International Youth Conference inspires Leeds

Young people fromIMG_3626 the UK, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria and Germany came together in Leeds for an International Youth Conference on Climate Change.  They explored the idea of climate justice – how actions in one part of the world affects people’s lives in another part of the world.

“Climate change is the problem and climate justice is the solution, of what we need to do.” Benedickt from Austria

Over the three days, students from Prince Henry’s Grammar School and Dixons Academy shared ideas and worked with Angel of Youth, Youth Parliament Representatives and representatives of the refugee community. After a debate in the Council Chamber at Leeds City Council, they spent a day at Prince Henry’s and out in the community, asking the people of Otley what they thought of climate change. They also spent the weekend learning how to survive without running water and building their own shelters! Over the course of the conference, they created a film featuring themselves as Climate Justice Heroes.

The questions they looked at over the conference were: What do we mean by climate justice?; Opportunities and barriers to achieving climate justice; How can we achieve it?

The conference was opened at the Civic Hall by Cllr Alex Sobel and Paul Brennan, Deputy Director of Children’s Services at Leeds City Council.

The International Youth Conference was organised by Leeds Development Education Centre as part of the ‘Global Fairness’ project, a 3 year project funded by the EU. Leeds DEC is a charity which educates for a just and sustainable world, and provides Workshops and Training for schools and organisations wanting to explore our place in an ever changing world.

” A very quiet student attended (the IYC) and up until last week his only thought for the future was to become a history teacher and when I asked him why he said it was because he thought he could do it.  Now he has plans to join the UK Youth Parliament, he’s looking into local action groups and his horizons have broadened.  This is a perfect example of why I think it is so important to get our students out of the classroom.” Teacher from Dixons Academy