I am so pleased that this was a success and I am overwhelmed but the amount students who have taken the time to watch the Climate Conference videos. The feedback from the videos has been fantastic also.

The inaugural Wokingham Youth Climate Conference has been hailed a success with more than 5,000 views on the various panels, clips and keynote speeches. More than 10,000 secondary school students have been provided with the videos and it’s hoped teachers will be able to use them alongside relevant points in the curriculum in the months ahead. 

Our officers have already answered questions from more than a dozen students who got in touch with them about their topics. The council is aiming to continue to make the most of these young people’s interest on the topics involved. The feedback we’ve received from staff at schools has been positive and students at Addington School are already having the videos included in their lessons.

I’ve had nothing but positive feedback on our youth climate conference and I hope everything we have put together will have long-term value for the borough’s young people and teachers. We’ll continue to engage with young people on this important topic, as we know they have a keen interest in protecting our planet and leading on carbon-cutting behaviours.

The conference featured:• On fast fashion – Ruth Gibbs from Oxfam• On climate justice – Africa Bauza Garcia-Arcicollar and Dr Alex McLaughlin from the University of Reading• On sustainable transport – Domhnall McFarline and Julie Pillai, My Journey Wokingham • A staff panel covering the council’s work relating to climate emergency on areas including public health, waste and recycling, energy and biodiversity

Part of the council’s climate emergency action plan sets out how the council will encourage climate friendly behaviours through school visits and educational projects as well as facilitating young people to lead behaviour change across the borough.

The conference had originally been due to take place at the council’s Shute End offices in March but was postponed due to COVID-19. It was adapted to make it possible in the current COVID-19 environment, with everything pre-recorded and uploaded to used when suited schools and students.

My Conservative colleague, Cllr UllaKarin Clark, executive member for children’s services, as said: “I’d like to thank all the young people who have already taken time to look into this topic with us through our fantastic panel of staff and guest speakers. It’s vital these young people feel empowered to go on and become ambassadors within their school communities and the borough, encouraging others to engage with this important topic. With all the keynote speakers and panels available online and easily accessible, I hope to see even more young people making the most of their expertise and watching these talks.”

Thank you to everyone who took part, submitted questions, viewed the videos and feedback. Let’s start planning for next year.

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