word, the police were there to take him away. After that, thankfully, everything was back to normal.

 I finished my shift and went home, I took Alexander and Mairi Ann off the bus. As I was putting on dinner, I saw lots more trees and solar panels also wind turbines. I was so happy to live in a world like this.

  1. Change is Good – Cathal, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

A white modern aero fit car glided on the smooth road. The straight spotless track fell upon a large grey and black building. Printed on the side was a piece of writing with the BBC logo. Slickly, the car pulled up. Various noises came from the car as they stopped. Two doors opened; the door had been opened automatically by a power system ingrained in the car. The building stood tall, surrounded by other sized buildings scattered with solar panels. A young woman came out. She had flowing, fair hair. As she walked towards the door, that read exit, round the back of the gleaming building, the wind rushed through her fingers. She opened the door slowly knowing what would be on the other side. A burst of cameras, note pads, journalists surrounded a man, he wore a brown striped suit with a crimson red tie.

“Greetings, welcome to the BBC!” He said it with a smile that he could easily wipe off, it was so fake. The man new little about the woman he was greeting, but it didn’t seem to bother him. She plodded gingerly past the screaming cameras that shone in her face. The man sauntered through a series of hallways, Jessica not far behind. They eventually came to an opening, the floor was black, and not far away stood tall draping deep red curtains. There was a light seeping through the various cracks the curtains held, and along with it a roar from the crowd. Her heart sank. 

Jessica was here in the BBC building to celebrate ten years of a carbon-neutral planet, and she was the one who made it all happen. She protested and the government acted, they insured that every island, every country, had clean renewable water, good renewable transport, and a wildlife centre for all animals in every major city. She wanted everyone’s life to be as good and fulfilled as possible. A crackled voice rang out.

“Now, Jessica North.” 

It was the sort of voice that you could not make out that well, but another huge cheer still followed. The curtains slowly retracted as if they had been pulled by a magnet. Jessica stepped forwards. She was never a noticeably confident person, but nothing could have prepared her for this. Eventually she got over the nerves that filled her up. She placed the third hand flask down, clearing her throat. There were posters, signs, being held up by small children. The shouting died down. A presentation flipped up on a screen behind her, naturally she began to talk. Her presentation was focused on the stuff that she did to help the world wake up.

She stood there for some time presenting it; but it was worth it in the end. Briskly, she walked off the stage. She got out before the news agents caught her. Making her way through the maze of hallways extremely well considering that she had only been there once. She stood staring at the wonderful world before her. The sky was glamorous against the turbines. The acres of land filled with lowing emerald trees. The bunnies running through the foliage of the woods. She stood proud of what she had done.

  1. A day in 2040 – Ciorstaidh, Primary 6, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

Tuesday 8 February 2040

Today, I went out for a walk down the shore. I saw my Neighbour fixing their solar panels as their power went out. When I got back from my walk, my sister came to visit, she just lives along the road in a nice blue and yellow house. We had a nice cup of tea and had a chat. She was saying how my brother was thinking of going back to football but as a manager. 

 After that I went to visit my cousin Eilidh. We decided to go on a walk with the dogs. We went down the common grazing road near our houses. When we got back in went home for lunch. Then I had to pick up Uncle Donnie from the airport. When I picked him up from the airport, he asked if I’d got a new car.  I had have gotten a Nisan Navara like Dads old one but this new one was electric. When we got back, we got a takeaway from Westford, our local pub. My wee cousin Struan works there. He has been the chef since Sharon left. We got fish and chips for dinner. At dinner, Donnie was saying how much it has changed since I was younger. Now, everyone is growing their own potatoes and veg. Everyone is recycling their plastic now it has changed so much. All the new houses powered by renewable energy like solar panels, wind turbines and lots of offer ones and all the cars and buses are electric. It has changed so much.

  1. Life in 2040 – Danny, Primary 7, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

When I wake up in the morning, I open my blinds and look out the window and I see all the wind turbines in the sea going around and around. It makes me realise how safe it is here, unlike it was in 2022. 

