Youth conservationist Mya-Rose Craig and plastic campaigners Ella and Amy Meek are among the all-youth panel of a new conference designed solely for young people to discuss their vision for a green recovery.
The Youth Against Carbon Conference (YAC Con) is organised by insurance company Zurich, which said it is part of its mission to keep climate change on the public agenda and to understand the role young people will play in the climate crisis.
The Meeks, who co-founded Kids against Plastic, will join Craig, also known as BirdgirlUK and through her role as president of Black2Nature, and climate activist Mikaela Loach, as speakers at the conference, which takes place this October and will be presented by TV presenter Maddie Moate.
Speakers will debate a range of topics, including fast fashion, food consumption, plastic usage, eco travel and transport pollution, as well as how to mitigate their impact on climate change. All carbon emissions generated during the conference will be offset using the Tree Nation scheme and it will be streamed live via Instagram TV to minimise travel emissions.
“As we contemplate a return to our previous way of life, it’s vital that we put sustainability and the fight to tackle climate change at the heart of it,” said Moate.
“For many young people, the impact of a changing climate is a huge concern, and one of the biggest threats the planet faces, yet so many young people feel helpless and confused about what they can do. If you’re one of these people, join us at YAC Con to hear more about what you can do to help change the world.”
Three additional young eco-champions aged up to 24 years old are being invited to apply to join the panel, and successful applicants will be eligible to pitch for one of two bursaries of £2,500 to support their cause or project, as well as consultancy from Zurich’s senior sustainability experts.
It comes as new research, commissioned by Zurich, found two thirds of Gen-Z (those born after 2000) fear that climate issues have been forgotten under the race to rebuild the economy post-coronavirus, and following the postponement of the COP26 climate talks, which were due to be held in Glasgow this November.
The survey of 2,000 young people aged 18-24 found that two thirds of those asked worry the government is only focused on the economy, while three quarters would support some aspects of the extension of lockdown conditions to reduce impact on the environment for the long term. A similar percentage said they believe tackling climate change should be a top property for world leaders.
Head of Sustainability at Zurich, Laura McAlpine, said: “Climate change presents a very real threat for future generations and our planet, and the postponement of COP26 doesn’t mean it’s any less pressing.
“We are launching YAC Con to make sure it stays on the public agenda, while giving young people a platform to voice their concerns, take action and play their part in the UK’s transformation to a low carbon economy.”