School in West Lothian co-creates climate change song with help of Heriot-Watt scientists



Callum Baird
Calum Baird at Holy Family RC Primary School

School children in West Lothian have worked with a local musician to co-write a song on climate change.

Inspired by research in earth and marine sciences from the Lyell Centre GRI (Global Research Institute) based at Heriot-Watt University, Primary 7 pupils from Holy Family RC Primary School in Winchburgh collaborated with Scottish singer songwriter Calum Baird to create environmental calls to action for tackling the climate emergency.

The powerful statements formed the basis of the lyrics to original track ‘Global Change, Not Climate Change (All People as One), a rousing folk anthem that urges listeners to consider their behaviours and make small changes that can collectively help save the planet from irreparable climate damage. 

The song is available to download from Bandcamp and includes original artwork created from  drawings by the school pupils. 50% of the money raised from the track will go towards the school and their projects in the local community.

The project was delivered as part of Heriot-Watt’s Creative Watts ‘art science’ public engagement series, funded by its Research Recovery Fund. The purpose of the series is to explore opportunities for academic researchers and independent creatives to collaborate and create positive and impactful experiences for the public.

The idea for the project came about during Heriot-Watt Engage workshop, during which scientists from the Lyell Centre, Dr Julia de Rezende and Dr Andrew Johnson, were paired with Calum. Their pitched proposal to create original music based on scientific research highly impressed the judging panel who awarded the team £2000 to turn the idea into reality with a local school.

Calum said: “I’ve loved working with the class to create this song. The pupils had some great ideas about how we can address climate change and it’s an honour to reflect these through my music.

“By highlighting what actions we can take collectively, we have co-created something that leaves everyone with a sense of responsibility and hope for the future.”

Dr Andrew Johnson, Assistant Professor in Fisheries Conservation said: “Getting to deliver this interactive experience that melds both art and science has been hugely rewarding.

“By bringing our research directly from the lab to the classroom, we have been able to engage these young minds and learn how they think we can keep our land and oceans from harm. The song Calum has written is catchy, powerful and reflects the hopes and concerns of the next generation.

Dr Julia de Rezende, Assistant Professor in Geomicrobiology at the Lyell Centre said: “It’s been a fantastic experience getting to work with Calum and schoolchildren on this project.

“As scientists, it can sometimes be difficult to explain what we do in a meaningful way, especially to young people. The Creative Watts project was a brilliant opportunity for developing interesting and engaging ways to communicate our research.

“I’d love it if the song can reach many more people and make them think about how we can – and need to – work together to keep our planet safe.”


Louise Jack