Northern Ireland

New Environmental Policies - A Youth Strategy for the Environment

Forty young activists, including some Young Reporters for the Environment from St Dominic’s Grammar School for Girls and Ulidia Integrated College,  met with policy makers at Stormont on 17th January to set out their demands for safeguarding the environment, as they play their part in shaping Northern Ireland’s first ever environment strategy, which is currently out for public consultation. Students gave suggestions about what they think should be included in the strategy by working in groups to answer questions on this topic.

Supported by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Ulster Wildlife and the Belfast Hills Partnership, the passionate and environmentally conscious young people, aged 11 to 24, have already been taking action to improve hundreds of local green spaces and tackle environmental issues, such as climate change. Some of these improvements have been possible through litter pick events and Community Action Days supported by Mars Wrigley Foundation.

A representative of these young activists advocated to act now on the climate crisis, because catastrophes, like the fires in Australia, will become more common place across the world, changing ecosystems beyond repair. They also commented about the need to improve the recycling facilities in Northern Ireland, so we can stop wasting money, energy, and resources by making things from scratch. It is possible: Sweden recycle 99 percent of their waste, so why can't we? Young people have great ideas too; they just need to be listened to more!

The youth-led movement is calling for three key asks to be included in the forthcoming strategy: more time for young people learning in and about nature, more support for young people to get environmental jobs, and more opportunities for young people to be heard and play an active role in society. It’s time to speak up!