As COP26 takes place in Glasgow, pupils in Renfrewshire are being challenged to create climate change projects that will make a real difference to the health of their environment.
With the conference aiming to make major changes globally, young people are being encouraged to use the meeting of world leaders as inspiration – with a future generation of activists ready to lead the way in Renfrewshire.
A total of £70,000 is available for young people in schools to apply for and eco-groups within each school will be encouraged to come up with sustainable environmental projects, such as wildflower areas, growing grounds or allotments, or anything they identify that will improve their local environment.
Renfrewshire Council has agreed to allocate the funding to young people from its Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas, and Villages Investment Fund – a fund that has already supported more than 60 community-led projects with more than £1.7million to make improvements to green spaces throughout Renfrewshire.
Council officers will work directly with schools to consider and support potential projects from young people to ensure they align with the climate change outcomes of COP26 and the priorities of the fund.
The funding builds on ongoing work in schools carried out by the Council through the award-winning Team Up to Clean Up campaign to highlight the effect climate change can have on the environment, nature and our wildlife.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The meeting of world leaders in neighbouring Glasgow is a major milestone for tackling climate change globally and here in Renfrewshire, we want to inspire the next generation to recognise the importance of this event for their future.
“I hope this funding inspires them to think outside the box, come up with innovative ways to improve our local environment in Renfrewshire, but most importantly sparks an interest in a subject that will be part of their entire lives.
“We have declared a climate emergency in Renfrewshire and have allocated an initial £1million in funding for projects which will make a difference, as well as including it as a consideration in every decision made by this Council.
“We will continue to do all we can to reduce our emissions and strive for net-zero and we know that our younger generation will play a huge part in that as they get older, so I hope that they take up this opportunity and start their involvement now.”
In 2019, Renfrewshire Council declared a climate emergency in Renfrewshire and a working group was set up with members of all political parties to make recommendations on how to make Renfrewshire carbon neutral by 2030, which has now been formalised as the Climate Change Sub-Committee.
The Climate Change Action Fund has been created to support innovative projects and initiatives being developed by Council services in response to the climate emergency, with an initial £1million committed to a range of research, feasibility and immediate projects.
For more information on the Council’s work to tackle climate change in Renfrewshire, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/climatechange.