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Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin's Climate Conference: a young person's view

Sascha Robinson

1 Jun 2024

Includes Dr Sam Hampton's key note speech "Collective action and behaviour change to tackle the climate crisis"

On the 18th May, the Climate Conference for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, went ahead at Shrewsbury Town Football Club with over 130 people attending either as interested individuals or representatives of community groups, local businesses and councils.  It was an opportunity to inspire and stimulate our communities to address the urgent changes needed to reach net zero.

As a member of the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP2) with Shropshire Wildlife Trust, it was amazing to be given the opportunity to support the preparation and running of the event, alongside several other young people.

The morning of the conference was kicked off by Dr Sam Hampton,* a climate behaviour expert, who discussed that across the globe, we severely underestimate how many people are interested in making behavioural and lifestyle changes to support the environment.  He summarised that galvanising communities for climate action should be a top priority.

Following this, myself and other young people shared our own perspective about the space for youth in climate action. It was a great chance for us to feel ourselves heard and to express that we need to be on the forefront of change. Young people no longer want to be a tokenistic addition to climate action. Our involvement in the development of the conference really gave us those opportunities we need to start seeing more of.

Panel discussions focusing on the topics Land, Nature, Food and Farming, Transport, Energy and Housing, and the Circular Economy were held for the remainder of the morning.  It was clear that the 30-minute times slots simply wouldn’t begin to cover the conversations that unfolded. What stuck with me was the education that needs to take place in all areas of climate action. Learning how to retrofit your own home or developing skills to repair rather buy new may be understood by those involved in climate action. But the main question remained, how can we engage and educate all people?

In the afternoon, the delegates split into workshop groups to share ideas and knowledge across a broader 9 aspects of climate action including how to encourage public engagement and collaboration.  The workshops were a great success.  From speaking to fellow ELP2 facilitators, we concluded that the ideas were plentiful, but putting those ideas in place was where groups found a sticking point. The conference closed with a summary of each workshop’s actions. From here the groups will remain in contact, making the vital steps towards reaching their priority action goals. After an excellent day of brainstorming and collaborating, I can see our future towards net zero looks bright.

The conference was organised by Zero Carbon Shropshire, South Shropshire Climate Action and Save Our Shropshire and sponsored by Shropshire Homes and Kier.  A short film summarising the conference will be made available soon which we will circulate in a future newsletter.

*The presentation slides from Dr Sam Hampton's key note speech "Collective action and behaviour change to tackle the climate crisis" can be read here.

Dr Sam Hampton Conference Key Note Speech 18.5.24
Download PPTX • 11.01MB

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