Due to climate change, more extreme weather events including higher rainfall and higher summer temperatures are being predicted by many experts. With Greta Thunberg as an example, international Fridays for Future movements have been formed to advocate for fast actions to reduce emissions. In April this year, the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has declared “climate emergency”.

To discuss actions to tackle the climate emergency, the Scottish Government, together with Keep Scotland Beautiful, is running a nationwide consultation programme feeding the Public Engagement Strategy and the Climate Action Plan. To initiate “The Big Climate Conversation” a series of different workshops are scheduled. This also includes youth focused engagement events. One of them took place on 24 July in the Engine Shed in Stirling. The aim of this event was to discuss the current situation in Scotland, as well as to assess the climate targets set by the Government and prioritise future actions.


Using interactive tools and different methods, the young people discussed why people should care about climate change and for which reasons some people do not care about this topic. Additionally, the climate emergency has been addressed. Many youths associated this topic with threat, extinction but also actions.

Most of Scotland’s emissions are currently caused by transport, food, the business and industry sector as well as the energy sector. But Scotland has set itself targets to reduce climate-damaging emissions and become a net-zero nation by 2045. The young attendees further discussed the net-zero target and reflected whether and why this ambition might be too high or too low. Additionally, the attendees looked at ways to achieve these goals. Should the Scots eat a mostly vegetarian diet in the future? Should it be a common standard to only drive electrical cars? Or should all our food waste be used as an energy resource? These and other scenarios of society changes were discussed by the young participants. Finally, the young people prioritised climate actions, that were recommended by experts, but were also given the opportunity to introduce their very own ideas of actions for a resilient and climate friendly Scotland.

Read more about the Big Climate Conversation and find workshops in your area

Blog by Anna-Lena Vollheyde (Intern)