2050 Climate Group
21 September 2022
Callum Patterson, the 2050 Climate Group Programme Assistant, recently spoke to us about the work of the group and the progress they have made towards empowering young people to take climate action, as well as the importance of having climate conversations to understand the scale of the climate emergency:
2050 Climate Group was founded in 2014 by the 2020 Climate Group and Young Scot, who recognised the need to bring young people into the climate conversation and look forward to what we wanted a just and sustainable Scotland to look like by 2050.
We began by holding our first Youth Summit in 2014, and our Young Leaders Development Programme (YLDP) grew out of the summit. The programme aims to equip young people aged 18-35 in Scotland with the climate change knowledge and leadership skills that will empower them to take climate action in their personal, professional, and political spheres of influence. Since then, over 700 young people from across the country have graduated from the programme. The modules include a mix of discussions, workshops, talks, group work and more with guest speakers from all sectors and from every corner of Scotland - we’ve welcomed everyone from local councillors to Lorna Slater MSP, small business owners to representatives of international companies. This allows our Young Leaders to explore both familiar and new topics with a diverse network of experts and fellow young people.
The YLDP is now in its sixth year and over that time we have evolved as we have seen the urgency of the climate crisis increase. The topics we explore (and how we explore them) have changed over time, for example a huge challenge facing us all now is climate anxiety, particularly amongst young people who are looking at the state of the world and feel a sense of dread when thinking about the future. We see news stories about extreme weather, the rising cost of living, and ecosystems on the verge of collapse - an overlapping and intersecting series of crises that we face as a generation, a society, and a planet. So many of these challenges are either directly or indirectly related to the climate crisis, and we know that taking action can be one of the best ways to fight the anxiety so many of us are feeling.
Right at the start of the programme, every September, we recognise that talking about the climate crisis is one of the most impactful actions we can take as individuals. Having a conversation with a friend, family member or colleague about the climate crisis and the many actions we can all take is often the first step in helping more people to understand the scale of the crisis we face, while allowing us to play our part in expanding the conversation and the climate movement. One of our recent YLDP graduates said:
‘My confidence has increased in talking to people about climate issues…It’s helped me understand my own strengths better and…I feel better equipped to engage with organisations on issues I care about.’
Sharing your own climate story with someone can spur them to begin their own - so it’s very fitting that 2022 is Scotland’s Year of Stories, and that Scotland’s Climate Week in September follows a similar theme of starting a climate conversation. By encouraging Young Leaders to tell their climate story we demonstrate one of our core beliefs, that leaders come from all walks of life. Recognising this, and sharing our stories, is vital to creating a diverse, inclusive, and intersectional climate movement.
Join us for the first YLDP6 module!
September is a bumper month for 2050 Climate Group. We are kicking things off with the first module of this year’s YLDP on September 17th. We’re also pleased to say that this module is open to the public, and will be held digitally, so any young person from across Scotland can come along to improve your climate knowledge and network with a community of young people who can support you to continue learning and taking action. More info can be found here.
Fancy planning climate action over a pint ahead of Scotland’s Climate Week?
We are also hosting our first ‘Pint & A Plan’ workshop, in partnership with Tennent’s Lager and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the day before Scotland’s Climate Week on September 25th. These events will be held across pubs in Scotland and are designed to engage young people new to taking climate action in a friendly, fun and informal way. The first event is in Dundee, and you can sign up to attend here and join us for a pint (or a soft drink)!
Do you have an inspiring climate story to tell?
YLDP graduates and those who interact with us through our other programmes become part of our over 800-strong Leaders Network. As part of the Year of Stories and Scotland’s Climate Week (and not forgetting September’s Climate Fringe Festival) we are hosting ClimaTell - an event to share and celebrate inspiring climate stories from our Leaders Network, and beyond. Join us at ClimaTell to tell your story, and hear from others, on September 30th in Edinburgh.