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Pitch

To establish an environmentally focused community hub in a post-conflict society.


Description

Summary

We aim to set up a sustainable social place in our city, which encourages young people to take an active participatory role in major decisions regarding Climate Change, Energy Security and Sustainability. Within this space we can facilitate discussion and debate, whilst promoting an evidence-based, informative approach to environmental issues. Through this, we feel this will ensure that the voice of the child will be heard (in accordance with the Convention on the rights of the Child) and young people will have an opportunity to finally engage with creating a more secure, prosperous green future for themselves and generations to come.

As we believe the young people will be the builders who will shape the path to a greener future, we feel that currently, there is not enough engagement on a Grassroots level, to the everyday person who will be affected by major decisions regarding the environment. The Social space will provide information on local green job opportunities, progression routes for young people and empower them with the tools to be able to not only create the future, but hold governments and corporations who damage the Environment accountable.

We intend to do this by taking steps to:

- Protect the Natural Environment and inspire a generation of “Green Thinkers”, linking issues such as Human Rights and Climate Change.

- To address the issue of Energy security and its impact on social justice and human rights.

- To facilitate young people, allowing them to discuss, debate and create solutions to issues that are affecting the environment in their local communities and worldwide. Many of these issues are overlooked in a post-conflict zone, however we must ensure that the Environment remains a high priority among young people.

- Providing a space that will promote active engagement within the Green industry.

- Ensure that we leave a better, greener legacy, laying the foundations for the next generation to shape and create a Sustainable Future.


Category of action

Youth Leadership on Climate Change


What actions do you propose?

1 – Acquire a suitable location to establish a Social Space, which will encompass an environmentally friendly vegetarian café, which is 100% devoted to changing attitudes and perceptions among our peers and younger generations. The space will be all inclusive and stimulate discussion while sharing and cooperation ideas and mechanisms to achieve Intergenerational Equality.

2 – Implementation of a Bill Of Rights for Northern Ireland, which the youth will have an active participatory role in the drafting of this bill. Within this bill, we will address Environmental Issues such as Climate Change, Energy Security and Natural Resources, from a Human Rights Lens.

3 – Facilitate, engage in discussion and debate with young people at a grassroots level. We aim to provide the opportunity for young people to pursue environmental and social justice through active participation, effective campaigning and actions.

4- Offer programmes for Young Parents on how to live a green lifestyle, both promoting well-being through healthy eating, and financially, whether it is through making energy efficient decisions with their cars, homes etc. or undertaking training or a vocational role to gain employment in the Green Sector. This environmentally conscious mind-set would be extremely beneficial in educating the next generation of young people to take action against climate change.  What’s good for the environment must be good for the economy.

5 – Creating a green “think tank” to enable young people to get involved from a bottom-up approach, and in turn, become a significant part of any future Environmental decisions.

6 - Reduce congestion in the city. This may be done through achieving adequate cycle facilities in the city and also rather than the price of public transport gradually creeping up, (which also affects people economically). We would ask the Government Funded travel company that have a monopoly over the city buses would be a little more reasonable with their pricing.

7 – With the devastating impacts of War on human life and the Environment, we plan on educating young people on Conflict Resolution, How Conflicts can be related to Environmental Issues, and giving them the opportunity to discuss and debate a solution. The Social hub would actively promote a Pro-Peace ethos among the community, teaching Human rights as an effective tool for Social and Economic change.

8 – Promoting Environmental awareness, solutions, networking and local Events through a consistent online presence via Facebook, Twitter and a Website for the Space. We will be running an online news blog (via our website) which will provide young people with a platform to publish Articles, Journals, Photo Albums or Blogs related to the Environment as a tool for advocacy.

9 – Small Scale, Big Impact Recycling Scheme; We take inspiration from great efforts to improve recycling schemes through small changes, but having great long term impact. To incentivise recycling in the area, we encourage that people who use the Café facilities, recycle their Bottles and Cans, and they will receive a small discount their next drink/meal.


Who will take these actions?

The people who will carry out the actions will be a team of fellow environmentally minded people in Northern Ireland and us. We will run our social up as a social enterprise and ran as a cooperative, as we believe, equal pay for equal work. The staff would incorporate youth workers, trained baristas and environmentally conscious cooking staff. We would encourage like-minded young people and students to approach us for a variety of employment options that could be available.

We would encourage young people to engage with environmental issues on all levels, organising their own events and discussions, campaigning and lobbying with their local, national and European representatives. By using international mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review, the EU Courts, young people could aim for promoting the strengthening and introduction of better environmental protections, although how they choose to tackle climate change with the resources available will ultimately be their decision.

