Nearly 3,000 young people from across Gloucestershire have sent a clear message that they want more joined-up action on climate change. Responding to a Climate Action Survey run by InterClimate Network in collaboration with Gloucestershire Youth Climate Group, Creative Sustainability, Planet Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, and supported by Gloucestershire County Council, 8 out of 10 young people said they are concerned about climate change. The good news is that 3 in 4 are already choosing to act on climate change.  

There is overwhelming support (86%) for clear meaningful climate action by local councils. Young people, from 11 to 25 years, want changes to transform everything from policies and infrastructure to decisions that affect our future choices. Notably, respondents said that responsibility for action needs to be shared fairly across society, and that they want their views on climate change to be better represented at all levels.  

This research is a substantial resource for the future of climate change and engagement with young people in Gloucestershire and a direct way for their concerns and priorities to inform the County Council’s strategic response to the climate emergency. Representatives from Gloucestershire’s Youth Climate Group (GYCG)* have already presented youth feedback to the Environment Scrutiny Committee Meeting. The next meeting of the Cabinet, 25 January 2023, will set out a five-year action plan on the Gloucestershire Climate Change Strategy.  

Gloucestershire’s Youth Climate Group presenting to the Environment Scrutiny Committee Meeting

“It was really informative to have the survey results from 3,000 young people in the county and to learn more about what young people think and how they are feeling. We’ve taken that information into our work at Gloucestershire Youth Climate Group.” 

Merry from GYCG who presented to GCC

Cllr David Gray, cabinet member for environment and planning and the cabinet lead for climate change, said: 

“We are committed to the task of fighting climate change and creating a Greener Gloucestershire. Young people are key to getting these messages out and as individuals have the power to effect change.

“There are more than 100,000 young people of school age in Gloucestershire and almost 150,000 aged 16 to 25. If we can help young people to mobilise and influence what the county council and individuals can do, together we can achieve our ambitions.”

Planet Cheltenham Youth Climate Group

Planet Cheltenham Youth Climate Group will be meeting Cheltenham Borough Council  in the new year to present the findings for the survey. Raechel Kelly who leads the group said:

“The survey clearly demonstrates that Gloucestershire’s young people care deeply about both people and planet, wanting action that addresses the emergency but in a way that is fair, which is the very definition of climate justice. It also shows that representation is key, young people need to be included in decision making at all levels. It is tempting to say that this is because they will be facing the climate crisis in the future, but the reality is that humanity is already facing the realities of a warming planet right now. Rather than relying on the next generation to ‘fix’ things, people in positions of power must do all they can now to protect people, with the solutions that we know can also reduce people’s bills and help communities to come together to tackle the climate and cost of living crises.” 

Notes to Editors

The County Council funds external independent support of Gloucestershire’s Youth Climate Group (GYCG), currently provided by Creative Sustainability, offering opportunities and events for the young people aged 16-25 to build skills, develop teamwork and offer feedback on Gloucestershire County Council’s climate actions. 

Gloucestershire County Council’s vision for Gloucestershire: 

  • By 2045 a carbon neutral county that provides quality of life now and for future generations, having improved the quality of our natural environment. 
  • By 2030 to have reduced our carbon emissions by 80% on 2005. 
  • The Greener Gloucestershire – climate dashboard tracks our progress on our climate change action plan.

Climate Action Survey: The survey and report were delivered by InterClimate Network as part of their Climate Catalysts programme, which is engaging with young people across the UK on climate action. Gloucestershire data will be included in our national report – coming in the New Year. ICN are planning to work with schools locally, to support students to use the survey insights to aid their own climate action campaigns. 

Supporting organisations 

InterClimate Network is a charity who work collaboratively to deliver climate sustainability programmes to engage young people (primarily age 11-18) across the UK with the complexities of climate change, inspire their climate action, and promote their voices in their own sustainable future. 

Gloucestershire Youth Climate Group (GYCG) are 15- to 25-year-olds who come together to take action on climate change issues. They undertake projects to make a positive impact for a low carbon and resilient Gloucestershire that reduces inequities and centres the needs of people and the environment. 

Creative Sustainability is based on the values of inclusion, empowerment and sustainability. Our focus is on ensuring the youth voice is at the heart of conversation around climate change in Gloucestershire.  

Gloucestershire County Council is working with residents across the county to reduce carbon emissions. The council funds the Gloucestershire Climate Youth Group to ensure that young people in the county have a chance to be involved with the work of the local authority in reaching net zero. 

Planet Cheltenham is a community climate solutions hub. Our aim is to connect residents to community initiatives that help tackle climate change, fight social inequality and build a sustainable, resilient future for our town. We run several projects that connect citizens on climate, including the Youth Climate Group, Little Planet Cheltenham baby and toddler group, sustainability professional meet ups and energy workshops. 

Youth Advisory Group (YAG) – Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust was set up in recognition that the future of nature and our connection with it will in part be decided on by young people, and GWT wants to be pivotal in making this happen by giving young people a voice. They will work closely and be supported by the Board of Trustees and key GWT staff.