c. P Dixie/The Wildlife Trusts

“No more blah blah blah” – this was Greta Thunberg’s message to world leaders on the first day of COP26, at a rally in Govan Festival Park. The 18 year-old climate activist is the voice of youth at this momentous conference – they want to be heard, and they want to see real leadership and action.

Since Greta started her School Strikes for Climate in 2018, she has inspired thousands of others across the globe, through Fridays for Future – a youth-led global movement which aims to inspire people to take action on the climate crisis. Climate change and biodiversity loss will directly impact future generations, and many of the young understand the gravity of these impacts and the importance to act.

One thing that this movement, and the resulting action, has demonstrated (though many of us already knew it) is that a lot of young people care passionately about the environment, and want to help. But they can feel silenced and side lined – often they are not given a chance to use their voice, or their opinions are not taken seriously.

This is something that we are conscious of at Cumbernauld Living Landscape, and we’re keen to change through our work with young people. The project’s Natural Connections programme has allowed over 100 young people in the town to learn new skills and grow in confidence, while gaining an understanding and appreciation for nature and the environment, through outdoor learning. Putting young people at the heart of their learning decisions is integral to the programme, with flexible sessions planned in to allow them to choose the topics and actions they would like to take further. This gives young people the chance to make the most of their individual opportunities, increasing the chance of a positive learning experience and ultimately increasing the likelihood that they will make positive decisions for the environment.

Everyone in the room at COP26 knows that their decisions will impact future generations, and the young most of all. When we give young people a seat at the table they don’t just sit quietly – they make use of the position, and the opportunity. That is what the world needs from COP26; we have no more time for “blah blah blah”.

Cumbernauld Living Landscape