AN Australian actor and documentary maker has said she wishes more countries would take note of Scotland’s commitment to tackle climate change

Liana Cornell, who was cast in one of the leading roles in historical drama Britannia, has used her earnings to produce a philanthropic and environmental docuseries Refugia. 

Born in Mullumbimby, New South Wales, she has always had a passion for environmental issues, in part fostered by her love of David Attenborough documentaries. 

Her work Refugia was screened this week at the Scotland International Festival Of Cinema in Peebles where it has been nominated for several awards. 

Praise for Scotland 

“I would love to be in Scotland right now, I have Scottish ancestry so it’s calling me”, Cornell told The National from her home in Australia. 

In particular, Cornell had a lot of praise for the Scottish Government’s commitment to net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. 

She continued: “That is the mindset we have to be taking and I read about so many environmental initiatives in Scotland I wish were everywhere.

READ MORE: The National nominated for two Scottish Press Awards

“From the outside, culturally it seems like the land is part of the people.”

Scotland has also previously received praise from Malawi’s president Lazarus Chakwera for the loss and damage fund designed to help those countries hit hardest by climate change. 

Cornell believes in what is known as seven generation sustainability – a concept believed to have originated from the Iroquois people - which urges the current generation of humans to live and work for the benefit of the seventh generation of the future 

“When you have that mindset, the decisions we will be making are entirely different. I get frustrated with governments saying they want change but then putting the impetus on the individual. 

“We have to do our best at an individual level but the powers that be need to listen to not only save the world now but for all those to come.”


According to Refugia’s website, the term can be defined as “a place of refuge where species survive through crisis”.

It adds: “More than ever, now is the time to recognise and support ordinary people, and their extraordinary commitment to the protection of these Refugia.”

Refugia was created to be something positive in a bid to highlight the good work that people are doing around the planet to help with climate change. 

Topics include regenerative agriculture, sustainable living and forest buy-back.

Cornell explained: “I know there’s these terrible things happening but I’ve also witnessed people putting thousands of trees up and communities responding to different scenarios.

“I wondered if we could make something that allows us to see behind the scenes and show the authenticity of it all. 

“Everyone I know who is doing amazing work for the planet is usually pretty drained and so they don’t put resources into having a great photographer or taking the time to write about it so this felt like a natural place with the gifts that I’ve been given.

“It was exciting to be able to shine a light on these incredible people.”

One such example of the work she captures is the Great Barrier Reef Legacy which was set up to combat the depletion of coral in the ocean. 

“It had been quite ignored prior to that but it has brought about so much change. It was actually a fisherman who spotted the depletion of the coral and the damage being done. 

“People talk about it and think there’s no way of getting it back but now we’re watching the coral regrow. 

“Just look at what Covid showed – how short was the time before we had dolphins back in Venice or how easily the skies cleared”, Cornell added. 

“If everyone does their own thing, we can all help together. Someone might love sea preservation but someone else might just choose to have a garden and grow their own food – it’s all just as important."

To find out more about Refugia, click HERE