Young People lead the way on climate change

Young People lead the way on climate change

Pupils from local schools took part in a climate change debate as part of the work to engage with young people about the climate emergency.

Throughout the summer term 20 primary schools delivered Rochdale Borough Council’s climate action lesson to year 5 pupils. The aim of this lesson was to get young people talking and thinking about their priorities for protecting the planet for future generations.

The schools were first asked to select themes that they wanted to discuss and explore further, which culminated in a debate involving 30 children, with their ideas then being used to develop a council motion. The debate took place at the council’s main offices, Number One Riverside in Rochdale during a lively session where the children discussed their 4 priority areas:

  • Active travel
  • Planting and growing
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Shopping locally

In the final debate, planting and growing won the most votes. The ideas discussed by the children during the debate were included in the final motion, which asked the council to support the creation of community gardens in schools, community centres, youth centres, libraries, faith centres and under used urban spaces throughout the borough.

Councillor Tricia Ayrton, assistant portfolio holder for climate change and environment, said:

“The curriculum and subsequent debate has been a great way to raise awareness and educate our youngest citizens on how they can contribute and take action on climate change locally.

“The children attending the debate were so knowledgeable on the effects of climate change and came up with some great ideas to tackle climate change in the borough.”

Aahil from Whittaker Moss Primary School and Ayaan from Hamer Community Primary School helped Councillor Ayrton present the planting and growing motion at the last full council meeting. The motion was seconded by Councillor Liam O’Rourke, portfolio holder for climate change and environment. Councillors unanimously agreed to the proposals and the council will now action the planting and growing motion.

Councillor Rachel Massey, cabinet member for children’s services and education, said:

“It was great to be part of the enthusiastic climate change debate with all the children and teachers. We are really proud of everyone who took part and contributed to such an important topic.

“We look forward to inviting the schools back next time so future generations of our children can continue to share their ideas on how we should be tackling climate change.”

We are now inviting all primary, secondary and colleges in Rochdale Borough to get in touch if they would like to take part this year.

Tom Nadin, deputy head teacher at Hamer Community Primary School took part in the previous climate action lesson and subsequent debate, said:

“Teachers found the resources and discussion materials really useful for initiating high level conversations with the pupils. The theme of climate and looking after our environment really resonated with our children. The opportunity to have the debate at Number One Riverside was fantastic – it would be great if more children could be involved with this process in the future.”

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