GUEST BLOG: Call out for young people to join the climate conversation

9 Sep, 2021
Guest blog: Call out for young people to join the climate conversation. Shaheim Minzie (17) from Lawrence Hill tells us why the future of our planet is important to him.

“Hi, my name is Shaheim. I’m 16 and I live in the Barton Hill/St George area. I just finished my GCSEs at City Academy and will be starting as a student at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College this September. 

I love this neighbourhood. I love this area. I think there are all kinds of people here; it’s very diverse. I love that there are parks everywhere, so there’s always something to do. Where I live everything is very well connected. Everything is within 5-10 minute walking distance, so it’s all very convenient and easy.

I think quite a lot of our cities are a source of poverty. I think kids growing up in this area believe that if the environment isn’t being taken care of, then why should their surroundings be taken care of. 

I’m kind of in a period of my life right now where everything’s changing. Getting a job means that I have more control and more responsibilities, and with that control and responsibility, I’m thinking about choices I can make to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. I think it’s things like avoiding fast fashion brands such as H&M when we’re in City Centre or eating less meat.

People in poverty already choose a lot of sustainable options because of how expensive services can be. For example, not taking public transport like buses because it’s expensive when going to work or getting their clothes secondhand from charity shops. However, I do believe that right now sustainability feels like a privilege, not one all of us can afford. This needs to be thought about if we see a future that is green and healthy for all.

In my perspective, climate change is as much about the people and poverty as it is about the environment. I think a lot about the children in Africa and Asia who are mining, about women who work in horrible conditions in factories, and I think about the indigenous people who are losing their sacred lands to deforestation.

I guess I’ve never really thought about what it will look like here. Whenever we hear about climate change, it always seems like this big global issue — which it is — but when you only ever hear about it from that angle it can make it hard to see how it’s affecting our own communities. But it can feel suddenly very close, near, unavoidable when you think about all the flooding that’s been going on recently in the UK and Europe.

I think it’s very important for young people to get involved in the conversation around climate change because we are going to be the ones affected the most. We’re going to be the ones facing the harsh reality.

I think a barrier that many young people have with getting into this conversation is that we don’t feel like our voices are worth being listened to, or we feel like we don’t know enough to be listened to.  I remember when I first started getting into climate change, there were all these big words being thrown around, and I felt as if I didn’t understand and therefore I couldn’t get involved.

But I would say to other young people that even if you don’t feel like you’re educated enough to get into the conversation, at least you’ll have your voice heard, and at least people will know more about your experience because — and I know this will sound kind of corny and cliché — your voice is worth being listened to.

So let’s start now. What do you think about climate change? What changes do you want to see in East Bristol, and how do you want to be a part of the conversation?

 Join us now, and let’s make change together.”

Shaheim Minzie, 17
Lawrence Hill

HAVE YOUR SAY

YOUNG PEOPLE OF BRISTOL YOUR OPINIONS MATTER, BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION!

If you are 14 to 24 years old living in East Bristol. We want to hear your views on how we as a community tackle climate change. Send us a short video clip describing their thoughts, feelings, and hopes for the future in East Bristol. We want to hear your ideas of things we can do together to make positive change. Your views will feed into a Community Climate Action plan to help build a fairer, greener environment for East Bristol.

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