Climate Change Question Time
Martin Davidson joined Foreign Secretary William Hague, DECC secretary Chris Huhne and South Africa’s Ambassador at Large for Climate Change Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko on a panel at the FCO last week to answer questions about climate change from young people, among them BC Climate Champions and Chevening Scholars.
Staged before a live audience and broadcast to 120 locations worldwide, this ‘Question Time’ event was an opportunity for the speakers to underscore their organisations’ commitment to tackling climate change while engaging with youth ahead of the COP 17 UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa.
Martin made an eloquent case for the role of cultural relations and education in addressing what William Hague called “perhaps the 21st century’s greatest foreign policy challenge.”
“I think the critical issue is building consensus, building a much greater shared sense of the scale and size of the problem,” said Martin. “Getting individuals involved seems to me to be critically important – it can’t just be politicians talking to politicians.”
Climate change education and next generation leadership are two ways in which the BC is supporting these outcomes, Martin said, pointing to our Climate Champions programme which inspires young people to devise grassroots solutions to climate change and endows them with the leadership skills to engage with communities and leaders locally, nationally and internationally.
Martin also explained that programmes such as Climate4Classroooms and Connecting Classrooms foster shared understanding of sustainability between students in Britain and abroad which promotes a better global dialogue around climate change. “We don’t want to say there’s only one perspective and you must share ours,” Martin explained, “but rather give a sense that there is a significant set of global problems that will only be solved through global action.”
Martin further noted that “the climate change debate offers new opportunities” and explained that the BC is helping young people participate in the rapidly growing green economy, citing two examples from E-idea, our seven-country programme with LRQA to fund and mentor eco-entrepreneurs whose projects address major sustainability issues.
He added that the green sector creates opportunities for Britain’s universities, which offer 900 undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to climate change that attract students from around the world.
In closing, our Chief Executive vowed that he would, “make sure that the climate agenda remains at the heart of what my organisation does in terms of engaging with young people around the world.”
That is an inspiring message to bring to COP 17 as the BC-supported Climate Train travels towards Durban where our Climate Champions will host numerous events, teach classes in local schools, and connect with global networks via the Zero Carbon Centre.
You can view a video of the event here.