The title of this entry is the response I received from a water engineer when I spoke on an expert panel at #Yorio on Thursday. This event was a youth pre-event where participants aged 12-21 engaged in discussions around how we can create sustainable water usage before putting these ideas to Caroline Spelman, the environment minister (part of the UK government delegation to Rio).
This response was further reiterated by some of the comments on this article about the same event. Young people are frequently being underestimated in our passion, our knowledge and our capabilities, and frankly it’s just not on anymore. I’m proud to be part of a worldwide movement that engages with politics at every level, but I, and other members, know that we can’t leave all that action up to politicians. One of the other comments on the same article put it well – politicians are thinking to the next election, young people are thinking for the rest of their lifetimes!
That’s why members of Girlguiding UK and of the WAGGGS run their own projects to make a difference to their own communities – in this case around environmental sustainability. In my speech on Thursday I talked about toilets at Hautbois (the Girlguiding activity centre in Norfolk) and how some are flushed by rain water, whilst others use grey water from showers and sinks to move the sewage from ensuites to the septic tank. We launched a ‘Going Green’ challenge for local groups to take their own environmental action and raise money for further sustainable projects.
Back in March 1st Greenisland Brownies took part in hedge planting and met with members of a local Green Gym. 1st Marford Guides recycled clothes from friends and neighbours selling them on to raise money for their next guiding adventure and benefitting a local charity. On Thursday we also had a skype call from Miriam – part of the Girl Guides of Kenya. She spoke passionately about how they run projects to teach girls, from the slum areas of Nairobi, how to harvest rain water as a source of clean drinking water. The system at the guiding centre provides water for drinking, bathing and watering a kitchen garden – feeding the girls too! Later this month a transatlantic project (funded by ALCOA) will start, whereby girls from the east of England will partner with girls in Atlanta to think about ways they can make their communities more environmentally sustainable.
You don’t need to be a politician to help create sustainable development in your community, but that doesn’t stop you engaging with politics either. I like to think that in Rio, Caroline Spelman will effectively represent the great ideas she heard from young people this week – and I will do my best to keep her to the promise of a meeting so that she receives youth input right through the conference! Because I am a guide, and I do talk about real issues.
Reposted from: http://www.soroco.org.uk/csw.aspx