Earlier this week, a panel of young participants of the Jason Roberts Foundation, were invited to a virtual roundtable with Cllr Krupa Sheth, Lead Member for Environment, and Oliver Myers, Head of Environmental Strategy, to discuss climate change and how, collectively, we tackle it.

Brent Council approached the Foundation as they wanted to open a dialogue directly with local people about its draft Climate Emergency Strategy, alongside a formal consultation. There was a particular desire to hear from young people as they are “typically underrepresented as a group in council consultations”, and they can be particularly impacted by the significant health risks from air pollution as their lungs are still developing and they breathe more rapidly than adults.

Ahead of the roundtable the five young people were given a factsheet and a simple illustration of the draft Strategy to provide them with relevant information, to enable them to prepare some questions for Cllr Sheth and Oliver Myers.

Brent’s Draft Climate Emergency Strategy proposes a path to make Brent carbon neutral by 2030 which will mean making changes in all sorts of areas of life in Brent.

The hour-long discussion covered different elements of the draft Strategy and its real-world implications including:

Green homes. How do we make our homes more environmentally friendly? What does a ‘green home’ look like?

The stuff we buy and the stuff we throw away. How can we encourage local businesses to cut back on the amount of plastic they use? Why is recycling important?

Getting around. How can we protect children from air pollution which harms their lungs? How can we get young people into healthy habits, like walking or cycling to school?

In the past two years, young people have driven the climate emergency agenda forward internationally and the young people on the panel showed how incredibly passionate they are about this issue. They have been invited to join the Brent Environmental Network, which is being set up to bring people together to act on climate change. A special schools’ network is also being created.

The informative and engaging debate can be viewed here https://vimeo.com/502593344