My name is Tehseen Mirza and I am studying Dental Technology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Yesterday I and four other members of the UK Youth Climate Network, funded by Plan UK, travelled to the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices in Westminster.
It marked the culmination of our One Step campaign that we’ve been running this year. We’ve collected nearly 2000 pledges from young people all over the UK – telling how they’ll make one simple change to combat climate change. Every pledge is written on a individually-designed footprint. They range from “I will take shorter showers” to “I will grow my own vegetables” to “I won’t leave the TV on standby”. The aim of the campaign was to hand these pledges to the UK government, to build momentum for change before the UN Climate Summit in Durban at the end of November.
First we attended a special climate webcast. The panel consisted of the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne, the foreign secretary William Hague, South Africa’s Ambassador at Large for Climate Change, Nozipho Mxakato-Diskeko and the Chief Executive of the British Council, Martin Davidson.
The webcast was really interesting and it was beneficial to have the opportunity to address the issues that we were concerned about. I asked a question to the panel which was ‘What can be done to educate the public more on climate change’ and in fairness I got a good response and felt like the panel understood the importance of making the public aware of positive ways to combat climate change.
After the webcast we had the opportunity to speak to Chris Huhne and present the ‘One Step’ campaign. We told him what we had been doing and how we have had success collecting pledges from young people from different parts of the UK. We even showed him one of the “steps” sent in from Bradford that was designed by 4 year olds in a reception class at Peel Park school in Bradford! We also stressed the importance of Mr. Huhne taking young people’s voices on climate change issues to the COP17 in Durban and making young people’s voices heard. Cat Hudson, from the Youth Climate Network, is going to be in Durban and she will be keeping in touch with Chris Huhne during the summit.
Tehseen Mirza from the Youth Climate Network
Blog posted on the Make the Link – Climate exChange website