On Thursday 18th April, pupils from 25 schools in Cumbria came together for the first ever Cumbria Youth Climate Change Summit. It was an inspirational afternoon of eloquently expressed concerns, thoughtful solutions and pleas for our government and other grown ups in positions of influence to do more to protect the future world these children will grown up in and inherit.
“I may only be 9 now, but when I am 99 I still want to see the world a sit is today” (Pupil from Silloth Primary School)
Pupils from every school spoke about how they see climate change affecting both their local and global environment, from the floods in Cumbria to global rising sea levels. Deforestation, plastic pollution and loss of animals and their habitats due to melting ice, rising seas and flooding were the biggest concerns expressed.
However, many solutions were passionately put forward for how we can make a difference in our world. These ranged from small things that we can all do, such as buying local food, recycling more, turning off lights and eating less meat, to suggestions for what councils, governments and industry could be doing on a larger scale: making electric cars cheaper, taxing plastic, turning street lights off for longer, using recyclable aluminium cans not plastic bottles for water, and generating more green, renewable energy through more wind turbines.
“Just imagine the world without any animals. It would be dull and grey…you and me are the reason our world is falling apart. Day by day animals are dying. Day by day our planet is dying. Day by day we are dying….Together, we can save the world from disaster…even if what you do is small, we can make a difference” (Pupil, Patterdale Primary School).
Organised by Robert Ferguson Primary School and hosted by the University of Cumbria, the afternoon was a huge success, and all the young people there will undoubtedly continue to make their voices heard.
“We are tomorrows grown ups and we want a say in how to look after the world that we will grown up in” (Pupil, Stanwix School)
Cumbria is leading the way in the UK in the fight against climate change, aiming to become the first net-zero emissions county in the UK within ten years. The Youth Summit last week showed that the fight to end climate change is in good hands, with the next generation determined to do their part. Now we all have to do ours.