Many children are aware of problems our planet has. Maybe you have good ideas for solutions? Do you think adults aren’t doing enough to fix the problems? Should they listen more to kids?
Well, in Scotland, the government has asked children what it should do about the climate – and it’s promised to make their ideas part of a national climate plan.
Tyler, who lives in Livingston near the Scottish capital Edinburgh, says it made sense for politicians to listen to children like him, not just to adults:
Margaret, who lives in Scotland’s Western Isles, out on the Atlantic Ocean, agreed:
Listening to ideas
It all started when the government decided it had to listen to ordinary people to find out ways to fix the climate that everybody could agree on.
[Other countries have done things like this. You can read our story about France’s Climate Convention here.]
In Scotland, they found 100 people from all over the country, to spend 7 weekends over several months discussing the climate problems and coming up with solutions.
And what about the kids?
The youngest person of the 100 in the Climate Assembly was 16 – the age that you can vote in Scotland. But the government wanted to hear from to children too.
So, the Children’s Parliament, an organisation which helps kids speak up for their rights, found 100 children from 10 schools to take part in discussions. And 12 of them, including Margaret and Tyler, became “investigators”.
Their job? To find out what kids wanted and tell the Climate Assembly about it.
Dances, veggies, trees
Of course, the investigators couldn’t meet in person. But they talked together in weekly Zoom meetings, working hard but having fun too. (Check out the dance moves below!) And last month, their ideas went into the big report to the government.
Margaret was amazed that an idea she had has ended up being proposed. She suggested having a week every year where everyone would stop eating meat.
Hear how Margaret found the experience
Tyler is keen on another of the children’s ideas – for a national tree-planting day when everyone in the country would plant a tree.
“If we all did it every year, you’d have a forest!” he said. It’s important that people realise that each of us can make a difference, Tyler added.
Tyler talks about adults listening
“Hanging on every word”
So did they feel that the grownups were listening to them? And how did that feel?
The Scottish government minister who heard the ideas said a lot of people had thought it wasn’t a good idea to ask kids for solutions – but that in the end they had come up with great solutions that the government would try to put into action.
Here’s a WoW! selection of some of the Scottish children’s suggestions to stop climate change:
- More veggie meals in school dinners
- National veggie diet week - everyone gives up meat!
- Every Scot to plant one tree a year, on a special day
- Green, traffic-free play areas in cities
- Local sharing “libraries” for toys, clothes, tools… and books!
- Ban petrol and diesel cars
- S’Cool buses – pedalling to school, like in France (see this WoW! story!)
You might hear more from Tyler and Margaret and their friends in the autumn when world leaders will meet in Scotland to discuss climate change.
The meeting, called COP26, will be held in Glasgow in November. And the Children’s Parliament hopes the leaders will also listen to Scottish kids.
What do they want?
“Stop littering!” says Tyler. Plastic can hang around for 1,000 years, he says.