General public would be able to use the space as a place to visit for hot/cold drinks, healthy milkshakes/juices and affordable, nutritious food. By giving the social space their custom, they will be contributing to a greener future.


What are other key benefits?

  • Addressing Social Issues within Northern Ireland, Cross-Community in Particular. We believe that important issues in regards to the environment are not addressed by elected representatives, who claim their “Hands are bound” as we have a devolved government from the UK.
  • Having a Vegetarian Café will ensure a lower overall carbon impact. It has been well documented the meat industry is a massive contributor to global carbon emissions.
  • Addressing the issue of childhood poverty in an indirect way. We aim to educate parents on environmentally and financially efficient ways of managing their homes. This can be achieved through programmes such as; free cooking lessons for parents and students (similar schemes have reduced anti-social behaviour in Scotland). Furthermore we hope to offer parents skills and experience that will ultimately take them further in the green industry and bring their family out of the poverty cycle.
  • Allowing young people to create their own “Bill of Rights”.


What are the proposal’s costs?

We estimate about £60,000 for the initial start-up costs. This would include acquiring the location and facilities necessary to have a successful and engaging social hub. We would then focus on sourcing fresh, ethical local food produce and drinks for the Café in the most cost effective way, as this a Social Enterprise, not a For-Profit Business. We would also use this money to train staff and to get our programmes up and running. Once we have acquired a base of regular young people, we can start promoting the campaigns and issues that they discuss, debate and decide to act on.

We would also aim to have a reserve of about £10,000 to allow young people to pursue their projects. This would ensure that that they can take their ideas to the next level. We would incorporate a joint funded/fundraising initiative. This would mean they would gain experience raising funds, but they will also have time to focus on the quality and outcome of their project.

We understand that further investment would definitely be required by the N.I Executive to create a green, sustainable future for Northern Ireland.  Recently, they have evaded the opportunity to invest £12 Million into a Green Industry Initiative, which would have seen the introduction of thousands Jobs in the Environmental Sector. However recently, there was a dispute over £80 Million in unspent budget. We intend to obtain a pledge from the Executive to invest at least £12 Million into Renewable Energies, Public Transport and Cycle Lanes, thus creating thousands of green jobs.


Time line

5-15:

  • Social Space up and running.
  • Programmes Available for young people.
  • Young people actively organising and campaigning through the Social Space.
  • Active campaign for N.I Executive investment in a viable Green Initiative, in lieu of Elections.

E.g. The introduction of Cycle Lanes and Public Transport initiatives, to reduce congestion and carbon emissions overall.

15 – 20:

  • “Green Living” becomes normalised, with people focusing on Environmental Issues.
  • Open up other Environmental Social Spaces in other cities.
  • With the innovation and spirit of the young people, there will be the creation of many environmentally focused jobs, particularly in the area of Renewables.
  • Active campaign for implementation of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland, Inclusive of Environmental Rights, drafted by Young People.
  • Lobby at an International level for an effective, robust, and legally binding climate change strategy.

 

 

50 – 100:

  • Generations of young people have passed a green mindset down to their children, encouraging a sustainable, environmentally friendly way of life that becomes second nature.
  • Decrease dependency on fossil fuels, and overall more energy secure due to renewable energies, also causing a reduction in global carbon emissions.
  • “Green Economy” in full effect, with Government incentivising businesses to respect the environment and invest in protecting it, while also sanctioning those who fail to comply with Regulations.


Related proposals

  • Climate Change Pioneers
  • Carbon Tax concerning Electricity Generation
  • Society for Climate Action


References

                                            

 

  • Northern Ireland Executive Website

(http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/)

  • Green New Deal

(http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/Documents/Social-Dev/Green New Deal/8_Report_(draft)_Green_New_Deal.pdf)

  • Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

(www.nihrc.org/)

  • Security Council, in Statement, Says ‘Contextual Information’ on Possible Security Implications of Climate Change Important When Climate Impacts Drive Conflict

(http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10332.doc.htm)

  • Unicef: Youth Action on Climate Change

(http://www.unicef.org/education/files/Publication_Youth_in_Action_on_Climate_Change_Inspirations_from_Around_the_World_English.pdf?bcsi_scan_96404f7f6439614d=sZ4zVUNLLRmOm3LLkw7VGyUdkaIFAAAANEhOCg==&bcsi_scan_filename=Publication_Youth_in_Action_on_Climate_Change_Inspirations_from_Around_the_World_English.pdf )