Young people from across the UK are gearing up to take part in a youth climate conference this month, convened by Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park.
Held online to maximise participation, the conference aims to enable young people to express their climate ideas, visions and expectations and feed them directly into the international Pre-COP26 Youth4Climate summit in Milan this September, ahead of COP26, the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.
Up to 100 participants are expected to take part in the Cumberland Lodge conference, Climate Futures: Youth Perspectives, with four interactive sessions between 9 and 17 March, exploring:
- Education for sustainability (9 March)
- Green business and careers (11 March)
- Climate adaptation and eco-anxiety (16 March)
- Democracy and grass-roots activism (18 March)
Young people aged 17 to 25 – from a broad spectrum of schools, universities, organisations and backgrounds – will have the chance to collaborate with policymakers and civil servants, charity representatives and activists from the UK and abroad, community practitioners and academics.
Discussions will be highly interactive, with short presentations from guest speakers, quick polls, Q&A sessions, breakout groups and project-work sessions. The focus is on young people’s perspectives on environmentalism, stewardship of the natural world, grassroots activism, representative democracy, and opportunities for international collaboration.
Cumberland Lodge is part of the COP26 Youth and Civil Society Group organised by the Cabinet Office, and has been working with various organisations to attract young participants to the conference, including:
- British Youth Council
- UK Schools Eco-Network
- Go Dharmic
- Greenpeace UK
- Leadership through Sport and Business (LTSB)
- Raleigh International
- National History Museum
- National Youth Agency
- Plastic Oceans UK
'An intergenerational platform'
Cumberland Lodge Chief Executive, Dr Ed Newell, said, ‘Cumberland Lodge brings people together for candid conversations about pressing issues and with the global climate summit just months away this is an important opportunity to hear from young people about their hopes, ideas and priorities for a more sustainable future, for people and planet.
‘We look forward to providing this intergenerational platform to generate practical recommendations for positive action. We are particularly grateful to all the organisations and initiatives that are supporting this project, and to William Finnegan our freelance Research Associate.’
Cumberland Lodge has commissioned the award-winning documentary filmmaker, environmental educator and University of Oxford researcher, William Finnegan, to prepare an independent briefing document for the conference, and he will also be writing a summary report with key themes and recommendations, to be published this summer.
Jenni Snell, #IWill National Development Officer at YouthLink Scotland, which has nominated young people to take part in Climate Futures; Youth Perspectives:
‘Young people have demonstrated their ability, strength and determination to combat the climate crisis and have raised their voices to help educate others on how to build a more sustainable future. It is now our turn to meaningfully listen to young people, enable them to have a voice and support them to take climate action.'
Anna Fraine, Campaigns Officer at CAFOD, The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development:
'CAFOD is excited to be taking part in Climate Futures conference, as we continue to enable young Catholics to put their faith into action through our work on climate justice.
'We are looking forward to being part of this learning with Cumberland Lodge, as we recognise that these events also correspond with Pope Francis’ message that social and ecological transformation demands citizen participation and that we tackle these issues together, as we work towards fairer and greener new normal.'
Sean O'Brien, Communications & Engagement Manager at Raleigh International:
‘As a youth action organisation, Raleigh International is really pleased to be supporting the work of Cumberland Lodge – they are doing vital work on the climate emergency and providing a platform for the voices of young people to be shared and heard.
‘We’re proud that our Action Not Excuses campaign youth champion Elibarick will be taking part and speaking about the amazing reforestation work of young people in Tanzania. We’re really looking forward to attending the sessions and hearing the perspectives and ideas of young people about the future of their planet.’
Cllr Donna Stimson, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead's Cabinet Member for climate change, sustainability, parks and countryside, and Trustee of Heal Rewilding:
‘I am looking forward to the Cumberland Lodge Climate Futures sessions enormously. I have been working with young people who have a passion for addressing the climate issues we face for several years now, through our Berkshire Schools Eco-Network, the with Heal Future volunteers and schools who support our charity Heal Rewilding.
'Their energy, ideas and obvious concern are vital to helping us through this environmental crisis.’
Amy Sutton, Children and Young People’s Participation Officer, Great Ormond Street Hospital:
'Great Ormond Street Hospital recently declared a Climate and Health Emergency. The WHO estimates that over 80% of the illnesses, injuries, and deaths occurring due to climate change are in children and young people.
'As the inheritors of our world, climate change is endangering children and young people and threatening their right to a happy, healthy future.
'But we can’t do this alone, so this conference is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with other organisations and to hear directly from young people on how we can protect their health and future.'