A United Nations climate change advisor and an ethical fashion campaigner will be among the speakers at the Pembrokeshire Youth Sustainability Summit due to take place in April.
The event aims to create discussion and awareness among young people about issues surrounding sustainability and climate change.
A principal objective is to look to break through the fake news that many young people are bombarded with on these issues through social media platforms such as Instagram, TickTock, YouTube, and Facebook.
It is being led by the Pembrokeshire Youth Assembly which has members from schools throughout the county and is part of a UK-wide network that discusses issues and provides input into UK government and other organisations.
It is being supported by Bluestone National Park Resort, one of the area’s largest employers that places sustainability and the environment at the heart of its business ethos, as well as Pembrokeshire County Council.
The summit was postponed last year due to Covid, explained Nia Bendle, Pembrokeshire’s UK Youth Parliament’s representative and a member of the Youth Assembly.
“As a young person I’m very interested in issues around climate change and sustainability. I think most young people are, and yet our voices and views aren’t necessarily taken on board or listened to,” said Nia.
“Hour by hour on social media we’re also seeing posts with claims that are unsubstantiated and yet many young and older people believe them. We aim to see through this at the summit by presenting and debating facts around these issues, with leading experts.
“It’ll be a chance for those attending to better understand these issues before going back to their homes, schools and communities to discuss it further and help influence the wider community and even politicians and businesses.”
Professor Verity Jones of ethical fashion campaign group Fashion Revolution, and Steve Hall, a UN advisor on climate, will be speaking at the summit. Both have roots in Wales with Verity having been a deputy headteacher in Pembrokeshire and Steve from Ogmore.
Local ethical businesses, Puffin Produce and Hiut Denim will also be undertaking workshops, along with Keep Wales Tidy.
Puffin Produce is producing carbon neutral potatoes, while Hiut Denim is known internationally for its ethically produced jeans.
“Young people are our future and it’s important that they have a chance to lead on, understand and discuss matters that will affect them such as climate change,” said Marten Lewis, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Bluestone.
“As a company that’s very much part of our community, we’re very conscious of our impact environmentally, economically and socially.
“We place these as a priority within our business operations and overall ethos. We work very hard to be an environmentally responsible business with minimum impact on the climate and maximising our support for local supply chains and community support.
“Fake news, facts and other factors have impeded not just young people’s outlook on these issues, but adults as well. The more people that are engaged with clear facts and knowledge the better to see through the noise.”
“This makes an event like this even more important for us and so we’re very pleased to be working with the Pembrokeshire Youth Assembly on the event,” he added.
The Pembrokeshire Youth Sustainability Summit will take place on April 8.
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