On November 9 2021, members of The Lancashire Wildlife Trust Youth Council, 17 year old Alex Kennedy and 14 year old Muhammed Amin were selected to take part in a panel event in the Green Zone at COP26 in Glasgow. The event ‘The North West Presents: Talking About My Generation’ was put together by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and took part at the Glasgow Science Centre with a live audience and streamed globally.
Alex along with fellow Lancashire Wildlife Trust Youth Council members Emma Greenwood (selected to take part through her role as Bury Youth MP) represented youth voice in a panel discussion with Metro Mayor of Liverpool, Steve Rotherham and Metro Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham. The panel was hosted by BBC News anchor Paul Masson.
Members of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust Youth Council with fellow panelists at COP26. Image by Rhiannon Newman – The Good Business Festival
Alex and Emma both only 17 years old, Youth MP’s, active politics college students and avid nature and climate campaigners held their own on the global stage. Emma Greenwood challenged the two Mayor’s to create a youth commission across the North West of England to consult young people on the future of carbon reduction and nature’s recovery and to hold leaders accountable. We are extremely proud of both young women for standing up and speaking up to those in positions of power to create a greener, wilder and fairer future. It was announced not two days after this challenge that both Mayors have accepted this challenge and will plan for a youth commission for the inclusion of youth voice in governance.
The host asked Alex why she studies politics rather than campaigning or joining Extinction Rebellion, and why she engages with official politics. In Alex’s own words:
“Activism and politics are essentially the same thing – activism is a branch of politics – you can’t have one without the other. Politics is a great way to influence policy makers. I do both, and as part of my work with Lancashire Wildlife Trust I take part in the conservation of wildlife and campaiging as it’s great for spreading awareness”.
Nature’s Young Voice
Muhammed was selected to read an original poem “Bygones” in between the two panels during the event. In his own words “This poem is about our experiences in nature. It is a celebration of everything we love that brings us joy and happiness. But there is also sadness in these lines. For example, the image of dew drops to me represents the world weeping for the loss of forests”
Muhammed travelled with Lancashire Wildlife Trust Staff and Alex up to Glasgow stated this is the furthest he had travelled without family. Muhammed said:
“It was an honour to represent the Lancashire Wildlife Trust Youth Council at COP26. Participating in this landmark event for me was a spectacular highlight of the year. The educational technology and the sheer brilliance of the innovation on display was both dazzling and inspirational. This event was a reminder of the importance of the work we do to preserve and protect the environment, and the understanding that the real struggle to win hearts and minds has only just begun.”