Young people quiz city leaders over climate change
City leaders have been tackled on climate change at a special event.
Young people aged between 13 and 25 – drawn from across Liverpool – have recently taken part in a Zoom conference with politicians and officers from Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region and the Universities to talk about global warming and the environment.
Those present were eager to discuss their concerns about air quality, transport, green spaces and sustainable housing.
The discussions provided insight into how young people can get actively involved through joining decision making boards, speaking to their local councillor and applying for local funding to support green initiatives.
It’s all part of the city’s drive to become a UNICEF UK Child Friendly City, placing children’s rights at the heart of planning and decision making across all services.
Both Liverpool City Council and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority declared a climate emergency in 2019.
Liverpool has pledged to become a Net Zero Carbon city by 2030, and the council’s Climate Change Select Committee is aiming to implement changes across four key themes:
• transport and air quality • buildings and the built environment • waste, recycling and energy • low carbon economy
Councillor Tom Logan, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “Climate change is the number one issue facing the world and our young people are the citizens who will have to live through it.
“It is absolutely vital they get the chance to put their views across to us and ask us tough questions about whether we are going far enough and fast enough in tackling it.
“I know this is an issue that they are really passionate about and it was good that they were able to put us all on the spot and have their say.”
Councillor David Baines, Climate Emergency & Renewable Energy lead at Liverpool City Region, said: “As we saw in the recent 100 Voices video – which sent such a powerful message to the COP 26 summit – children and young people have strong opinions about how we should respond to the climate emergency.
“They are right to demand answers from leaders and we have a responsibility to explain ourselves to the people who will have to live with the effects of the decisions we make.”
Lauren Fearns, 16, from The Belvedere Academy, said: “The climate change conference was insightful and inspiring, as I was able to freely ask questions to the members of the council; and hear about implementations that exist currently.
“For example, we discussed the use of electric vehicles such as cars and scooters and the future need for significant improvements in public transport.”
Sophie Warren, 14, from The Belvedere Academy, said: “I found that people had so many interesting things to say, for example if using electric cars will really have the impact that is needed to reduce the effects of climate change, or should we all be promoting less car usage overall?
“The conference gave me lots to think about and it was good to hear other people’s thoughts on this very significant topic.”
N’kias Coker and Sh-rae Aytoun-Rielly from The Unity Youth and Community Centre in L8, said: “It was a good opportunity for young people to speak about environmental issues in Liverpool and feel listened to.”
Hannah Reid, 18, from the Child Friendly City youth group, said: “I wanted to be involved in the event because Climate Change is one of the biggest issues of this generation and it is important that young people are actively involved as it’s our future we’re fighting for and our voices deserve to be heard as we will be living through the effects it has.
“It was interesting to hear what the decision makers had to say and hear what they plan to do to protect us and future generations.”
To mark the recent UNICEF UK World Children’s Day, waterfront buildings were lit up blue on the evening of Wednesday 24 November, including Liverpool Town Hall, the Cunard Building, St George’s Hall, George’s Dock Building and Woodside Ferry Terminal.