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School Climate Summit DEClared a success

Over 130 attendees from 13 secondary schools and colleges in Leeds and beyond attended Climate Action Leeds’s first ever youth summit at Leeds Civic Hall.


The day started with welcomes from Cllr Katie Dye (chair of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee) and Tom Riordon, the Chief Executive of Leeds City Council. Both shared the council’s commitment and practical actions to addressing the climate crisis and encouraged young people to carry on acting for our planet.


Also present at the event on March 25th was Prof Paul Chatterton, who shared his carbon budget work and asked students how the city could reduce its carbon emissions by 2040. Participants then got the ‘ABC’ of Climate Action from Eco Councils at Abbey Grange, Bishop Young Academy, and Carr Manor. Students shared their inspiring work, such as initiating MeatFree Mondays at school, organising a sustainability awards ceremony where achievements were celebrated with parents, and installing compost bins in the Food Technology classroom to compost raw waste.



All students shared their own successes and struggles in school through a giant mixing game. One participant said that what they found most inspiring was: "The pupils, the work they have already done and their commitment to keep going."


An expert panel (including representatives from CITU, engineering company Mott McDonald, Yorkshire Rewilding Network, and ASDA) answered students’ questions about the benefits of growing fruit and veg, different ‘green careers’ that are available, and what companies are doing about climate change.



Finally, educational charity Leeds DEC (which organised the event in partnership with a teacher from Cardinal Heenan High School) involved students in discussing which elements of DEC's Climate Curriculum they thought they should be taught. Students created their own short TikTok-style video to communicate their opinions!


In terms of next steps, there was an opportunity for all schools to pledge 3 actions they were going to take back to school. Some students identified how they wanted to turn off computers and install compost bins.


Feedback from the event was very positive, with students responding how they were inspired by coming together. One said: “The successes of other schools in similar contexts to ours means we feel really positive about achieving our goals.”



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