Young people are using their voices to fight for a better future in Cumbria

Young people are participating in climate action across the county and CAfS is doing all it can to help in whatever way possible.

Our youth projects coordinator is helping to support and coordinate action being taken by school-age people in Cumbria through a variety of initiatives thanks to funding from the National Lottery and the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership (ZCCP).

Youth Climate Summit

One important element of engaging young people in the Cumbrian fight against climate change is the annual Youth Climate Summit. This is a meeting of schools from across the county where the students can discuss their ideas for a more climate friendly Cumbria. Organised by CAfS and CDEC, it is also supported by Cumbria County Council, Fellfoot Forward and Eco-Schools.

At the 2021 summit, over 500 students from 15 schools took part and helped shape the recommendations of the overall youth response that year. These included calls for:

  • cycling to be made a safer transport option with more cycle lanes around Cumbria
  • reduced costs of public transport
  • schools and their local communities to turn waste ground into attractive shared spaces with opportunities to grow produce
  • increased recycling, reducing food waste and plastic packaging
  • increased opportunities for young people to engage on local climate-related decision-making, including representation where appropriate at council meetings.

They presented the outcomes to Councillor Celia Tibble (Cumbria County Council Cabinet Member for Environment) and Karen Mitchell (co-chair of ZCCP and CEO of CAfS).

They also produced a this short video featuring students from across Cumbria expressing their concerns and hopes for climate action.

Youth climate summit and councillors

Youth and communities

We are also supporting young people in their efforts to make an impact outside of their schooling hours. Some determined individuals have been trying to affect change in their communities and make the concerns of their generations known.

This year, eight young people took charge of a meeting of a local environmental group to bring their ideas to the forefront. Peninsula Environmental Action Together (PEAT) allowed the students to give presentations, a quiz and lead group discussion on future action. They focused on the subjects of fast fashion, air pollution and the carbon footprint of food and plastic waste. Eco-anxiety was also discussed as a prominent stress felt by many people in younger generations today. The meeting ended with the young people having gained some ideas for action plans including litter picks, clothes swaps and gardening projects. They are also determined to push for more environmentally focused lessons and activities in schools.

Our youth projects coordinator would love to hear from similar community groups that would be interested in doing something similar with panels of young people. Please email [email protected] if your group is open to the idea.

Case studies

CAfS has attained funding from North West Energy Hub and CLEP to compile six case studies showcasing best practise for encouraging youth climate action.

These will include write-ups of the activities of youth panels, schools and communities that are performing exceptionally in getting younger generations involved in climate change activism.

Watch this space for these appearing in the future.

Young people discussing climate with councillors at a table

Supported by the National Lottery