Trailblazing young people from the Midlands to set out their vision for a greener future this March

Date posted: February 7, 2022
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Taking place 11 March 2022 in Nottingham, the Midlands Engine Young People’s Green Growth Assembly will showcase the ambition, creativity and passion of young people in the Midlands to shape a greener, cleaner, more prosperous future that is rich in opportunities for the next generation – opportunities for people and nature to flourish alongside each other.

Led by 35 inspirational 15-19-year-old ‘Green Growth Champions’ who are passionate about paving the way to real change, the Assembly is an important milestone in the region’s journey to net zero.

Working with Midlands Engine, the Green Growth Champions have co-designed the event programme and will lead a series of interactive, thought-provoking sessions themed around green growth and sustainability, including:

  1. The importance of nature’s recovery
    Exploring what the loss of nature means in the Midlands and how it can be recovered
  2. Clean, Green Energy
    The importance of sustainable energy developments in the region
  3. Sustainable Manufacturing
    The impact of supply chains on the environment and society with a focus on the lifecycle of a product and overconsumption
  4. Green places: buildings, spaces, transport
    Redeveloping urban spaces with sustainability in mind

With an influential audience of Midlands Engine partners – including universities, government bodies, businesses, industry and environmental organisations – the Assembly provides a platform for young people to contribute to and influence the green growth ambitions of the Midlands.

It follows the publication of the industry-led Ten Point Plan for Green Growth in the Midlands Engine, which sets out actions to help safeguard the environment for future generations – and that have the potential to deliver a 36% reduction in CO2 emissions from current regional levels, while also creating 196,000 high-value, high-skill jobs to boost productivity and generate a further £24.2 billion GVA for the region’s economy, by 2041.

During the event, there will be several keynotes and creative showcases from youth arts organisations across the Midlands, including music and performance, inspired by the event’s themes of climate change and green growth.

The Green Growth Champions have also worked closely with Birmingham Poet Laureate Casey Bailey who has helped to foster a creative approach.

He has even felt inspired to create a poem based on the group’s priorities, which will be premiered at the YPGGA event on Friday 11 March in Nottingham.

Sir John Peace, Chairman, Midlands Engine, said:

“We want to drive change, create opportunities and accelerate green growth right across the Midlands. Never more than now has the spirit of collaboration which we enjoy across our region been more central to our future success. Working together, we can and will ensure our economic recovery and community prosperity – underpinned by sustainable growth and by working to safeguard our environment for today’s and future generations.

“Midlands Engine and our Green Growth Champions have been working hard to design an Assembly that will express the environmental concerns of young people across the Midlands and give them a chance to be right at the heart of future action planning. After all, the future is theirs – and it’s our young people who hold and will deliver many of the solutions we need to recover our planet and restore nature’s balance. Our Ten Point Plan sets out actions towards reaching net zero by 2041, and the younger generation will be vital in taking forward this transition to a sustainable economy and planet.”

Discussing his involvement, Casey Bailey, Birmingham Poet Laureate, said:

“It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to talk to these young people and learn more about their vision for the future. Having heard their ideas and thoughts, I can see that it’s vital that we listen to the next generation, and that’s exactly what this assembly is all about. I’ve been so inspired by the team that I’ve begun writing a new piece of work that incorporates their ideas, and I can’t wait to showcase the rap at the event in March.”

When asked what she looks forward to discussing at the event, Green Growth Champion Hannah Vernalls (age 16 from Nottingham) said:

“A vital part of rejuvenating nature is through sustainable energy and using renewable energy sources. We thought it would be a great idea to share our passions and thoughts on sustainable energy at the assembly to make real change by talking to our region’s leaders.”

Asked why she wanted to take part, Green Growth Champion Safiyah Smitham (age 16 from Nottingham) said:

“One of the areas we are most passionate about is sustainable manufacturing and highlighting how different industries are affecting our environment. We should be thinking about the impact we each have on the environment and the future of the planet.”

For the latest from our region, subscribe to Midlands Matters, the official newsletter of the Midlands Engine.

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