Young people came together yesterday to make a pledge to join the Welsh Government in its response to the climate emergency.
The conference built on the success of last year’s first Climate Change Wales Conference, bringing together young people with a passion for protecting our planet.
The focus of Welsh Government’s response to the climate emergency is on supporting collective action. From recycling to nature restoration, and from transport to research and skills, achieving the ambitious goals set by government will require contributions from every public body, every business and every community in Wales. This week’s events are part of strengthening the role of young people in making that collective action possible.
Hosted by ITV’s Ruth Wignall, with key speakers Extreme Environment Athlete Richard Parks, Future Generations Academy for Young Leaders representative Molly Palmer and Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths, the conference encouraged those attending to share their experiences of climate change and to commit to a low carbon future.
Pledges, designed by young people for themselves, their schools and their communities, will be collected and incorporated into the next Low Carbon Delivery Plan.
Those who attended will also be actively involved in developing resources which can be used to help other young people around Wales be more engaged in the decisions which need to be taken to respond to the climate emergency.
Speaking about his involvement and excitement for the conference, Richard Parks said:
Over the last decade I’ve experienced an increasing volatility in the Antarctic environment. Sharing my challenges and helping others develop a relationship with this critical cog in our planet’s climate has always been important in my projects.
However, the reality now is that we don’t have to look further than our doorstep here in Wales to see the devastating impact of extreme weather events. Each of us needs to understand our situation and how we are the solution for our future.
I was super excited to spend the day learning at the Climate Change Youth Conference. It terrifies me to think what kind of planet my son will inherit when he grows up if we don’t start learning and acting together.
Molly Palmer said:
As a young person, I was excited to share my experiences with others similar to my age. Whilst Wales has been doing a lot of work to change the way that we think about climate change – I think we are not moving quickly enough, that’s why I welcome this conference and the opportunities it brings.
Until the floods people in the UK were generally oblivious to the effects of climate change. From the Australian wild fires to other natural disasters across the globe - we as a country have felt so far removed. But, the last few weeks have proved to us that the threat is very real.
It is now in the hands of us as a generation to change the path of our future and it is our duty to make sure that we work to make the world a better place for the future generations. I truly believe that Wales has the power to lead not only the UK, but the world in changing mind sets and getting the ball rolling.
Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths said:
At these events we are supporting young people in their role in driving Wales’ response to the climate emergency. This is one of the ways we are working with young people to enable them to make a full contribution to our new all-Wales plan to be published in 2021.
There is no doubt the profound change in public opinion we have seen in relation to the climate emergency has been driven by the action young people have already taken.
This Welsh Government is determined to make sure we’re doing everything we can to enable young people in Wales to fulfil their ambitions to accelerate action.
This is not only the right thing to do – working collectively in this way is required by our Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and is the only way we will be able to achieve the scale of social and economic transformation we need to see in Wales and globally.