I have my breakfast and get ready for the day ahead of me. I get on my bike, go to work, and get everything set up for building more solar panels and wind turbines. I have some friends at my work, and they think that we are doing an excellent job but there are some other people at my work that think we should go back to ‘normal’, or what normal was years ago. Me personally, I think that is a horrible idea and know we should keep on going because we have gotten so far. But when I look in the water, I see a mini oil rig and I am horrified to see it, so I get in my electric helicopter and fly over to it and tell them to get rid of it! They agree and get rid of it so that makes me feel how much we have changed the planet. I fly back to work, it is now 12:00 and I am about to have my lunch and I think I might have a sandwich with a cup of tea. 

What I need to do is to get people to want to build all these things and make our planet even better than it already is. My lunch is delicious, and I think I might have Fajitas for dinner and invite some friends to talk about work while munching on the fajitas. When I was on my bike going home from work, I see a poly tunnel in someone’s back garden planting their own food, and that makes me feel happy that people are not just buying stuff from the shop, they’re planting their own food in their back garden. When I get home, I start chopping up some onions and peppers and start cooking the chicken. I put the peppers in and the onions and the seasoning into the pan and then they all arrive. When they all came in, they ask what we are having. I tell them that I got the peppers and onions from a local poly tunnel, and they were grown by hand. I am going to tell them about how I am going to make a website with lots of secondhand things to my friend and they think it was a great idea. I am going to have clothes and electronics and all the stuff that we use in our day-to-day life. In 2050 all the fueled cars are illegal and if someone is using them the road has built in a device that tells the police that someone is not in an electric car, and it will show their location and they will take them to prison for a month.

  1. Climate Change – Ella, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

The world has changed so much in the past few years. The beaches are beautiful because the tides aren’t taking away the land. In 2020 nobody seemed to care about climate change, but everyone started trying to stop climate change in the years that followed. People would grow their own food, so that climate change wouldn’t come back. People learnt it was good to support local businesses. The years have changed so much. You can’t go to a shop now and buy plastic bottles; you need to take your own bottle there.                                                                   

 In summer, it’s hot and sunny. In winter, it will be very rainy, cold, and wet. When houses were built around 20 years ago, there wasn’t a law that you needed renewable energy in your house. But now, all the big nice and fancy houses are being built and you need at least 1 source of renewable energy. 

The Islands have such nice beaches and shellfish, you need to fish for your own nowadays. Everyone just fishes for themselves. 

If you go onto the mainland, there are many more areas to charge electric cars instead of petrol and diesel. Even on the Islands, there are many charging points for electric cars.

 I see people wearing clothing that had been recycled. Some people didn’t want to bother with climate change, but I kept on convincing and convincing them. Climate change had ruined the beaches. There wasn’t much sand left on the beaches because of the high tides.

We now have lots of forests because they purify the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and they prevent erosion.

  1. A normal day in life – Fraser, Primary 6, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

It was a Tuesday in 2040 and I got up at 3am because I fix turbines in my job, so people get electricity in the morning for people that watch TV. I got a mince pie from Morrisons shop in Lochmaddy, my island village. It is 10 minutes away from the turbines. I stared up at the top of the turbines and it was very tail, and I had to go to the very top of the turbines and charge up the electric motor Inside the turbines. I finish at 8am and drive back home in my electric car, a Tesla model 34. My house also has an electric motor at the side of the house and I pay £3000 a year in tax, I am not the richest guy on the world, but I do get enough money from the job I have.

 I go to my mom and dad’s house every Tuesday morning at 10am to take care of their dog while they are at a Council meeting at the hall. I take the dog for a walk, give it a bath, and take it to the park so it can play with other dogs and make dog friends. At 3pm I leave my mom and dad and go put the electric fire on (powered by my renewable energy source).

Something I used to say a lot to people thirty years ago was please stop using planes and cars with diesel and keep our planet safe.

