Earlier this year, just under 14,000 young people from Wigan borough voted in a national ballot to let decision makers know what they most wanted to see changed.
Their top issue of concern, both locally and nationally, was climate change.
Now young people involved in Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet are taking action to raise the profile of this issue and let everyone know what they believe should be done to address it.
Members of the youth cabinet, Lucy and Dylan, were recently appointed as climate change young leaders, two of only 40 in the UK, as part of an initiative led by the British Youth Council and supported by Greenpeace.
The two are currently attending online training sessions run by the charities on the ways climate change can be reversed, social issues that impact on the environment and skills needed to campaign, such as leadership and communications.
Dylan, 14, said;
“I wanted to do this because climate change is still the biggest issue we face as a human race. If we do not make changes across the world, there will certainly be an ecological disaster.
“Everyone should care about this. According to the United Nations, this crisis we are heading towards will not be reversible in a few years’ time.
“Everyone should use their collective voice to help create change as I believe mass producers need to be held accountable for any actions that impact on climate change.
“I thought this was an amazing opportunity to work with one of the leading organisations for social action, Greenpeace, and help to create the change that’s needed.”
Alongside being a climate change young leader, Lucy, 16, is also working with youth cabinet members Layan, 14, and Will, 16, to plan their contributions to the Greater Manchester Green Summit in September, which will focus on climate change this year.
The 3rd annual GM Green Summit, which is to be held digitally, will bring together over 1,000 businesses, academics, and policy makers to create the region’s environmental vision for the year ahead.
Lucy, Will and Layan will submit a short video to be shown at the event with other young people’s videos from across the North West, outlining their suggestions for change.
“I hope people will see our video and realise that solutions for climate change need to involve everyone working together from policy makers to giant companies, small businesses and residents.
“We can all do small things, but everyone needs to change their habits to make an impact: cycle or walk when making short journeys, reuse products where possible and then recycle and save water when you can, such as getting a water butt for your garden or turning off the tap when you clean your teeth.”
In Wigan, the young people have been supported by industry sponsor, Carbon Co-Op, to help make sure that their ideas are achievable and sustainable.
The Youth Cabinet have also been working closely with the Royal Horticultural Society to further address the climate change issue as well as looking at introducing more green spaces in communities and connecting health and wellbeing initiatives to the environment.
Councillor Susan Gambles, Lead Member for Youth Opportunities at Wigan Council, said;
“I’m so proud of the positive action our youth cabinet members are taking to tackle an issue that young people in the borough also clearly feel very strongly about.
“They have consulted and listened to the views of their peers so I am very much looking forward to seeing the final video they have prepared for the regional summit.
“In how we can all take action to help create change being one of the 40 UK climate change young leaders, is a phenomenal achievement and well deserved.
“These last few months have been difficult for everyone and particularly for young people, with the abrupt end to education earlier this year.
“So, I’m especially proud that the youth cabinet are focusing on the future now and leading the way to help make sure it will be one we can all enjoy.”
Young people aged 11-17 who are interested in joining Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet should contact Wigan Council’s targeted youth support services by emailing [email protected]