HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE aged under 30 have contributed to a Youth Manifesto for Action on Climate Change, coordinated by the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s volunteer Young Leaders, and published on Friday 5 November, to send a message to decision-makers during the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The manifesto highlights the changes that young people from around the UK-wide Wildlife Trusts movement want to see from governments, businesses and individuals to cut emissions and limit climate change to the targets set by the Paris Agreement in 2015.

It also demonstrates the nature-based solutions to the climate crisis that young people believe should be prioritised. These include protecting peatlands, having tree-lined streets to cool urban areas, and wildflower meadows on roadside verges and in parks.

  • 87 per cent of young people agreed that governments are not taking enough action on climate change. They would like to see an immediate reduction in the use of fossil fuels, improved public transport and a step change in agricultural subsidies that encourages more sustainable production.
  • 88 per cent of young people believe businesses should do more. They would like to see significant reductions in waste, greater transparency around environmental impacts, and more responsible procurement of products.
  • 70 per cent of young people believe individuals can do more to reduce emissions. They would like to see a shift towards buying fewer, higher quality products, making greater use of public transport, and reducing meat consumption and food waste.

These views were gathered through an online survey as well as through a series of Young People’s Nature Assembly workshops led by The Wildlife Trusts.

Alasdair Lemon is one of the Young Leaders who coordinated the manifesto and a Trustee of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. He said: “COP26 is the last chance to agree how the pledge made in Paris to tackle climate change will be met. Our manifesto has brought young people from around the UK together to make an urgent call for action from across society.

“We need to act now to tackle the climate and nature crises and work towards a green recovery from Covid-19 that benefits both people and wildlife. We can’t afford to wait.”

Ruchir Shah, Director of External Affairs, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “Climate change and the loss of nature are intergenerational issues, but young people stand to lose the most if we fail to act. It is clear from the contributions that have shaped this collective manifesto that young people understand the urgency of the situation facing humanity. Their views and ideas need urgent consideration by decision-makers committed to making change happen, quickly and at scale, as a legacy of COP26.”

Nikki Williams, Director of Campaigning and Communities for The Wildlife Trusts added: “Young people have demanded action to tackle the climate and nature emergency for too long. Whilst some progress has been made to recognise the crisis, there remains a big disconnect in the actions taken by governments and businesses, and a lack of support out there for communities to be making the right choices too.

“This Youth Manifesto, drawn from the contributions from young people across our movement, highlights their strength of feeling around inaction and calls on our decision-makers to start taking the difficult decisions they should have taken some time ago for the sake of people and our natural world.”

* Read the Youth Manifesto for Action on Climate Change here.

* Source: The Wildlife Trusts