This week, students from secondary schools across the borough took part in a model COP28 submit as Solihull Council hosted its annual Solihull Schools Climate Conference.
Hosted in partnership with InterClimate Network (ICN), the Solihull Schools Climate Conference empowers young people to explore and engage with climate change on both a local and global scale, supplemented by the COP28 discussions currently taking place in Dubai. The event is an exciting opportunity to recognise and showcase schools’ current climate actions and goals for the future.
After a welcome speech from the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Diana Holl-Allen MBE, the students split into teams each representing a different UN country. The students then debated the progress so far towards carbon reduction targets from the 2015 Paris Agreement and tried to unanimously decide on solutions to the biggest climate change and sustainability concerns.
Pupils also gave presentations about the environment-friendly initiatives they have been implementing at school. Alderbrook School was awarded a Level 1 Greener School Award by Prime Accountants following on from the Greener School Awards ceremony which took place in November.
The group then took part in a Q&A session with the Leader of Solihull Council, Councillor Ian Courts, where he answered questions on the Council’s plans to decarbonise transport, actions against littering and how the Council collaborates across the region to combat climate change.
Councillor Diana Holl-Allen MBE, Mayor of Solihull, said:
“I was honoured to be able to welcome these bright young people to our annual Solihull Schools Climate Conference. It is heartening to see so much passion and enthusiasm from Solihull’s students about such an important topic. We continue to make a serious commitment to climate education and action across the borough - I am inspired by these students’ dedication to sustainable problem-solving and preserving our planet for the future.”
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said:
“I would like to thank the students for their fantastic contributions to our model COP28 conference and the teachers, ICN staff and Council staff that work so hard to make events like these possible.
“It is wonderful to see young people from Solihull taking such an active interest in COP28. Their insight into how to take better care of the world around us reminds us all that we need to constantly strive to do better. Collaboration is the key to taking swift and significant action to reduce the impact of climate change and I hope these students now have a better understanding of what it means to work together to tackle environmental issues.
“Climate action and sustainability continues to be a top priority for Solihull Council as we work towards our net-zero carbon emission targets. We are on track with our ambitious plans to plant 250,000 trees across the borough over ten years and recently have made recycling easier as residents no longer need to separate glass from their other recycling. I hope our conference has inspired these young people to start their own innovative projects to mitigate climate change and establish Solihull as a leader in sustainability.”
For more information about the Council’s climate change and sustainability campaign, and to find out how to get involved, visit the Your Future Solihull webpages.