Tackling the climate emergency is both an enormous challenge but also a huge opportunity. We all have a part to play and young people have the potential to make a massive difference to this crucial issue through social action.
This is an area where young people have taken a lead, are passionate to see real change and are willing to give their time and energy to make a positive impact. The Youth Trust is joining with others across the world to mark ‘Earth Day 2020’ on 22nd April by highlighting the voices of young people. Through the Young Leaders Award many young people have chosen to focus their social action projects on the environment.
Pupils have taken on projects to tackle litter problems, to raise awareness of single use plastics, to campaign for recycling, to work with environmental charities and projects and to lobby the government to make important policy changes.
KS2 Young Leaders from Ackworth School, West Yorkshire, organised a river clean up project after noticing that litter was affecting local wildlife.
KS3 Young Leaders from Trinity School, Carlisle, took part in a beach clean up project where they worked with the charity ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ to learn more about the impact of waste and plastic on our oceans.
Here are some tips and ideas to inspire the young people in your school to turn their concern and passion for our environment into action:
Carry out an audit on how environmentally friendly your school, home or community is and identify any areas where improvements could be made.
There are lots of simple changes that can make a big difference, whether through reducing single use plastic or choosing environmentally friendly transport options. Don’t let the huge scale of the problem stop you from doing anything at all. As Greta Thunberg said “No one is too small to make a difference.”
Kids Against Plastic have some great resources on becoming a ‘Plastic Clever School’. Check out their work at the bottom of this blog.
Decide on some key areas you would like to change and focus on those to start with. For example:
- Write a letter to your school catering company asking them to consider alternatives to single-use plastic packaging
- Write to your school canteen asking them to serve more vegetarian options, and fewer meat options
- Increase the use of reusable water bottles and coffee cups in school or at home
- Campaign to your local council to improve recycling services
Use your voice to share this important issue and inspire others to follow your example and take action to make changes for the better. You could:
- Put together an assembly to share your message
- Create a plastic pollution display
- Put information posters about the issues of climate change around your school
- Produce an art exhibit from plastic waste to demonstrate the volume used in school per week
Persevere and make sure that your efforts are long lasting. Real change happens over time so keep up your positive actions and keep encouraging others to join you.
Find out more about the climate emergency and what can be done to help. There is so much ‘fake news’ and different opinions it can be confusing. Some good places to start are: