National Youth Climate Summit - Spring 2020
On the 22nd of April, schools, colleges and young activists across the UK joined the UK’s first online youth climate conference, organised by Robert Ferguson Primary School, in partnership with Transform our World.
The event provided a chance for students and teachers to dive into our planet's most pressing climate issues, offering grassroots suggestions on how we can avoid ecological collapse and looking at what we as individuals can do to help.
Videos from the event, of the speakers and the Q&A sessions, can be found below. The summit was chaired by Graham Frost, head of Robert Ferguson Primary school.
Ahead of the conference, we asked teachers to collate their students’ questions, aspirations, demands and ideas which were discussed in the breakout sessions.
Specifically, we were keen for students to consider:
We have compiled some of the excellent responses that we got into this video.
Clips from the climate summit:
Clover Hogan - Climate activist/ climate anxiety researcher and founder of Force of Nature, a launchpad for young people to realise their potential by taking on the planet's messiest problems.
Session: From anxiety to agency - how to step up in the face of the climate crisis - Clover will unpack the stories that get in the way of us taking action, and dive deep into how we can reconcile feelings like climate anxiety, uncertainty, and grief to realise our change-making potential.
Rebecca Willis - Professor in Practice at Lancaster Environment Centre, and an Expert Lead for Climate Assembly UK, the national Citizens' Assembly commissioned by Parliament.
Session: What do politicians think about climate change, and how can I influence them? - Rebecca will share headlines from her research with politicians, as well as ideas for activism and practical tips for approaching MPs and local councillors.
Alan Rawlinson - Greenpeace speaker, primary teacher and climate activist.
Session: Bringing about the global changes we need to make to protect our Climate and nature - In his session, Alan will explain how Greenpeace is forcing powerful organisations to stop pushing the global addiction to fossil fuels. He will look at how we can bring about the global changes we need to make to protect nature.
Questions and Answers
The first Q&A session between Clover Hogan, Rebecca Willis, and Alan Rawlinson looks at how we can push for our education to include lessons about the climate crisis, what we can do to help the environment from our homes during COVID-19, and what can we do to make ourselves less worried about the climate.
Session: How to find another way - Amy will talk about her own experience in becoming an environmental campaigner at school and founding her charity, Another Way, at age sixteen. She will discuss how individuals have a big part to play in the solution to the climate and ecological crisis and how our everyday actions matter. She will also be revealing her latest project which can involve students from around the country in positive change.
Mike Downham - Climate activist in Glasgow, previous farmer and paediatrician.
Session: Learning how the world works, my story -
Mike will be telling us the story of his life and the seven things he’s learned about how the world works.
Session: The Great Outdoors: Why children caring about nature is crucial to saving the planet - Nick will discuss how bringing people together with a shared vision can really make a positive change in the world
Questions and Answers
This question and answer session including Amy Bray, Mike Downham and Nick Gardner includes asking whether taking action will make our lives better or safer, how children/young people learn about the issue of speaking truth to power in a school context where they are supposed to do what adults say, and whether children who live in the countryside are healther than children in cities.
Matt Toombs is Director of Partnerships and Engagement in Cabinet Office's COP26 Unit, with responsibility for stakeholder engagement and COP26 campaigns. Matt previously led a review of post-18 education at the Department for Education and ran the Budget Team at Her Majesty's Treasury.
Session: Matt is going to explain what COP26 is and talk about the how tackling climate change is a key priority for the UK and it needs to be addressed at every level.
Naomi Frost – Fifteen-year-old Naomi Frost has been an environmental activist since the age of twelve, helping to lead local campaign work at her school in Penrith, Cumbria, and in the wider community. As a secondary school student Naomi is using her passion for environmental activism to compel her teachers and fellow students to join the cause in practical ways.
Session: Secondary school activism - Naomi will talk about the many initiatives she has helped spearhead during the past year which has started to see environmental action in schools become mainstream, but with much more urgently needing to be done. She will also talk about her frustration with “greenwashing”, especially within the fashion industry.
Morgan Phillips - Project Designer (Environmental Education) at Global Action Plan and Co-director of The Glacier Trust, a charity which enables vulnerable Himalayan communities in Nepal to adapt to climate change.
Session: Going back to normal? - Life is anything but normal right now and while we crave a return to some sort of normality, there are things we might want to do differently when the worst of the crisis subsides. By reflecting on the lives we’re living right now, we might find some clues as to how to go back to normal, differently!
Questions and Answers
Our final Q&A session between Naomi Frost and Morgan Phillips looks at setting up an eco council, getting young people engaged, and whether we will see environmental damage once the COVID-19 lockdown ends.
The National Youth Climate Summit is brought to you by
Robert Ferguson Primary School, in partnership with Transform our World.
Illustrations used on this page are © Beccy Frost
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