What can we do to help save our planet? Following the close of COP26 at the weekend, young people at our Girlz Nite pondered this together on Monday.
What is COP26 Anyway?
COP26 was brilliantly summed up by ten-year-old Jamila at our Girlz Nite session this Monday.
“Leaders from different countries come together and try to make a change for… Climate Change!”
– Girlz Nite Attendee | Aged 10
We discussed which leaders attended, who presented ideas to them and how this huge climate conference relates to us back here in St Pauls.
Greta is at Great Young Voice
The majority of the girls had heard of Greta Thunberg and we thought about her famous speech at COP25 back in 2019… when she was just 16 years old! This demonstrates that young people should and can have a voice on the global stage – especially when it comes to issues affecting future generations negatively. “It’s our future it’s messing with so we need your help to sort it out please!” stated one of the group members. “My school tells us we can’t use plastic anymore, which is a good thing, but too many teachers and parents are still driving to school – why do we have to make all the effort if they don’t?”
The girls share their ideas for saving the planet
Make More Effort, Adults!
Many of the young people agreed that older generations should make more effort to reduce emissions by using their cars less. They are also concerned that pollution from vehicles is degrading our food which is being grown locally.
Did you know that St Pauls was mentioned on the COP26 stage to a huge global audience?
Two young activists from Bristol’s Black and Green Ambassadors programme spoke at the prestigious conference – and they championed initiatives such as the St Pauls Community Garden, set up by local innovator Tara Miran. Tara brought her concept of a vibrant community garden, for locals to develop their green fingers and share homegrown produce, to life a couple of years ago. The girls recognised the importance of this initiative and are impressed that it’s now received so much press coverage!
“It’s great to hear that St Pauls Community Garden is being used to inspire others around the world! It’s really good that the food doesn’t have to travel from far away by lorry or boat – you can just pick it up from the end of your road.” explained an 11-year-old local. Another confirmed, “Gardening is actually cool now!”
But they did voice concerns about exhaust fumes contaminating soil and vegetables growing in it – another reason they’re encouraging you to walk more, particularly when you’re making short local journeys.
Girlz Nite attendees, aged 8-11 discuss climate action together
Plastic Isn’t Rubbish
Their next message was clearly targeting litterers, “Put rubbish in the bin rather than using the floor.“ Some said they’re still shocked by the amount of rubbish they see across local parks on a daily basis. And they had another clear stance on plastic waste. Explaining how we need to change our attitude on plastic, they urge more people to “reuse rather than recycle”.
“Recycling is not necessarily the best option when it comes to plastic – you should either buy less or reuse what you do buy. Don’t just buy loads of plastic and put it all in your recycling bin – you may think recycling is good but it still takes a lot of energy to recycle it. Think whether you really need it in the first place?”
– Girlz Nite Attendee | Aged 9
Get Your Voice Heard on Climate Matters
What’s your message on climate action? If you’re a young person looking to get started in climate activism, check out Black & Green ambassadors who are helping share the ideas of locals, particularly those from BAME communities. Their work hopes to impact positive climate strategy across Bristol and beyond.
“The first step to a just transition is to value all life, all voices and all people.”
– Olivia Sweeney | Black & Green Ambassador 2020-21 speaking at #BristolCityGathering
Olivia shared how the programme helps locals progress their understanding of climate matters and advocacy: “We can provide you with expertise, insight and challenge when it comes to enacting a just transition locally or what the intersection of climate and racial justice looks like, feels like and means in a global scale. We can connect you with a wealth of action already happening in the city, by a hugely diverse group of individuals.“
Local Action Can Impact Global Issues
Our Girlz Nite is held every Monday from 4.30 to 6pm – girls aged 8 and over can come along to enjoy cooking and crafting activities whilst discussing a range of topics that impact them.