Action not words – messages of hope for COP26

Thursday 28 October 2021

Students at Scotland’s oldest university have sent a powerful message to world leaders ahead of COP26: a demand for ‘Action Not Words’ picked out in solar-powered lights is captured by a drone high above St Salvator’s Quad at the University of St Andrews.

Building on the success of the award-winning Light It Forward campaign, the University of St Andrews and Liter of Light launched Human-Powered Messages of Hope for COP26.

Created using recycled materials, the solar-powered lights were used to create powerful, large-scale messages ahead of the global climate conference starting in Glasgow on Sunday 31 October.

St Andrews was one of the first universities in the UK to pledge itself to the fight against climate change, determining to be net zero for carbon emissions by 2035.

The striking, large-scale messages of hope created by St Andrews include: ‘Action not words’, ‘Net Zero 2035’ and ‘Save the Planet’.

Liter of Light is a global, grassroots movement committed to providing affordable, sustainable solar light to people with limited or no access to electricity. Through a network of partnerships around the world, Liter of Light volunteers teach marginalised communities how to use recycled plastic bottles and locally sourced materials to illuminate their homes, businesses and streets.

Commenting on the global messages of hope movement, Illac Diaz, Executive Director, Liter of Light said: “We are making messages for the planet. COP26 is here in Scotland and what we are trying to do while here is use the solar lights and create and amplify messages collected from students so world leaders know to make the right decisions at COP26.”

Professor Ineke De Moortel, Assistant Vice-Principal (Dean of Science) added: “We know that the future is our students and the biggest impact we can have as a university is through our students. What we are seeing here is their messages, their hopes to the leaders coming to COP26, and their hopes for the future.”

Liter of Light was the proud recipient in 2016 of the University’s prestigious St Andrews Prize for the Environment. The Prize is an environmental initiative led by St Andrews that recognises global projects making significant contributions to environmental issues and concerns, with a focus on sustainability, conservation, biodiversity, and community development.

The lights used in the campaign will go to communities in Senegal, allowing people to remove dangerous, expensive and dirty kerosene lamps from their homes, and providing clean and sustainable solar light.

Videos with drone footage and interviews are available online:

University of St Andrews: a message from students to COP26 with Liter of Light, October 2021 (2.16 mins)

University of St Andrews: a message from students to COP26 with Liter of Light, October 2021 (3.34 mins)

These can be downloaded via Google.

Drone footage courtesy of

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

Category Sustainability

Related topics

Share this story