First Bright Green Future training event held in Birmingham

6 February 2017

Teenagers from across the country travelled to Birmingham last weekend to participate in a training event as part of the Bright Green Future programme. Bright Green Future is a five-year environmental leadership programme for young people and is part of Our Bright Future, a nation-wide Big Lottery Fund project. This is the first time that the BGF participants have been able to meet each other in person and exchange ideas and opinions.

The training event was led by Hugh Ellis, Head of Policy at the Town and Country Planning Association as well as CSE’s James Watt and Dan Stone. It aimed to give the participants an overview of how they can influence and change planning decisions.

The first part of the day focused on how the planning process can meet the challenge of climate change and how future planning choices will need to adapt in the face of a changed environment. The second section put this knowledge into action with the game “Plan or Die” where participants created a flood defence plan using real planning resources and maps.

CSE's Dan Stone said: "As a town planner, you get used to interacting almost exclusively with older people and the interests and concerns of young people are not really reflected in most planning decisions. So it was really encouraging to see such interest from our young participants in getting involved in influencing planning decisions, and about the important role planning can play in tackling climate change."

Although the Bright Green Future programme is focused on sustainability and climate change, participants all have different areas of interest and will each design and organise their own local project. Therefore, the training was designed to be relevant to a broad range of interests and different environmental issues. However, it was clear that all the participants are keen to make a difference to the world in which they live.

Ruby, one of the participants, explained her reasons for getting involved in BGF: “I knew that there are problems with climate change but I wanted to know how I might be affected by it and specifically how I might be able to change it… a lot of us don’t really think that we have the power to influence decisions but really we probably do if we just know how to use our words and time in the right way.”

The programme will continue with a series of webinars focusing on understanding and influencing environmental policy and the participants will get the chance to meet up again at the Bright Green Future Summer School, which will take place in August.

For more information about the programme please see the Bright Green Future website.

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