Let’s talk about Climate Change

A new climate summit will be run by young people in Essex next year. The summit will be held in Chelmsford and is backed by Chelmsford City Council. It’s the next stage of ‘A Manifesto For Essex, set up to give children and young people a platform to share ideas on protecting the environment and preventing the worst impacts of global heating.

The youth-led project is being created by the Essex Book Festival and content already gathered for the manifesto from across the county has been turned into a zine by artist Lu Williams. Her finished work shows the young contributors’ deep concerns for the future of our planet, suggests calls to action and reveals messages of hope.

The Leader of Chelmsford City Council, Cllr Stephen Robinson, says councils must listen and act now:

A Manifesto For Essex is a really challenging document. It sets out a vision for a greener, cleaner Essex and asks us all – individuals, companies and councils – to do our bit.

Chelmsford City Council will be acting on these messages and I hope other councils in Essex will do too. They should read the manifesto and take up the challenges in the document, with positive actions that make a real difference. Local authorities are working closely to tackle coronavirus, but climate change remains the single greatest threat to our way of life. We need to face that head on as we work to deliver a greener, fairer and better-connected Chelmsford.

In July 2019, Cllr Rose Moore, the Cabinet Member for Greener and Safer Chelmsford proposed a motion to declare a climate and ecological emergency, which was unanimously voted in by Chelmsford City Council.

Cllr Moore says a summit is a great way to continue the city’s conversations about climate change:

The manifesto’s stunning and it has an immediate impact. When I opened it, I have to say, I teared up. I opened it on a page with a particularly strong and poignant message and it just made me feel ashamed because the younger generation speak the truth and say it like it is. These young voices will carry us forward and put us into action and I can’t wait to hear more from the next generation at this exciting event in 2021.

Essex Book Festival Director, Ros Green, says the manifesto is a powerful document:

When we launched A Manifesto For Essex project in March as part of Essex 2020, we had no idea how quickly it would take root across the county from Colchester to Southend, Chelmsford to Standford-Le-Hope. And more than that, how passionately our young people feel about climate change and protecting the environment. Thanks to artist Lu Williams and the projects young collaborators we now have an inspirational tool at our fingertips to champion change for everyone. However, it is more than a ‘beautiful object’: it is call to action. We’ve done the words bit: it’s now time for the deeds.

For more information on A Manifesto For Essex and next year’s climate summit go to https://essexbookfestival.org.uk/manifesto-for-essex. A digital copy of the manifesto can be found here.