The UK Parliament has a great initiative for getting young people engaged with the UK democratic process, without promoting any single party. It's call UK Parliament Week.
I signed up my Scout Group last year and admittedly, wasn't very well prepared. This year however, I did my research and prepared a debate on the UN's 17 Sustainable Goals. Splitting into three groups, the Scouts had to pick which one of the 17 goals they were going to debate as being the best choice for the use of £1 million by the UK Government. They were allowed to choose anything, but would still need to have a decent debate and use alternative points if two groups chose the same goal.
The choices for debate? Two groups chose Climate Action and one group chose Peace and Justice. I find it incredible to see two groups of 10-14 year olds wanting to focus on climate action and how to save the planet. Their main argument?
If we don't do something to save the planet now, how can we do any of these other goals?
The main arguments presented for Climate Action:
- Reducing CO2 emissions will help slow sea level rise
- Cleaner air
- A planet to live on
- Electric cars emit less CO2 (although acknowledged that making electric cars isn't clean)
- No plastic
The main arguments presented for Peace and Justice:
- People are more inclined to violence (even in protests)
- There aren't enough police and those police that are here, aren't safe (attacks)
- More police and better powers for the courts
While the arguments and reasons for, or how to implement change, didn't necessarily carry fantastic factual backing, the Scouts were incredibly interested in presenting their points. The start of the evening wasn't necessarily the most excited, but once they got into getting ideas together and debating why their idea was better...well, the tables turned.
I'm incredibly grateful to the UK Parliament for providing these materials for youth organisations to get involved and get an understanding of the wider, more complicated world that we live in.
I will finish with a quote from the Scouts and some pictures from the evening.
If we can pick one thing to focus on and talk about it, why can't the politicians do something about it?