Abi Boggs and Rayan El-Mnefi were selected to represent Yorkshire and attend the influential global conference by the UK Schools Sustainability Network (UKSSN), after they learned about the opportunity through school and are now keen to carry on their involvement with the UKSSN, and relay what they learned to the GSAL student body and wider community.
During her four days in Glasgow, Abi worked with a small group of UK students, networking with other COP26 participants. While in the conference Green Zone, she also spoke to Alok Sharma MP, President of COP26.
Meanwhile, Rayan was busy with Zoom meetings, as part of a team of students attending the conference virtually. Rayan also led the UKSSN’s social media team to engage as many people as possible in their work.
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Now back at school, they are encouraging students to take day to day steps which collectively can help address climate change.
She said: "We spoke to people about climate anxiety and how that affects young people. We also encouraged people to write to their MPs and world leaders.
“It was amazing to speak to so many passionate people, which shows we’re not just reliant on governments. There are initiatives outside of that which are really taking off. All the students are talking to each other on social media, trying to organise how we can work between schools.
"That was the wider message I took away from the conference: the importance of connections and community. We all need to work together as the climate crisis is a planetary issue – it needs systemic change.”
The UKSSN took more than 20 teenagers from 12 UK regions, all from different schools, to Glasgow for COP26 which took place at the beginning of the month.
A further 35 UKSSN students from Years 10-13 were tasked with spreading the word about COP in their schools and regions, and involved remotely in online events and communications.
Before the conference students had been taking part in sessions on energy storage, climate anxiety, sustainable finance and valuing green space with PPL PWR, UCell, Climate Psychology Alliance and FareShare.