In February schools came together virtually to ask important questions about the climate emergency to their 3 local MP’s, Caroline Lucas (Green), Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Labour), Peter Kyle (Labour), as well as a local councillor, Samer Bagaeen (Conservative) who is a member of the council’s Carbon Neutral Member Working Group.

Young people involved with the youth council and youth climate assembly helped organise the session.

Watch the Brighton & Hove Schools climate Q&A with local politicians

One of the key recommendations from the Youth Climate Assembly was to enable more participation for young people in the climate debate. The council recently signed the Youth Charter, which pledges to give young people more power to have a say on decisions which affect them.

All secondary schools were invited to submit a question and three students from each school attended the event. We were delighted to have nine local schools taking part. A film of the event was sent round to schools after the event to use in class to help raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergency.

This was a golden opportunity to directly ask the MPs about their thoughts on how to take action on climate issues such as energy, recycling and waste, preserving wildlife in Sussex and the effects of Covid-19 on environmental goals to make Brighton and Hove carbon neutral by 2030.

Student Rania Van Den Ouweland said: “This event was such an amazing opportunity to have us, young people living in Brighton & Hove, directly involved and at the forefront of climate action. What better way to engage climate conversations, than in schools, a place where young people can learn from each other, a place to discuss and present ideas to fellow students and teachers?”

Including climate education in the school curriculum was one of the key questions of this event. Take part in a further opportunity to join an online Q&A session with three key councillors on 19 March. The event is free, and you are invited to submit a question to ask to the councillors’ present.

Stepping up to the challenge in 2021

At a global level the Internation Conference on Climate Change, also known as COP26, in November may see international efforts really pick up speed and pace. At a national level the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill gives our MPs the opportunity to support a Parliamentary response to the emergency.

Locally our council has just heard the report and recommendations from our city's first Climate Assembly and has just published the draft Carbon Neutral 2030 programme (agenda item number 83). Additionally, the first Youth Assembly on

Climate in the country took place from September till December 2020 and is looking to continue with an ambassador project in schools in the future.

Our Youth Council is looking for new members and is campaigning on tackling climate change and reducing plastic waste.

Youth climate assembly

The amazing mobilisation and enthusiasm we've seen during the many climate youth strikes in Brighton & Hove have shown that young people are a great force in pushing for change and coming up with creative ideas to combat climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

Young people formed a youth citizen assembly to advise Brighton & Hove City Council on concrete actions to take on important issues like air pollution.

The youth climate assembly met online using Zoom between September and December 2020. Twenty-four young people, aged 12 to 25 took part. All came from schools, colleges and universities in Brighton & Hove.

They were joined by some adult guests who were experts or had a particular interest in environmental issues, especially transport and the council’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030. They focused on transport which was the theme of Brighton & Hove’s main climate assembly.

Contributors included councillors, members of the council’s transport team, teachers, the head of Brighton & Hove Bus Company, community groups and Sussex Wildlife Trust.

They discussed videos from other experts – some local, some from other areas in the country – that were also shown to the climate assembly.

Brighton & Hove’s youth climate assembly will publish its findings on transport in March.

If you're interested in finding out more about Brighton & Hove youth climate assembly, please send an email to raniavandenouweland@orange.fr or rob.scoble@brighton-hove.gov.uk.