Young artist from Harrogate district makes his point in Downing Street as COP26 ambassador

An invitation to visit Downing Street has seen a young North Yorkshire-based artist and environmentalist delivering the message on the climate emergency to Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 4:23 pm
Updated Friday, 29th October 2021, 4:24 pm
Downing Street invitation - Young artist James Owen Thomas from Pateley Bridge with Richard Pollard from The Tree Council, London.

In the week leading up to today's launch of the COP26 UN summit in Glasgow, James Owen Thomas was invited into the heart of government thanks to his role as a COP26 One Step Greener Ambassadors.

James said: "I had been invited as a One Step Greener Ambassdor after being nominated by Richard Pollard from The Tree Council in London.

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"I handed over a framed print of one of my colleges called At Twilight at Downing Street for the PM with a message: “At Twilight”

"Although it is late in the day, we must all do more to rescue our planet before it is too late.”

A former pupil from Nidderdale High School and student in art and design at Bradford College, James's interest in recycling, nature and the environment has been there from a young age, helping to shape not only his award-winning mosaic-style art but the person he is today.

From his early teenage years he has used materials that most people would just throw away, looking at the colours and patterns of packaging, for example, and imagining how they can be reshaped into art.

Having made a big impression in a series of public exhibitions with attractive and colourful artwork which expressed his concern about the damaging environmental effects of single-use products, James was delighted to be selected as a One Step Greener Ambassdor after being nominated by The Tree Council.

He was selected from hundreds of entries across the country to become one of 26 ambassadors, as part of the UK Government’s Together for Our Planet campaign which raises awareness of COP26 and climate issues, with ambassadors looking to inspire the public to take actions that have a positive impact on our environment.

On hearing he had been appointed a One Step Greener Ambassdor, James said: “I was excited to hear the news that I have been selected as an ambassador.

“It’s great to know that the environmental art I enjoy creating is having an impact.”

Richard Pollard, The Tree Council’s National Schools Programme Manager, said: “We are so proud of James, who is one of our leading Ambassadors and now a COP26 One Step Greener Ambassador.

"James inspires thousands of Young Tree Champions to be a Force for Nature by using his mesmerising art to highlight the impact of single-use products on the environment, turning discarded wastepaper into beautiful mosaic-style collages that celebrate the wonder of trees and nature.”

Some of James's art against waste is on display in an exhibition at Horticap in Harrogate which will run until December 24.

To see more of James Owen Thomas's art, visit