Share Learn Improve Coordinator, Abi Paine, headed to BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace with a group of young people ready to take on the world!
Young people were at the heart of the action during day one of BBC Countryfile Live last week, as people travelled from all over the country to attend the event. The newly appointed Environment Secretary, Rt Hon Theresa Villiers also used the event as the platform for her first speechin post.
National Trust Director-General, Hilary McGrady opened the National Trust Theatre with a panel debate featuring three young people Arjun Dutta, Dara McAnulty and Bella Lack; discussing environmental issues, ways to act on the crisis and how to reconnect people with nature.
Then in the afternoon, the National Trust hosted a workshop in their Greenhouse Tent; giving young people from across the Our Bright Future projects the opportunity to showcase their policy asks and discuss ideas with other young people.
First up, Daniel (Growing Confidence), Laurence (Growing Confidence) and Khadija (Bright Green Future) put forward the case for ask one – calling for more time spent learning in and about nature. They highlighted some of the statistics around outdoor learning, including that 90% of teachers say that children were more engaged in learning when they spent lessons outdoors. They also shared experiences of taking part in their projects and the positive impacts it has had on them and others.
They kicked off discussions with everyone in the room, posing questions such as: what is needed for it to be practical to spend an hour outdoors learning in senior school? How can teachers increase environmental learning and awareness through the school curriculum?
They asked the group to discuss how they could influence people to make practical changes for the environment and make sure young people’s voices are heard. Some of the ideas included:
Give students at school/college/university the opportunity to go into Parliament and meet decision makers and learn about the processes early on
Use the PSHE curriculum to include discussions about nature and wellbeing
Lower the voting age to 16 to ensure MPs hear from younger people about the things that affect them
Finally, Claudia (Environmental Leadership Programme) and Elis (My World My Home) highlighted the ways in which the climate emergency and nature crisis are linked; detailing research on the global temperature rise, mass species loss and CO2 levels. They shared ways in which ordinary people are responding to the crisis and asked the room to think on some key questions such as:
If you had 15 minutes to talk to the new Environment Minister, what ways would you ask her to respond to the climate emergency?
What actions can we take to make this change happen?
What do you think has had the most impact making change so far? E.g. school strikes
Hilary McGrady, Director-General and Patrick Begg, Outdoor and Natural Resources Director, joined the workshops and listened to the discussions and took away meaningful actions on how to continue championing young people across the National Trust.
Well done to all who contributed to the day; it was so inspiring to see young people taking centre stage and sharing their knowledge and ideas with such passion and confidence.