Monday, 29 March 2010

The power of young people

Katie has been busy volunteering in her local area.

Since I returned from Copenhagen, I have been sharing what I learnt at UNICEF's Children's Climate Forum with my local community and other young people. In Decemeber, a presentations evening was held at Worcester Volunteer Centre, where I have been volunteering for almost two years. The international environmental youth project in the centre, called SEED, also had exciting stories to tell as they had just returned from a trip to India where they learnt about sustainability out there. A fact that really surprised me was that in terms of wind power installed capacity, India is ranked fifth in the world.

In February, I was invited to speak at the National Trust's 'You, Me & The Climate' project's celebration event, which was held at one of their beautiful properties, Prior Park, in Bath. I am always really impressed by the National Trust's work with young people and the environment, but I guess they have to be given their organisation is already being severely impacted by climate change. For instance, over the last eight years, they have been forced to make over 400 separate insurance claims for flood or storm damage, worth over £3.2 million.

'Society cannot ignore climate change - its impacts are being felt
already and they will become much more widespread.' - Dame Fiona Reynold
DBE, Director General of the National Trust

Over the past few months, I have also been organising a high school eco-ambassadors event, which took place at Worcestershire's County Hall. Five local eco-schools attended, along with two youth volunteering groups from Worcester Volunteer Centre and some county councillors.

'Eco-Schools is an international award programme
that guides schools on their sustainable journey, providing a framework to
help embed these principles into the heart of school life.'

The purpose of the event was to give the eco-schools the opportunity to hear about wider environmental volunteering opportunities whilst sharing what they are already doing within their schools. I also ran a climate change-related activity, called 'Rising Tide', which I too from Tagd's peer education pack. I wanted to communicate the fact that in the next 100 years, Atlantic sea levels are predicted to rise by up to 1m, threatening low-level countries all across the world, including the Maldives and Bangladesh.

Having a fun break, doing the Rising Tide activity

All my events received great feedback and I encourage you to hold some of your own about issues that are important to you. We need to make adults realise that young people have a passion, creativity and determination that can and should be used as a positive force for change in society.

Katie x