  1. A Day in a Life in 2040 – Iona, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

As I opened my window on a beautiful Monday morning the sun was shining brightly. I looked around outside and saw that there was a new wind turbine being built. I was delighted. After I got the kids ready for school we hopped into our new electric car and drove off to go and drop the kids off at school. After I had dropped the kids at school, I went to the local shop for some breakfast and some things for lunch. I got some oatcakes and cheese with some iced coffee in my reusable Starbucks cup and the rest in cardboard packaging. After I paid, I then jumped into my car and drove off to work.

Now it is afternoon, and I am sitting at my desk going through my emails, and I have found an email from the school to say that their power shut down and everyone must pick their kids up from school. A little while later I picked up the kids so that they could get started on fixing the power in the school. As l glanced outside the school, I saw that they were still in darkness. When we walked out of the school Lola stroked my arm and said, “Mum can we got to the shop I’m starving”? I said, “Of course we can but we are going in town after to go shopping ok.” We went to the shop and got some snacks. When we were in town, we went to the local food shop and to the clothes store. Now this clothes store is interesting because you just bring clothes that are too small, and you can take five pieces of clothing for free so that we can recycle clothes. Sometimes we even give some to homeless people and people on the streets. I like it, it is achily a clever way to give people clothes and help them. There is also a food shop, the same as the clothes shop.

A little while later we got home. When we were in town, we got some lovely fresh fish from the local fish shop. To make salad to go with the fish we go some things from our garden like cabbage, lettuce cumber, and tomatoes. As we strolled into the house, we washed our hands. We made a lovely dinner with our salad and our fish. I also made a love coleslaw and tartar sauce. After dinner we watched a movie and went to bed.

  1. A day in 2040 – Jack, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

As I woke up and gazed out the window to the newly built wind farm, the majestic blades of the wind turbines slowly spinning almost hypnotizing me. The sun was shining glinting off the roof of my electric car which would be charging as the roof was solar panelled. There was a forest, that had just recently grown into a full forest. The sky was perfect, there were only two tiny clouds surrounded by blue. Not a tiny piece of plastic could be spotted in the sea. I trudged down the stairs still half asleep when Jake, my dog, came sprinting towards me, he obviously wanted food. When I put it into his bowl, he devoured it in seconds. For breakfast I had locally sourced eggs with some homemade bread. I wolfed it down and off I went to work, maintaining the wind turbine plant in the sea. The job was knackering. I often went home and then straight to bed.

  1. A Day in the Life of Kyle – Kyle, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

It was a normal day, I got dressed, strolled downstairs, and scoffed at my breakfast. I put on the tv and watched the news, and it said that someone is trying to build a plane. I was confused. The world has been carbon-neutral for years. I went outside people were shouting to bring back planes. I shouted, “Do you remember 2020?” These people were so stupid. I did not want planes. I like the world carbon neutral. So, I went to work in my Electric car. I fix wind turbines at work people. They were talking about the protesters. There was somebody trying to build a plane. People had to go fishing for fish instead of buying it, people had to charge their car instead of fuel or diesel. 

Proper cars do not work anymore, schooling is done outside, fuel or diesel does not exist anymore. I am shocked that planes are coming back. I approve the carbon neutral world!

I went back to work the next day. I thought I was the only one there, but to my surprise, my friend was there too. I figured out he was the one trying to bring back the planes. I was shocked to discover this. So, I called our boss and he fired him. 

We must recycle and not just throw stuff away. We must use recyclable cups. We must recycle clothes and not throw away clothes.                                                                                                    

If you want to shop, the shop has to be local. There are more and more forests in the world now as we had to stop cutting trees.  

The world deserves to be carbon neutral. I like my work as I love making a difference. I get a lot of money from it. I have a big house, a good family and everything I can ask for. It is 2041 now I would hate for planes to come back.

