Young Scots debate environmental issues in Parliament's committees


School pupils will discuss emergency responses to flooding as part of an event to be held at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

More than 100 high school pupils from around Scotland will take the place of Committee members and witnesses to debate the environment at the event entitled, ‘Our Environment, Our Future.’

The young people from all eight Parliamentary regions will take part in workshops based on Committee sessions, and involving MSPs, to discuss issues ranging from climate change and flooding to sustainable development and renewable energy.

Committees taking part are Economy, Energy and Tourism; Public Petitions; Rural Affairs and Environment; and Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change. A report comprising contributions from those taking part will be compiled at the end of the day.

The young people will also get the chance to hear from organisations such as WWF, the John Muir Trust, the Ecology Centre, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and from Ruth Dawkins, Campaign Co-ordinator for Stop Climate Chaos Scotland.

Deputy Presiding Officer and Convener of the Committee Liaison Group, Trish Godman MSP, who is chairing the event said:

“This is an opportunity for young people across Scotland to voice their views on topics such as climate change, carbon foot printing, renewable energy, recycling, and transport; and crucially they will engage with our Committees to learn how to use that voice to influence policy.”

Background information

Committee sessions in the afternoon will focus on the following: the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee will look at Scotland’s energy future; the Public Petitions Committee will run a mock Committee meeting showing the process for dealing with a petition; Rural Affairs and Environment Committee will act as an emergency planning committee called together to deal with flooding situations; while the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee will look at how Scotland can make a positive impact in reducing emissions.

Morning sessions will look at the following: WWF will focus on the issue of global footprints; the John Muir Trust will look at the challenge of tackling climate change with renewable energy, while still protecting wild places to enjoy; the Scottish Wildlife Trust will ask pupils to map green spaces local to them; the Ecology Centre will look into what makes a sustainable community; and Ruth Dawkins will talk about her experiences within Arctic communities and the impact of climate change.

The following schools are taking part: St Maurice's High School, Cumbernauld; Uddingston Grammar, Uddingston; Knightswood Secondary, Glasgow; Kelvinside Academy, Glasgow; Wick High School, Caithness; Elgin Academy, Moray; West Calder High School, West Lothian; Leith Academy, Edinburgh; Kinross High School, Kinross; Dunblane High School, Stirling; Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen; Inverurie Academy, Aberdeenshire; Girvan Academy, South Ayrshire; Lanark Grammar School, Lanark; Notre Dame High School, Greenock; Gryffe High School, Renfrewshire.

The Eco-schools giving presentations are: Portobello High School, Edinburgh; Inverkeithing High School, Inverkeithing; Peebles High School, Peebles. Schools preparing displays are: Currie Community High School, Edinburgh; Balfron High School, Stirling; Old Machar Academy, Aberdeen.

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