Moths to a Flame


You may already know that COP26 the United Nations Conference on Climate Change is due to take place this year from 1- 12 November 2021 in Glasgow. 

In spite of the challenges presented by Covid-19, climate change is still the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced, and we feel that hosting COP26 is a big deal.

And so do our friends at Plymouth Energy Community (PEC)! Between us, we’ve started to help lots of people feel connected and involved in the conversation.

Moths to a Flame

We know that moths are drawn to illuminations at night, spiralling in on light sources to their detriment; making them more visible to predators, distracting them from pollinating plants and sometimes even trapping or burning them.

Scientists are unclear why moths behave like this, some people think that moths use the moon to help them navigate, but it may be that they are like us and are enchanted by things that twinkle!

We  think that the mystery of moths and light speaks to us about our relationship with electricity and through the comparison, we might better understand ourselves and our impact on the planet.

Our plan

In collaboration with PEC, The Art and Energy Collective is inviting you and thousands of others to join us in building an artwork called ‘Moths to a Flame’. This will be installed at The Kibble Palace at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens during the conference.

Over the last year we’ve been carefully developing  Moths to a Flame activities that are Covid-safe and accessible. 

Digital Whisper

Did you know that the collective noun for moths is a whisper?

The first stage of Moths to a Flame, titled ‘Digital Whisper’. was supported by Plymouth Energy Community, the National Lottery and Arts Council England. We ran a series of online events, moth observations and making activities both online and at home. We exhibited a taster of our moth installation at Plymouth Art Weekender in September. We reached thousands of people, inviting them to join us in creativity, adding their whisper of hope to the installation.

Hand-crafted moths

We invite you to create your own moths upcycled from plastic milk bottles, decorate them to represent your hopes for the future,  then send them to us to be added to the installation heading to Glasgow. In order to create an inspiring installation we’ve set a target of 20,000 moths… can you help us reach this goal?

Join us for a moth making session through Zoom, make them at home following the instructions, or even hold your own craft evening with friends and family. 

Instructions and a template sheet can be found here. 

The moth's whisper

Young people want environmental change; a voice and a way to be heard. This is evidenced by the response to Greta Thunberg’s School Strike movement. 

Miranda Barlow, a member of our collective and a writer based in Exeter has written and Illustrated a fabulous nature story book called ‘The Moth’s Whisper’ which tells the story of Marny, a newly emerged Yellow Underwing as she looks for the moon and discovers the world of humans.

Order your copy here!

Augmented reality moth colouring sheet

In collaboration with Quiver Vision, and especially for this project, we have developed a colouring sheet that allows you to design and the bring to life your own moth on your smart device. You can also share a video of it with your friends along with your message for the future… great fun for all the family!

Print your FREE colouring sheet  here

Watch Moths with us!

Through the summer and autumn of 2020 we hosted monthly ‘Watch Moths’ events.  These monthly double-bill events explore the  world of moths in Devon, with live visits to moth’ers as they set-up their traps on the Friday night, and then return on Saturday morning for the grand reveal as they share their visitors with us. Do you think moths are just little brown fluttery things? Join us and you’ll never think of moths in the same way again!

We will restart these sessions in 2021 once the weather warms up and the moths once again take flight.

We will all be learning with moth experts from Devon Moth Group, Devon Wildlife Trust and Ambios. We will also find out more about the energy cycles on which we depend, and invite you to join us in creative Moths to a Flame activities.

These events are Free and family-friendly. You can catch up with past events and book for upcoming events here.

These are made by people like you to be installed at Glasgow COP 26
This came into Chloe's bathroom, found by Hector

Activity packs

We have created a FREE moth activity pack for you to use at home. Download your copy here!

  • How to make a moth friendly trap and identify the moths you catch
  • How to make a clothes-peg moth with flapping wings
  • Energy landscape drawing
  • Puzzles, and more

Record your message for COP26

Lock down has given us all a chance to think about change and see that incredible things are possible when we set our minds to it. We know that change is needed and maybe we know a bit more about what is important to us.

Our exhibition will include a sound installation with your words. The voices of thousands of people  involved in the project will resonate through the display. Why not record your whisper here and now using the Speak Pipe app?

Click here for more guidance.

Thank you

The Art and Energy Collective and our partners PEC are very grateful to national lottery players as this project would not have been possible without support from National Lottery and Arts Council England.

We are working with many amazing partners who are helping to make Moths to a Flame a success. These include: