Volunteers for Future had the pleasure of supporting our collaborative partner, the Ministry of Eco Education, in co-delivering the “This is about POWER” workshop at the Schools Climate Assembly in Birmingham on 19th October 2023. The Assembly brought together a powerhouse collective of educators, climate action organisations and activists in supporting 3,000 young people from across the UK in taking greater action against the climate crisis.
Under a giant festival-style marquee, students were engaged in panel interviews, demonstrations, and workshops empowering them to call on lawmakers to implement policies that stop the UK’s destructive environmental practices and increase sustainability investments. Among the speakers and panelists were high-profile figures including naturalist, conservationist, and TV presenter, Chris Packham, and the brilliant Scarlett Westbrook, the world’s youngest policy-writer and leading activist with the climate education campaign group, Teach the Future.
The Ministry of Eco Education (MEE) is a collaboration of educators and environmental activists arming schools with accessible climate education resources and one of five founding partner organisations alongside Volunteers for Future of the Young Green Briton Challenge. The MEE workshop entitled “This is about POWER” was delivered to 600 young people over the course of the day. They were challenged to interrogate the “Tragedy of the Commons” narrative and the unjust power structures in the Global North that undermine the climate justice movement and prevent the policy changes necessary for meaningful action against climate change.
The workshop sparked hundreds of inspiring conversations with students and teachers looking to bring climate education into their schools. Students expressed the need to learn more about the climate movement and the ways they can make an impact with other young people, while teachers were looking for new and engaging ways to incorporate climate education in the curriculum and help develop young people’s confidence in climate action and innovation.
At the end of the workshop, students rose to repeat the words:
I have the power… to make up my own mind. I have the power… to stand up for what is right. I have the power… to demand change!
The Assembly demonstrated so clearly the power and motivation young people have to learn more about the climate crisis, what’s to be done, and how they can help. Students, educators, and activists alike left the marquee that day with a deep sense of hope, inspiration, and an even greater sense of urgency to act in pursuit of a cleaner, greener, and brighter future for everyone to share.