On Thursday 17 November, students from ten of the borough’s secondary schools participated in a model COP27 summit in the Council Chamber, as Solihull Council hosted its annual Solihull Schools Climate Conference.
In partnership with InterClimate Network (ICN), the Solihull Schools Climate Conference allows students to discuss the impact of climate change and assess international progress in dealing with the climate crisis, while developing their public speaking and critical thinking.
After being welcomed by the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Ken Meeson, students split off into teams, each representing a country from the United Nations. The pupils then put forward their country’s views on climate change and proposed resolutions for effective climate action.
During the conference, some schools were presented with awards, including the Modeshift Travel Plan accreditation and Love Solihull award, in recognition of their commitment to environmental sustainability.
Later, students took part in a Q&A with the Leader of Solihull Council, Councillor Ian Courts, asking questions on a range of environmental issues, from energy and conservation to electric vehicles and the benefits of active travel.
Councillor Ken Meeson, The Mayor of Solihull, said:
“It was a pleasure to, once again, take part in the Solihull Schools Climate Conference and to see so many knowledgeable and enthusiastic students in attendance, committed to tackling climate change.
“It is significant that we host this event in the Council Chamber, where important decisions are made. Climate change is an issue we have debated greatly in recent years, and we have ambitious plans to continue reducing emissions, planting trees, enhancing biodiversity, and lowering our carbon footprint in Solihull.
“Climate change is widely acknowledged as the greatest challenge faced by humanity, but none more so than for younger generations, who will have to live with its damaging effects.
“Youth are the key to the future of our planet, so it is vital we encourage them to participate in debates on climate change and give them a taste of the decision-making process.
“I hope those students in attendance enjoyed the experience and will apply what they have learned going forward, to become agents of climate action.”
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said:
“I would like to thank the students for their participation and enthusiasm on Thursday, as well as the ICN, school staff and council staff for organising this event year after year.
“Students leave these events feeling inspired to carry out meaningful climate action and with a broader understanding of the complexities of the climate emergency. Climate change is far more than carbon emissions in our towns and cities. Soil and water contamination, noise and light pollution, the destruction of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity are just some of the other devastating environmental issues that need solving.
“Undertaking the role of different nations in the conference, the students appreciate that different countries have unique contexts and issues to overcome, and that an empathetic consideration of these is needed if the world is to move forwards with climate action together.
“I was so proud of our students and wish world leaders could have been present in the Council Chamber, to listen to their great ideas and to learn from their admirable passion for preserving our planet.”
To learn more about what the Council is doing to combat climate change and create a more sustainable borough, listen to our ‘Courts on Climate Change’ podcast, available on the Council website, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube. Also, sign up to our Climate change and sustainability newsletter and take a look at the Your Future Solihull webpages.