Glasgow Science Centre’s Earth Allies project aims to empower young people within the local community to learn about the environment around them and become a climate activist of the future. With ScottishPower Foundation funding supporting this year’s project, Glasgow Science Centre shares the experience of a past participant, Stuart Phillips, and how it helped him embrace his superpower.
During the COVID19 pandemic, Stuart Phillips and his classmates joined Glasgow Science Centre online for Earth Allies, a 12-week climate activism course. Having always been passionate about the oceans and marine life Stuart found himself enthralled by the discussion around climate change, the manmade causes and solutions, and the threat to the wildlife he cared so much about. A prime example of the benefits a course like this can bring to young minds, Stuart was inspired to develop his own graphic campaigns and now feels empowered to talk to anyone and everyone about climate featuring his very own catchphrase.
“It was ‘jawsome’ because people need to understand there are many other lives like ours hidden in the world - the environment, plants and corals - all life on earth helps us to survive. I felt really proud to take part and I enjoyed it so much” – Stuart Phillips
When Stuart completed the course, he was keen to continue his activism journey and began volunteering at the Science Centre where he welcomed visitors and assisted with queries. His effervescent personality and consistent enthusiasm impressed staff and visitors alike, leading swiftly on to Stuart gaining part time employment as a member of the Front of House (FOH) team. Stuart has excelled in this role and has received a plethora of positive feedback from visitors.
“Stuart was so friendly, kind, helpful and knowledgeable. His passion for the work undertaken by the Science Centre, charities and people they support is infectious. I cannot express enough what an asset he is to the Science Centre.” – visitor.
As well as his FOH role, Stuart is supporting our Community Learning and Development team to deliver the ScottishPower Foundation-funded Earth Allies courses. Stuart has autism or, as he likes to call it, his superpower! As the two current cohorts both have members with autism or other additional support needs Stuart came along to discuss his experience with the course and encourage and inspire everyone to find their own superpower.
“On a personal note, Stuart shared that he has an autism diagnosis and when I mentioned that my daughter had recently been diagnosed, Stuart’s response will genuinely be etched in my heart forever.
“Stuart turned to (my daughter) and exclaimed "THAT’S AMAZING" with such a sense of congratulations and as we chatted, Stuart spoke of their "superpower" and pointed out the vast number of qualities and abilities this gave them. This peer support meant so much to (my daughter) and to both my Mum and I to witness” – visitor.
Stuart is currently thinking about designing a game called “Climate Busters” where others could learn about the climate emergency through play. The future for Stuart looks bright, as he awaits his new college course beginning this month. Stuart has chosen to study science and tells us about his passion for exploring the natural world further:
“I’m looking forward to doing science and hopefully saving the environment. I want to learn more about marine life and I dream of scuba diving. Hopefully I can help people understand there is a better world to live in and we can solve the climate crisis – everyone should become a climate buster to save people and animals from the climate nightmare!
“More courses like this should be funded to encourage people to start their own campaigns and help make groups or clubs where people can go out and clean up. Communities that can help people with autism and other superpowers are really important. I want people with autism to know that your brain is normal and you’re amazing” – Stuart Phillips
We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Stuart. As he would say, it’s certain to be “jawsome”!