News / Environment

‘Birdgirl’ to play major role in national eco summit

By ellie pipe, Tuesday Aug 18, 2020

Concern that climate change has fallen off the agenda has prompted young activists to join forces for a major national eco summit.

Mya-Rose Craig (AKA Birdgirl), the youngest Briton to receive an honorary doctorate and president of Black2Nature, will play a major role as one of the main panellists at the Youth Against Carbon Conference (YAC Con), taking place online on October 13.

“Everybody, whatever their age, should be included in the fight to tackle climate change,” said the 18-year-old activist and nature lover who lives in the Chew Valley.

“We must act to ensure young voices from all ethnicities and backgrounds are heard in the discussion. It [the conference] will be a great platform to inspire more young people to take action and become part of the solution.”

YAC Con will be hosted by BAFTA Award-winning TV presenter Maddie Moate and Mya-Rose will be joined by other environmentalists, including Edinburgh-based climate justice activist Mikaela Loach and Amy and Ella Meek, the co-founders of eco-charity Kids Against Plastic.

The aim is to understand the role young people will play in the climate crisis in response to fears it is taking a back seat during the Covid-19 crisis recovery.

Research by Zurich Insurance, which is organising the summit, suggests young people in particular are concerned that climate change has fallen off the public agenda following the postponement of the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The study found that 61 per cent of young people worry the Government is only focused on the economy, and more than two thirds (68 per cent) say tackling climate change is just as important as rebuilding the economy. 72 per cent of those asked believe tackling climate change should be a top property for world leaders.

Thousands of people marched with Greta Thunberg through Bristol in February but there is concern climate change has fallen off the agenda since then – photo by Phil Riley

YAC Con aims to provide a platform for young people to discuss measures they think should be introduced to reduce carbon emissions, tackle climate change and protect the environment. The conference will take place virtually and will be live streamed via Instagram TV. All carbon emissions generated during the conference will be offset using the Tree Nation scheme.

Zurich is also searching for three additional young eco-champions aged 24 or under to join the panel of speakers. Successful applicants will also 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.

Maddie Moate, chair of YAC Con said: “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. 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.”

Find out more information about YAC Con and how to apply to be a panellist via www.zurich.co.uk/yaccon or email yaccon@uk.zurich.com.

Main photo by Ellie Pipe

Read more: Meet Birdgirl: the teenage nature lover who’s unafraid to challenge the status quo

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