  1. Dear Diary – Maisie, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

Dear Diary 

I’m looking out my window right now, staring out at my beautiful island, the island of North Uist. I see the wind turbines spinning round and round like a carousel, the solar panels scattered around giving my island the strength to live and breathe. Lastly, I see the tidal power glinting beneath the big blue sea. I remember the time many years before in 2020 when I was alarmed that my island would fall, get swallowed by the climate crisis. But I overcame that fear, I grew, and I became stronger every day. I remember being taught as a child what would happen in the years to come if we did not act on climate change. My world became determined that we would overcome climate change and we did…           

After thinking about the past, I cycled down to my job to plant trees around our island and then I looked around. The only cars I could see were electric and almost everyone was walking or cycling around to get where they wanted. When I got to my job, I felt like I was a warrior who had fought climate change and won, and I was still helping it by planting more trees to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the world. When my job was finished, I cycled down to the shop to refill my reusable milk bottle and jars of all sorts and kinds and took a glance at the sign saying ‘Reuse, recycle’ I’ve looked at that sign many times wondering what our planet would be like if it hadn’t changed or if it had gotten worse.

 I took my time to get home, I strolled down to the beach and noticed that the amount of rubbish that used to swim in the sea had gone down. I also took a glance at the fish shining silver, happy that their home isn’t in danger. I took a last glimpse in the water and saw the jellyfish glowing and flying in the water sliding around like they were on ice. I look up to the sky and I remember the number of planes that used to circle the sky, the number of factories increasing the amount of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide in the world. 

When I got home I gazed at my house and smiled when I remembered that nobody could build a house without some sort of renewable energy or drive a petrol car. I had definitely listened with the solar panels coating the roof and the wind turbine spinning round as fast as a hurricane. My house looked quite bizarre but I had to make sure everything was good for the environment and then I looked at my trees waving at me in the breeze. When I went inside, I took a glimpse back into the past and saw myself sending a message in a bottle far out to sea hoping that someone would get my message, my question for a better future. As quiet as a mouse, I gradually got into my second-hand clothes that I had bought from my local shop. After this I stared out my window at my sheep, cows and chickens, the things that give me something to eat and live on. Then I viewed my plants and crops swaying and dancing in the fading light saying goodnight like they do each night. 

When I collapsed into my bed that night I thought of my day, my message in a bottle that may or may not have reached someone and that someone took it into action. I don’t know. I might never find out but I know that if anyone ever tries to ruin this world again, they’re going to have to get through me because I’ve dealt with climate change and I know that it could have destroyed our world and nobody I repeat nobody is going to throw our world away… 

  1. A day in 2040 – Molly, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

This morning I woke up and I looked out my window and saw the beautiful sea. I went downstairs and made a cup of tea with a bit of toast.  Because I live on an island, I have to get my paddle bored to the village to go to the shops. So, I went to my shed and went to get my paddle board. When I got to the village I went to the local shop and got some bread, water, butter, ice cream and some milk for my house. Then I cycled to my friend’s house to go on a walk with her and her dog. “Look at the wind turbine” I mentioned “I know there are so many now” she replied. When we got back, I had a plastic bottle of water on my paddle bored. I took it back to my house and recycled it. 

The next day I had to go back to the village and get some things for the house. When I was done, I left to get some coffee. When I was strolling down the road I saw some plastic on the road, so I went to pick it up “wonder who dropped this bit of plastic?” I said to myself, as people should know better now. When I got to the coffee shop, I got out my coffee cup, and asked for some coffee, I got my coffee and strolled out. On the way back, I saw a sign that said, ‘electric cars only’. As I wandered down the road, I gazed at a wind turbine getting built so I thought I should go to buy some trees so I can plant them in my garden. I eventually got to my paddle board, I put all my things in a recycled bag and headed off home. By the time I got back home, I got some carrots from my own garden and planted trees. It was 6:37 when I had my amazing dinner. I went upstairs at 10:20 and then went to bed.

  1. Change – Owen, Primary 7, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

I woke up to a mottle of baby blue and white, blended to fashion my favourite morning grey newborn sky, creating just enough hazy light to see through it. I took one quick look at the solar powered digital clock to tell me that I had 30 minutes to get ready for work. 

As I rushed round my small bedroom, shoving clothes on as I went, I made my way down the ornately carved stairs (pieces of plastic molded into shape and made to look like wood, but ornate all the same) to the modest but fashionable kitchen. Gathering up a bowl, spoon, and a cardboard box full of cereal, I sat down at the table. The food was, like always, home grown, or from local businesses which made it that much better than the food that was imported from all around the world. Gobbling up the remainder of my cereal, I dashed out the door, grabbing my backpack as I went. 

