Maisy has always been a big animal lover—but she loves seahorses most of all.
For a while, though, she was becoming sad and worried that they might become extinct in the seas around Ullapool—something she understands may be caused by climate change.
Being part of the Ullapool Sea Savers helps the 10-year-old to focus on the positive things that she can do to help the environment in her area.
Ullapool Sea Savers: Brainstorming for a better day
Members of the marine conservation charity meet weekly, at the harbour usually, to unshoulder climate disaster scenarios they may have been carrying around with them, and to brainstorm sea saving ideas.
Split into four pods, the 16-strong group never stop.
If they’re not designing their own sea life awareness signs, they’re instigating campaigns, checking the health levels of the sea life with their snorkelling adventures, and jumping aboard their favourite local skipper Noel Hawkins’ speedboat.
They zoom round beaches bin-bagging rubbish before the waves lick it all off the shore and it gets swallowed by the sea.
Maisy knows this can help in the fight against climate change—chemical pollution from plastic in rubbish is killing precious plankton—and we need this stuff because it helps our oceans to absorb carbon dioxide, which in turn regulates climate change.
Her biggest hope is for “the next generation to have a happier, healthier planet, with less to worry about”.
‘Clawsome’ creatures handled with care
Maisy and her fellow Sea Savers are aware that overfishing has been pushing marine life to the brink.
But they also know the power of coming together to make a change.
In 2015, part of Ullapool secured protection from harmful fishing practices following a campaign by local people which was backed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
Stocks like haddock are now gradually returning, divers are seeing a healthier sea bed, and dolphins and whales are again being spotted from the shore.
This success inspired the founding Sea Saver members to pick up the baton and carry on safeguarding the sea around their home.
‘Even the small changes count’
Ullapool Sea Saver Poppy Lewis-Ing, 15, says environmental destruction is “heart-breaking”.
“It is so important that we get the younger generation involved in helping the environment,” she says.
“Even if it’s just small things, like turning off the lights or picking up litter. Those small things will add up to something much bigger in the future”.