As Geography Lead and Eco-Schools Lead at Upper Batley High School, I have been working with our learners to explore opportunities to develop the school and local community to be more sustainable and overall a greener, happier and healthier place to live.
At school, we have created an Eco-Committee, as well as Young Councillors, who have all been working together to help the school as well as the local community through several different projects. Some of these projects are: a community library, Fairtrade competitions, Foodshare, recycling and making a Rio De Janeiro display and making crisp packet blankets for the homeless.
As the lead of the Young People sub-group of the Kirklees Climate Commission, I have been working to establish a Commission Youth Panel that will engage schools, colleges and universities from all across Kirklees. The idea was to bring together key groups to collaborate on projects and innovations to help play a key role in informing future plans. The Youth Panel will provide the opportunity for young people to have a voice on climate change issues, empowering members to influence and have their say through networking and opportunities to lead action on climate change.
This will ultimately help to bring a low carbon, resilient and attractive Kirklees where all people are proud to live and work whilst working towards our carbon neutral target by 2038. The Youth Panel members will participate in activities that build leadership and life skills whilst educating on climate change issues engaging with other young people across Kirklees and supporting each other in projects to combat climate change.
We will provide the resources for members of the youth panel to use to introduce the climate commission and our aims as well as how the youth panel has an integral part to achieve net zero and build a more sustainable future. By working with and alongside the Eco-schools programme we can extend our knowledge and understanding whilst proactively working in our local areas creating a large impact and appealing to a wider audience. By schools and colleges having their own eco-committee or youth eco council we can recognise the needs of young people across different communities and bring young people and partners together to learn from each other.
We currently have 25 schools and colleges working as part of the youth panel and I am hoping this will expand to incorporate all areas of Kirklees with young people of all ages working together and empowering each other to make a better, happier and healthier place to live.
Ideas discussed so far have been plastic use, energy use within schools and homes, transport to and from school, a local litter pick, creating habitats for wildlife as well as helping and influencing the wider community.
Use existing networks - whether that be through the local authority, community groups or academy trusts.
Let the interests of the young people involved guide your projects. Use what they're already interested in and harness that passion.
Link up with other existing initiatives, such as eco-schools.
Engage with local universities and colleges too, as they can provide additional support from students and staff.
Number of schools signed up.
Projects taken forward by wider Commission.