Students representing more than 12 schools across B&NES will be coming together for a Youth Climate Summit on Friday, 19th March – hosted by Hayesfield Girls’ School and Mixed Sixth Form.
Organised by a group of Year 13 Hayesfield students (Katrin Plain, Noor Jabban, Elise Preedy, and Elsa Calamvokis Lang), this year’s virtual student-led event has opened up access for increased participation, providing a forum for over 100 students, to meet, discuss, and engage with a wide variety of climate change and sustainability experts.
Highlighting the importance of the climate emergency has been vital for young people, shown by more than 15,000 people attending Greta Thunberg’s Bristol climate strike in February last year. The Conference aims to share this passion for change through engaging in talks about fast fashion, bio-diversity, and the importance of reduced energy consumption. Activities taking place across the schools in the lead up to the virtual conference, include going plastic-free, having a meat-free day, and Park ‘n’ Stride, all having a focus on actions everyone can take to make a difference.
For Hayesfield students, it is vital that this year’s Summit goes ahead even in the face of a global pandemic. The passion of young people across the city in the form of petitions, strikes, and online engagement has indicated that change has to occur, and more collective forums are needed for working together in creating sustainable and eco-friendly workplaces and education spaces. Katrin Plain, one of Hayesfield’s students who has organised the Conference, says “organising the conference has been extremely fulfilling and exciting, and we hope that this won’t be the last time young people come together to discuss and create change in the face of adversity”. The students hope to use the experience of preparing and organising this virtual event to assist others and create more ways for engagement in the future.
Meetings with Bath MP Wera Hobhouse have further emphasised the point that we can all do our bit, spotlighting the impact our actions can have on the wider community and the passion faced by young people in organising an event in these circumstances. “I have been impressed by the focus, initiative and commitment of the Hayesfield students organising the B&NES Youth Climate Summit. It’s so encouraging to see our local young people demonstrating leadership in tackling the climate emergency. I look forward to giving the opening remarks at the Summit and will be eagerly following the actions coming out of this important gathering.”
The Summit will mark the end of a week-long set of activities, culminating with the declaration of a climate emergency, providing the momentum for change to occur in schools and the wider community.
Engagement with the conference and those participating in it can be found on Twitter and Instagram, both with the handle @BYCS2021.