Transition Stroud Newsletter Editor Josephine Murray (JM) talks to Polly Gannaway-Pitts, Gloucestershire Youth Climate Group Facilitator and Megan Land (ML), one of the group’s core panel members.
See below for three things you can do today!
JM: What are the aims of Gloucestershire Youth Climate Group?
The group aims to advocate for policy change around climate at district and county level, offer climate action activities that any 16-25 year old who lives, studies or works in the county can come along and get involved with, and to have fun! Fun is really radical and can make change.
JM: What prompted you to join the group, Megan?
ML: I found out about the group through family members and another youth voice project that I was a part of. I wanted to do something more focused on climate and environment as it is something I am already aware of and it felt like a way to link what I was doing together, through youth voice and sustainability. I like the wide range of activities and events and the opportunities to get involved, from presenting at GCC’s Decarbonising Transport Forum, to Tree Planting, to going and talking at outreach events such as Stroud Pride. The age range of the group is really interesting, and it brings in different ideas as people are at different stages in life with varying life experience. I feel like I have gained a new network and it has opened my eyes to opportunities available in Gloucestershire to get involved in climate action.
JM: Could you tell us a bit about what the group has achieved so far?
The group has been going for just over a year now, but has achieved a massive amount within this time! In 2022, we worked with other partners and spoke to nearly 3,000 young people in Gloucestershire about their experiences of climate action through the Interclimate Network Survey and our ‘summer of action’ activity programme. This research has now been included in the latest version of GCC’s Climate Action Plan and has informed ongoing steps that the county council will be taking in their sustainability work.
One of the group’s key interests is advocating for an improved public transport system in the county. Our members presented youth-led research to elected representatives, transport providers and businesses on improving services and access to sustainable travel. Following this event, all local authorities in the county signed up to the UK 100 pledge to take action on net-zero transport.
Over the summer of 2022, we worked with The RYSE, Strike a Light and Gloucester Youth Community Action to produce a youth-led festival of activism called ‘What Can I Do?’. This event brought together young people from all social justice movements to network, take part in workshops, utilise creativity in activism and celebrate achievements. Artwork produced through this project is available in a zine and can be viewed at Train Platform Exhibition Spaces run by Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership.
This summer we’ve already had outreach stalls and workshops delivered by our young people at Stroud Pride and Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival.
JM: How did the Gloucestershire Youth Climate Group start?
Creative Sustainability were asked to re-launch the Gloucestershire Youth Climate Panel. We got in touch with some of the original members, who redesigned the programme and decided they wanted it to be more than just a panel, but to include a wider range of young people who want to get involved with activities, workshops and events. The young people who have redesigned the programme wanted to highlight advocating for policy change, taking action by doing projects and creating a network of young people.
JM: How does it operate?
The group is led by a core panel of 20 young people who make decisions on what activities should be a part of the programme, undertake projects with other organisations and are youth voice representatives on climate policy at Gloucestershire County Council. The group also present at other networks and advocate for youth inclusion in the county’s climate movement. The panel meets online once a month to plan activities, feedback to GCC and to hear from guest speakers working in community and climate.
We also have a wider group of around 80 young people who attend our workshops, events and climate action days. Our monthly newsletter is sent to young people signed up and organisational stakeholders to share what the group have been up to, opportunities coming up to get involved and promoting other opportunities from the local climate network.
JM: What sort of people join the group?
The group consists of young people at school or higher education, those in the workforce and people who aren’t currently in work or education. We aim to work with a diverse range of young people and platform marginalised voices, and this is something we are continually working towards improving, as we are aware that the climate conversation needs to include more people.
JM: What has the Youth Climate Group got planned for 2023 and beyond?
We are currently at the start of our 2023 summer of action! We’ve got a residential with Westonbirt, The National Arboretum coming up very soon, we’ll be making a visit to The Landskills Fair, and taking part in Tewkesbury Goes Wild. We’ll be doing some more citizen science workshops and action days, sign up to our mailing list to find out when they are announced!
|Three Things You Can Do Today!|
1) Sign up to our mailing list!
2) If you’re aged between 16 and 25 and live, work or study in Gloucestershire, get in touch for a chat. We want to hear about how you want to get involved and how we can make it work for you.
3) Come along to see us at one of our outreach events or workshops. We really welcome new people coming along to get stuck in.
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If you would like to share your sustainable living story, please contact Josephine on firstname.lastname@example.org