The COP26 theme of ‘youth and public empowerment’ is in action here in Calderdale, with opportunities for people of all ages to have their voices heard in the fight against climate change.
Calderdale people have been setting out their hopes for the UN’s annual Climate Change Conference underway in Glasgow, in an inspiring new film produced by Calderdale Council.
The video features people from local businesses, Calderdale Youth Council, Calderdale Interfaith Council and Calderdale Council talking about the climate action they think is important and what they hope will come from COP26.
All the speakers share a collective hope for the future, but call for more decisive and immediate action from world leaders at COP26. Some of the things they would like to see are tougher targets for big polluters, more investment in climate change projects, increased support from national Government to enable action at a local level, and an environment where people are enabled to make greener choices.
Watch the video, ‘A hope for action in the lead up to #COP26’ at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnM0sq4Fdc0
What are the key issues you’d like to see discussed at COP26? Join the conversation on social media using #ClimateActionCdale and #COP26.
Will Solomon, from Calderdale Youth Council and the borough’s Climate Committee, features in the film and will take to the international stage at COP26, when he speaks as part of the official programme on Monday 8 November.
Representing young people from Calderdale and the wider region, Will is talking along with the Regional Youth Climate Assembly (RYCA). RYCA was started in April 2020 under the Youth Work Unit Yorkshire and Humber to bring together and strengthen youth voice around climate change and to make sure young people are integrated at every level of climate decision making.
Will and the other RYCA members will be the youngest people speaking independently at COP26. Will is also taking the opportunity to meet with young climate activists from Ghana, who have asked Will to mentor them as they set up their own regional youth-led climate network.
Will said: “We have an opportunity to use climate action to improve our society and many issues that we face are connected in some way to climate change.
“One of the greatest opportunities we have (especially for young people) is the increase in youth voice. The climate movement is being spearheaded by young people, from across the world in many different forms.
“COP 26 is a great opportunity to bring people, organisations and governments together but if there’s one thing all decision makers need to remember … is that we’re not making plans to combat climate change in the future. We need plans to combat it now. We’re not making plans to protect just the next generation. We need plans to protect this generation … today is the moment to act.”
Schools in Calderdale can show their commitment to tackling climate change through the ACE (Advocates for the Climate and Environment) Awards scheme created and launched by Calderdale Youth Council in 2020. By applying for the ACE Awards accreditation, schools are encouraged to get involved with initiatives that support efforts to tackle the climate emergency. More information and an application form are available at www.calderdalecommunityenergy.org.uk/ace-awards/
Local people can also show their support for climate action and speak up by attending the TodCOP event on Friday 5 November, from 10am to 2pm at Todmorden College. This free event by Climate Challenge @ Tod College includes interactive workshops, climate activities, speeches and films.
Cllr Scott Patient, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, said: “Climate change is the ultimate issue of our time and it’s clear we need to make fundamental changes to achieve a greener, fairer society. There is still a way to go, but together we must have hope despite the challenges ahead.
“It’s really inspiring to see this hope reflected across Calderdale’s communities, and to see the great action that people of all ages and backgrounds are taking. The scale and urgency of the climate challenge means we all need to pull together and get all of our voices heard. This is the Vision2024 for Calderdale in action.”