Climate crisis: Supporting a sustainable future for young people
10th November 2021
Climate change has been described by Unicef as “a child rights crisis”, threatening children’s “health, nutrition, education, development, survival and future potential”. Young people around the world understand this risk, and they haven’t been afraid to speak out against it.
The world’s most influential politicians and environmental experts have gathered in Glasgow over the past week for COP26, but it’s young people who are making the most powerful calls to action.
“This is not a drill. It’s code red for the Earth. Millions will suffer as our planet is devastated – a terrifying future that will be created, or avoided, by the decisions you make. You have the power to decide.”
This is the urgent message of young activists including Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate in an open letter to politicians, which calls for – among other things – a drastic reduction in annual emissions. Their pleas are not falling on deaf ears; the letter has received almost two million signatories so far. Meanwhile, thousands of pupils from all around the world have also been participating in a Global Youth Summit on Climate Change, happening alongside COP26.
The world’s most influential politicians and environmental experts have gathered in Glasgow over the past week for COP26, but it’s young people who are making the most powerful calls to action. Click To Tweet
At CfEY, we believe that young people are vital actors in the bid to halt climate change. We have been expanding the work we do to support programmes with a climate or environmental focus. In the past year, for example, we have worked with the Green Schools Project on an initiative that helps schools calculate their carbon footprint and, ultimately, work towards reducing their emissions to zero. We have worked with Lee Valley Regional Park Authority Youth and Schools Service, whose outdoor activities aim to help young people develop skills such as problem solving and mindfulness. We’ve also supported Learning through Landscapes, whose My School, My Planet project aims to improve BAME and disadvantaged young people’s connection to nature and their understanding of climate change and biodiversity.At CfEY, we believe that young people are vital actors in the bid to halt climate change. We have been expanding the work we do to support programmes with a climate or environmental focus. Click To Tweet
Looking to the future, this year we will be working with Chester Zoo, which wants to expand the impact of its conservation work by encouraging school leaders, policy makers and the wider education sector to create opportunities for all children to take part in conservation action as part of their education.
The work is timely – according to Tes, Alison Anderson, Professor of Sociology at the University of Plymouth, said in a COP26 session last week:
“Teachers are really important in terms of climate change communication – young people have a high degree of trust in them. Yet when you look at the national curriculum – at least in the UK – climate change is actually restricted to being taught in geography and science lessons and does not really come into any other areas.”
We have just begun working with Bore Place, a 500-acre estate providing opportunities for communities to connect with nature and learn about the principles of sustainable living. In partnership with the North West Kent Countryside Partnership, the Bore Place team will be training volunteers and students to manage the woodland, meadow, hedgerows, orchard, ponds streams and watercourses, with the aim of boosting both wellbeing and environmental awareness.