Schoolchildren from all over Cumbria have called for local action to ensure sustainable, safe transport and to tackle climate change, at a Youth Climate Summit held on 20 October in Carlisle.
The event explored the theme of Making Change in Your Community: Transport Solutions. The pupils questioned how they can take local action to develop sustainable, safe transport solutions in Cumbria and steer climate action in the county. They heard from guest speaker Richard Ingham, Bicycle Mayor of Cumbria, about his mission to convince policy-makers to invest in more infrastructure for cycling in the county, and to grow a culture of cycling for transport.
The young people then developed ideas for green and safe local transport options and how to bring them into action. They examined how to communicate messages through different artforms, and how to plan a campaign that could influence their local community and beyond. The children re-imagined what Cumbria might look like with fewer cars and sustainable transport solutions.
One of the young people who attended said: “We really enjoyed the summit. Meeting other young people and building connections and finding out more about the impact transport has on the climate. It was great to have the opportunity to share our ideas and the projects we have been working on in our schools and taking part in workshops.”
The summit closed with schools making pledges and thinking about their next steps. Following on from the event, the pupils will now present their findings and discussions to decision makers in Cumbria.
“It is always an inspiration to work with young people to build solutions for issues they are passionate about,” said Laura Goad, director of Cumbria Development Education Centre, who organised the event on behalf of the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership in association with Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS).
“We look forward to supporting our schools and young people to turn their ideas into actions. We are also grateful to the range of partners who supported the day, by delivering workshops and bringing their expertise. A special thanks goes to Isabella, Clare and Matilda – the young people who hosted and facilitated the event.”
Partnership co-chair and CAfS chief executive, Karen Mitchell, said:
“It’s been incredibly inspiring to see our young people use their voices and develop their ideas on how Cumbria can tackle the really difficult issue of reducing our polluting emissions from transport. Involving young people in this way is a hugely important part of the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership’s approach to fighting climate change. Decision makers must now respond to what our young people are demanding as it’s their futures that we must protect.”
The event was hosted at Carlisle United’s ground. Carlisle United Charitable Sports Trust sustainability officer, Natasha Messier, said: “The Trust was really pleased and excited to support the Youth Climate Summit event. It builds on our sustainability work as a trust. The young people were inspirational and powerful.”
The Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership brings together 80 organisations working towards the goal of net zero carbon emissions in the county. Co-chaired by Cumbria Action for Sustainability and Cumbria County Council, the partnership is supported by the National Lottery’s Climate Action Fund.