Here is the Zoom recording of ACAN’s open meeting on 10 October 2022 which includes:
- Fiona Witcomb’s presentation of the Young ACAN survey on the feelings and views of children and young people about the climate crisis
- Scott Gudrich’s presentation of related surveys in a local primary school and of adults in one area of Alton
- Lillie Ewins’ speech (Young ACAN)
- Isobel Goldie’s speech (Young ACAN)
- Feedback from the breakout groups which discussed how to help children and young people to talk more about the environmental crisis, offer them opportunities to take action, and scale up community action so that young people don’t feel that adults are failing them and betraying them.
You can download the Young ACAN survey report here – it includes an executive summary:
Below are links (the Zoom recording and the written version) to Lillie Ewins’ speech, which starts, “We are terrified. We are angry. We are desperate. But more than anything, we still have hope. It is this hope that has allowed us to come together today to discuss how exactly you can help young people. Because we cannot fix the world without your guidance, your teaching.” Lillie was the prime mover behind the setting up of Young ACAN in 2021.
Many generous offers of help were made by participants in the meeting. The key message was the need to focus on ACTION, because every action makes a difference and action combats anxiety.
We need to enable and facilitate action by and with children and young people, particularly for their priorities (as shown by the survey results) of protecting nature, reducing waste and their interest in growing and cooking food.
Young people also need real evidence that adults, especially politicians, have got the message and are taking urgent action NOW. ACAN’s action plan from the meeting is based on the findings from the survey and includes –
- Identifying and sharing materials to enable children to talk more about their worries about the climate crisis and what’s happening to nature
- Developing further our work in collaboration with schools
- Supporting children and young people with climate anxiety, including wellness support, poetry and the creativity, and disseminating the support available from the Southern Health NHS Trust, our local mental health trust.
- Democratic engagement for young people – including a number of ideas for young people engaging further with Alton Town Council
- Developing a strong communications plan for this work, including linking with other young people’s climate groups
The survey findings suggested that local children and young people did think that adults in and around Alton cared and shared their concerns about the future. We must not betray their trust.