H&F is first London borough to support Youth Climate Summit

H&F Council is the first London authority to give its support to the 2020 Youth Climate Summit.

H&F Youth Mayor Scarlett Knowles being presented with a Youth Achievement Award certificate at a ceremony in 2019

H&F Youth Mayor Scarlett Knowles (centre) said it's important to support the council's climate work as it effects young people's futures. Picture taken at the Youth Achievement Awards in 2019

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is the first London authority to give its support to the 2020 Youth Climate Summit.

In summer 2019 the council declared a climate and ecological emergency, with an ambition for the whole borough to net carbon zero by 2030.

The summit runs from 9 to 13 November and involves schools from across the UK coming together pledging to protect the planet and create a more just and sustainable world.

Climate change and the environment is a major concern for young people and a key focus of the work of H&F Council’s Youth Council.

"It’s important for the Youth Council to support the council’s climate change work as the decisions that are made today will affect our future,” said Scarlett Knowles, H&F Youth Mayor.

“We have to make sure that our future is secure and isn’t threatened by the human implications of our actions today.”

And Cllr Wesley Harcourt, H&F Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Young people deserve to inherit a borough where nature thrives side by side with people.

“The Youth Climate Summit will galvanise young minds in plans for making a better tomorrow, so it was an easy decision to lend our support.”

Working with young people

The Youth Council - an active voice for young people, comprised of young people from the borough - is working on a project to increase school recycling rates and previously worked on a project with the Phoenix Academy that reduced the school’s carbon footprint.

They will now explore if this can be used as a blueprint for good practice in other schools, with members being trained to become their school’s ‘Eco Champion’.

Climate work in H&F schools

H&F Council is currently working with several schools to deliver local ecology projects, focusing on five key areas: teaching and learning, transports and environment, food and waste, art and recycling, greening and outdoor space.

The Healthy Pupil Capital Fund is being used to support community schools to adapt learning environments to they’re eco-friendly. Further funding will also enable schools to invest in changes to their infrastructure and practices to reduce their carbon footprint and be kinder to the environment.

An example is the climate accreditation programme to support teaching staff in their role as ‘climate champions’ within schools and a climate education toolkit is also being developed.

The council’s successful Mudlarks education programme is now in its second year. This year, the focus is encouraging primary school children to look at post-Covid recovery through observing nature and the surrounding environment.

This year’s scheme will promote environmental awareness amongst children and their families, encouraging them to help the council improve climate-friendly practices. Along with the two schools from the pilot, ‘Mudlarks II’ will include four more H&F schools, taking part in a mixture of activities and distance learning.

This follows a summer series of highly successful family activities themed around the environment, led by Urbanwise London, a key council partner on the Mudlarks programme.

During lockdown, the council worked with Urbanwise London and local schools to produce a music video, with the help of the Mudlarks schools and children.

“The changes we’re making now are for one purpose – a legacy to ensure a better planet and greener borough for future generations,” added Cllr Harcourt.

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Residents outside Hammersmith Town Hall in July 2019 as part of a call to recognise our climate emergency

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