Now in its ninth year, the B&NES Youth Climate Summit takes place on 6 February at King Edward’s School. Always a popular event, it’s the first time that a team of young people have organised the Summit, with a committee of pupils from King Edward’s, Kingswood and Norton Hill Schools arranging everything from contacting speakers to managing the schedule for the day and acting as facilitators.

Over 50 pupils from Year 9 upwards are expected to attend the Summit to discuss global environmental issues. The one-day event includes opportunities to hear from some inspirational key note speakers, attend practical workshops and taken part in creative sessions to share ideas and inspire young people to work towards a more sustainable future. Attendees will include pupils from KES, Kingswood, Norton Hill, Ralph Allen and St Laurence Schools.

The speakers at the Summit hold impressive eco credentials and include:

Piers Taylor – Founder, Invisible Studio Architects
Tom Bowles – Founder, Hartley Farm Shop
Kerry McCarthy MP – Member of Parliament for Bristol East and former Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Kerry is also a patron of FoodCycle
Simon Crowfoot – Board Director at Ecotricity (a renewable energy company) and MD of Electric Highway
Dr William Roberts – Senior Research Associate at the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol
Vicky Murray – Sustainability Manager, Pukka Herbs
Julian Jones – Co-ordinator, Friends of the Earth Bristol
Michael Pitts – Underwater photographer
Tim Gatfield – Founder, Cherry Wood Project
Nikki Jones – Freelance researcher & writer on Global Energy

The Summit is sponsored by local business, Hartley Farm Shop, who are providing the event’s refreshments, using local produce.

King Edward’s School has an active pupil body involved in environmental projects, led by the Environmental Action Group, who recently organised an Eco Week at school, where activities included a walk or cycle to school day, building a wildlife hotel in the Junior School grounds, and a weekend wildlife trip to Brownsea Island in Dorset.

Environmental awareness stretches all the way down to King Edward’s Pre-Prep and Nursery, where children and staff recently formed an Eco Committee to encourage environmentally sustainable habits for children at school and at home. Recent initiatives include taking part in ‘Switch-off Fortnight’ to conserve energy consumption and the Pre-Prep community is currently working towards meeting the criteria to obtain the Eco-School Bronze Award. In March the Junior School is planning a cross-curricular Waste Week.

Looking ahead to the Summit, Tom Wilson (Year 11), one of the KES pupils organising the event, said, “The Youth Climate Summit has always been a highlight of my year, whether that’s from attending it or helping to facilitate sessions. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really inspiring people and from that, have been inspired myself. The Summit offers a platform to people of my age to get our opinions heard on a huge variety of topics and gives us the opportunity to discuss it with both professionals and fellow students. The event has brought together many schools from across Bath and created connections between our communities which are essential if we want our generation’s voices to be heard in the Climate Change debate.”

Fellow organizer, Alex Ball, from Norton Hill School, added, “Organising the Summit has involved meeting up weekly and emailing politicians and speakers to invite them to speak or run a workshop at the event. Many hours have been put into refining each part of the event to make it as enjoyable and memorable as possible. The environmental issues covered stretch from sustainable energy, politics, and wildlife photography, to conservation and sustainable food. Farming and architecture are also included.”