Climate Squad, a youth volunteering programme delivered by environmental charity Global Action Plan, was launched just over a year ago. Already it has more than 3,000 16-25-year-olds creatively working together to build a sustainable future. Heather Poore, Climate Squad’s youth volunteering co-ordinator, updates us on what is being achieved
At the heart of Climate Squad is a steering group of young people, who meet monthly and oversee the development of the programme. We aim to give 16 to 25 year olds the opportunity to create their own practical initiatives to drive change in their communities, and have had a fantastic year so far.
Kicking off with COPArt, volunteers created a visual petition and digital montage of artwork that expressed their passion for action to be taken on climate change. We then hosted COPArt Live in Shoreditch, London, where artists and volunteers came along and created artwork and sculptures with us. We also sent a volunteer along to interview Zac Goldsmith and collect his COPArt entry.
Climate Squad volunteers have had political involvement this year too, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). We sent a few lucky people along to a DECC Youth Advisory Panel conference where they challenged the former secretary of state for energy and climate change, Ed Miliband, to have a go on Global Action Plan’s eco-interactive energy bike. This is a bike that can be connected to various appliances, with energy monitoring equipment, so that people can really feel the difference in power needed to run household items, such as MP3 players or conventional and energy-saving light bulbs.
In addition to short creative opportunities, we also provide opportunities for more long-term project development. So far we have trained over 400 volunteers as community leaders who are now off running their own carbon-cutting projects in local business, schools or groups of houses across the country.
19-year-old Adam Yasir for example, was inspired by his Climate Squad training at the beginning of the year. Back at college, he got together with 8 other students to run The Green Hope Campaign, all with the support of Climate Squad. Adam’s campaign encouraged over 13,000 Croydon college students to become involved with making changes such as getting new recycling bins and creating IT policies so computers and monitors are only switched on when they are being used. Adam and the Green Hope Campaign also did research into people’s knowledge and attitudes towards carbon cutting to back up the need for the campaign.
In June, at the Barbican arts centre in London, we launched Greenprint to 2050, a project that will produce a report outlining our volunteers’ vision of a low carbon future. Over 300 people have taken part and in November we opened Global Action Plan’s doors and volunteers came down to London to pitch carbon-cutting project ideas to us that will help achieve the vision. We will soon select a winning idea, which we will then fund and run in 2011.
In the meantime, you can get involved now by joining Pump it Up!, our scheme where volunteers inflate drivers’ tyres to the recommended level. Over the months Pump It Up! has saved a massive 16 tonnes of CO2 from 9 events, 255 drivers and 174 volunteers! We run several of these events each week. Come along and join us and you will receive a United Nations endorsed Environment Action Certificate! Visit our website for dates of the next events. Here you will also find our Great Green Advent Calender, where each day we reveal an action to help you have a celebration that’s kinder to the environment and your purse strings.
Climate Squad is funded and inspired by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.