My shiny new all electric BMW was waiting for me, as I flew towards the driveway and opened the driver’s door. Before I had even got my seatbelt on, the car was out of the driveway and speeding down the road at way over the legal limit. But I soon thought better of it and slowed down enough so that I would not draw the attention of the speed camaras that were stationed everywhere. Settling into the two-hour drive, I started to note the passing scenery, which was flying by at a startling speed, but not too fast for me not to see what was whizzing past. I could just about make out the long threadlike line of the hypersonic e-train flashing past on the horizon. As the car danced round a sharp bend, I could see the colossal wind farm that ran the whole length of the island and into the sea.

Work was as tedious as ever at the BMW car factory: fitting the tires to every car, over and over, repeatedly for six hours every day. And of course, I was grateful to get home and see the familiar glint the sun made, as it glanced off row upon row of solar panels that sat in the garden and the field beyond. 

It was a relief to change from my factory’s recycled overalls and into my more comfortable house clothes and sit in the chair by the fake electric fireplace and look out over the beautiful birch forest that covered most of the island.

  1. The Future of Our Island – Ruairidh, Primary 7, Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath

“Watch where you’re going!” shrieked an angry looking woman. I had just bought my first ‘E-Bike’, as they call it, and I was still getting the hang of it. Yes, it was expensive, but it was worth it if it meant I wasn’t using any greenhouse gasses! When I arrived at my work, I made sure my clothes weren’t dirty, or drenched in sweat, but as I looked down to check my shoes, I saw multiple small shadows moving about. I looked up. I heard engines, and just as I thought I would find something, I heard a loud, croaky voice shout “You can daydream all you want when you’ve made some sales!” It was my boss, Mr. Drummy, or as we like to call him, ‘Mr. Dummy’. I swiftly replied “Sorry Boss, I’ll get right to it!”, with a nervous smile across my face. 

When I entered the building, I saw hundreds of ‘Drummy Tech’ phones, tablets, computers you name it! I then walked up the stairs alongside Mr. Dummy, which I can assure you, was very awkward, so awkward I ended up in the lift on the second floor! As soon as I got up, I saw my friend, Mike, waiting for my arrival. Mike was very smart. If you were to ask Mike a question, he would answer correctly before he even knew what the question was! As soon as he set eyes on me, he could tell that I had just gotten in trouble from Mr. Dummy, so, he said “Mr. Dummy got you in trouble, didn’t he?”, with a smug look. I replied “How did you know?” to which he replied, “I know everything”, and as I burst out laughing, his face remained serious.

At the end of the day, I still heard the engines revving, which I hadn’t heard for around about 15 years after the ‘Big Abolishment’ back in 2022! I knew something was happening, but I didn’t quite know what was happening! I went all the way up to the roof using the stairs, and I scanned the island. I saw wind turbines, a shop named ‘Betty’s Recyclable Clothes’, and lots and lots of solar panels. The engine stopped making noise. I had no clue what had happened. How does an engine stop as soon as I get close to finding it? As soon as I thought all hope was lost, I heard the noise return! I whipped out my camera as soon as possible and turned around to see a group of planes! I was shocked to see planes as it had been 15 years since seeing one! I took as many pictures as physically possible, I put the camera in my pocket, and sprinted towards the ladder. A few planes even had what looked like guns on the side of them! As soon as I got to the stairs I heard distorted voices shouting “Stop him!” and I ran to my bike, put it on maximum speed, and went home. As I was inspecting the pictures, I was sure I had seen a flag on the front plane, and I thought I recognised the face of the front pilot. I sent the pictures to Mike to inspect. I woke up to a message from Mike, which said ‘I’m pretty sure there’s a Canada flag on there’. I asked him if he could look up all the Canadians on the island, and by lunchtime, I had the list. I looked throughout the hundreds of Canadians, and found something I could not believe…