School children deliver powerful message to the county’s leaders at The Cumbria Climate Action Youth Summit

School children deliver powerful message to the county’s leaders at The Cumbria Climate Action Youth Summit

May 7, 2019

Around 30 primary, secondary schools and home educator groups rallied to the opportunity to share their ideas and actions regarding Climate Change in Carlisle in late April. And CDEC's Global Education Officer Debbie Watson was there too.

Wow – a powerful afternoon! All thanks to Graham Frost at Robert Ferguson School who hosted this at University of Cumbria Learning Gateway. 

Our young people have deep concerns for the future of their planet

Students showed impressive knowledge and passion and clearly described the range of concerns that young people have for their future and for the future of our planet. These ranged from global warming, renewable energy and single-use plastic, to biodiversity and extinction.

They were able to question Colin Glover, Leader of Carlisle City Council, and Celia Tibble, Cumbria County Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, about what plans they had for addressing Climate Change in Cumbria – and they were not deterred or willing to accept half answers – they know that this is the most urgent environmental, economic, social and cultural issue that needs to be dealt with urgently.

Students inspired to set up the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) Cumbria

Hazel Graham from Cumbria Action for Sustainability was an inspirational speaker and is supporting and publicising ongoing action for youth – for instance,  the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) Cumbria set up by two Cockermouth School students.

Isabella and Clare are encouraging any other young people who’d like to take part to get in touch with them via Instagram (@ukscn_cumbria) or email them at

Vital support is needed from teachers

The teachers who supported their pupils were just as committed and would, I hope, recognise their roles as ‘agents of change’ in education and the following description:

‘The Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, insists on a liberating rather than domesticating model of education – he argues for dialogue rather than monologue – and believes in the creative, collective pursuit of knowledge rather than the simplistic transfer of knowledge from an all-knowing teacher (which he condemns as a ‘banking model’). Freire’s process of ‘conscientization’ focuses on building people’s critical awareness of the world they are living in, as a catalyst for action – and there is a clear need for building this in relation to the ecological and climate crisis – with children and young people being in the forefront of their own learning process.’ 

David Archer, ActionAid International, February 2019

A Climate Change Emergency in Carlisle

Carlisle has declared a Climate Change Emergency and it will be interesting to see how this works through into action with their commitment to make the Council’s activities net-zero carbon by 2030. (South Lakeland District Council has also declared a Climate Emergency.)

CDEC’s role is to support teachers to support their pupils

CDEC will be helping teachers to see how vital global issues such as climate change (SDG13 Climate Action) and development of young leaders for the future can be included in the curriculum and school ethos through the twilight training on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Global Teachers Award is also a great opportunity for building teachers’ confidence and knowledge. This is free training and is running in Ambleside for EYFS/KS1 on 21st May and on June 4th for KS2.




School children deliver powerful message to the county’s leaders at The Cumbria Climate Action Youth Summit