What would the world look like if it was our young people who set the climate agenda?
Through our Co-Design Project at Renew Wales, we have been exploring how to have new conversations, with new people, in new ways. One thing we all agree on is that our young people must be part of this conversation, that there are young people across Wales (and beyond) doing amazing work to combat the climate crisis, and that the best outcomes are often seen when people from across generations work together – as equals.
Taking this as our starting point, we reflected on the ways in which young people engage with the climate agenda in Wales today. It struck us that on many occasions, when the generations come together, it is on the terms of the older ones. Young people may be invited to attend an event, provide a case study, or respond to a consultation – but there seems to be less opportunity for us older folks to participate in younger people’s events, on their terms, with them setting the agenda.
With that in mind, we set out to provide opportunities for young people celebrate their success, and lead the way – using our networks, time and resources to provide a platform and an audience, but with a completely open mind as to what the end product would be.
Fast forward 6 months, and from the fledging idea, we are now part of a team working alongside Wrexham Glyndwr University, Natural Resources Wales and GwE delivering TEDxGWE this autumn, an official TED event where inspiring young people from across North Wales will share their experiences, stories and demands for the future with an audience of politicians, educators and influencers from across the country, to coincide with COP26. Our role will be to provide the young people taking part with the guidance and support they want, to get their message across.
So does this achieve what we set out to … we certainly hope so, and time will tell! But already it’s taught us something important when it comes to reflecting on our future.
We have never worked with Wrexham Glyndwr University, Natural Resources Wales and GwE in this way before – we hadn’t thought to, and they hadn’t thought to reach out to us. Doing something just a little bit different has introduced us to new people, new ways to achieve an impact, and potential new opportunities and income streams to develop in the future – letting go of the process (the what) and concentrating exclusively on the purpose (the why) was a key enabler of that.
What other opportunities might be out there for us hiding in plain sight?
Mike Corcoran is an Associate Consultant with the Co-production Network for Wales. He is a member of the team supporting the Network’s collaboration with Renew Wales: the Co-Design Project.