In July 2020, Heart of BS13 became part of a consortium of Climate Action Partners from across the Bristol, funded to generate new thinking and leadership around the climate and ecological emergency as part of the city’s strategy to be climate neutral by 2030.
We are now in the final stages of co-producing our Community Climate Action Plan for BS13 ready to launch in Spring 2022 – having engaged with a whopping 1,070 BS13 residents!
Whilst working to complete the plan, we have been reflecting on our approach of “starting with the young uns”, and how critical we believe this is to mobilising an intergenerational response to the climate emergency.
While adults may often either deny we are in a climate emergency, or feel hopeless and disillusioned believing there is nothing they can do to change it, children are less susceptible to political spin or dissonance from climate issues, and are often passionate about protecting nature and the world they are growing up in. They are also likely to be less limited by their beliefs about what is possible than adults may be.
While children aren’t the key decision makers in a household, they have a captive audience in their care givers, and therefore the opportunity to inspire adults towards climate concern, and in turn, collective action. Children who learn about the climate and ecological emergency can transfer knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to their parents – putting these issues on the agenda for these adults, and in turn inspiring behaviour change.
This may be something simple like starting to recycle or eating less meat – or taking part in local events with a climate focus. These issues then become relevant and relatable to the adults, who in turn can influence and inspire other adults in their lives.
For this reason, we placed children front and centre of the co-production process to inform how the wider community establishes its knowledge of climate and ecological issues and how we develop our practical and economic responses for future generations.
We did this by collaborating with schools and non-formal education establishments across BS13, ranging from primary, secondary, SEN and further education settings, as well as local youth clubs, to understand what baseline knowledge young people had on the climate and ecological emergency.
We took a creative approach and commissioned 7 artists to carry out interactive workshops using a range of multi-media activities. Our ambition was to use creative thinking to challenge perceptions, amplify local voices and connect young people with their environment and future opportunities.
We were so impressed by the work our young people created in these sessions, and how this has created conversations at home on what action can be taken. You can find out more about our climate action work here.
We will be building on this work in the years to come through our Climate Action Plan for BS13 – sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear when it is released.