The Scottish Youth Climate Declaration

On 30th October, over 70 young people from across Scotland came together online to create a Scottish Youth Climate Declaration which sets out the most pressing issues for children and young people and their demands to the Scottish Government and international decision-makers. They heard from a range of experts to understand key issues, the topics covered include:

  • 🙋 Youth Engagement 
  • 🧒 Children's Rights 
  • 🎓 Education & Jobs 
  • 💡 Energy & Renewables 
  • 🌿 Biodiversity 
  • 🍎 Food 
  • 🚘 Travel 
  • 🌊 Marine 
  • 🗺 ️Rural & Islands 

 Watch the video below or read the declarations.

🧒 Youth Engagement

1. We ask that young people have defined opportunities to engage with decision-makers over the climate emergency

2. We want equitable, inclusive opportunities that are provided by decision-makers to ensure all young people can engage and have their say on our climate future.

3. We would like decision-makers to follow up with young people who have been consulted, so that young people are aware of the impact of their engagement

4. We want opportunities for young people to access education and support around how they can engage with climate action and are empowered to act upon it

5. We ask that decision-makers commit to implementing structured spaces to facilitate youth inclusion in climate policymaking, and to have regard to the good practice seen in the Council of Europe’s youth sector’s co-management model

🙋 Children’s Rights

6. Children and young people should have a say in how decisions are made by being included in this process on a local (council) and national (political) level.

7. Children and young people should have access to climate groups, which have the funding, equipment and tools so that everyone's voices are heard and activities are meaningful and impactful.

8. We should be educated about living an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle, and organisations and the government should make it affordable, fair and accessible to young people and those living in poverty.

🎓 Education & Jobs

9. Children and young people should have access to climate education in school as part of the curriculum and embedded in all subjects (so all teachers are educated on it) but also have the option to study it as an additional subject - this curriculum should be decided alongside young people.

10. We would like to see provision and funding allocated to education providers to increase access for young people to learn outdoors.

11. We would like to see schools and education providers offer incentives to encourage learners and educators to make sustainable choices in all aspects of their learning e.g. (Reduce waste, save paper, recycle, etc)

12. We would like schools, colleges, universities and wider learning providers to be measured on climate education and carbon footprints.

13. We would like every school, college, university and wider education provider to have a green charter to show what they are doing to reach net zero.

14. We would like schools to offer more opportunities to get involved with Learning for Sustainability in extra-curricular groups and out-of-school contexts.

15. We would like to see that all educators (teachers, careers advisors and youth work) have Learning for Sustainability as part of their mandatory training.

16. We would like learning for sustainability to be mandatory in all aspects of the curriculum in early years and last through until secondary school, further education and higher education.

💡 Energy & Renewables

17. Need to raise awareness in communities about renewable energy and create pathways for them to increase their use of them and decrease the use of fossil fuel. We need to change/ transition quickly between fossil fuels and renewables to limit the damage we are doing to the planet.

18. A balance should be found between the building of new technologies (finding the resources, materials and transport) and the power that they produce. We should take advantage of the natural energy resources available to us in our country such as wind and tidal flow.

19. New technologies (like electric cars) need to be made more affordable. More financial support should be made available for lesser-known/used technologies, and good infrastructure such as linking solar panels to the grid/ more charging points for electric cars.

20. More research is needed into the lifespan of new technologies. Rather than rushing to meet targets, we should get it right the first time. More financial support should be given to researching new renewable energy technology to speed up the process of transitioning from old fossil fuels to new cleaner energy.

🌿 Biodiversity

21. We want rewilding to happen in all places, private and public, to increase biodiversity, with insects and wildlife

22. We want to restore habitats, declining species and ecosystems

23. Products should have clear labels to show us what impact they have (or not) on biodiversity

24. We want to be educated on biodiversity. How important it is, how it affects us all and how we can have a positive impact on it

25. We need more environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural practices

🍎 Food

26. Enforce companies to reduce plastic in food production. Have more alternatives to plastic such as refillable stations available with low-cost incentives

27. Create more spaces for people to grow their own produce. Provide education on growing produce and eating sustainably.

28. Encourage schools to commit to using local produce. Educate communities on how they can shop locally.

🚘 Travel

29. Transport should be for the people, designed by the people, to ensure interconnectivity, accessibility and availability of active and public transport; prioritising active travel over fossil fuel emitting vehicles in street design, ensuring the safety of public users at all times of day and night.

30. Without legislative enforcement surrounding the public ownership of transport systems, and the availability of financial support for sustainable solutions, we won't have widespread behavioural change.

31. Ensure that there is enough space on buses and trains for wheelchair and pram access. Ensure those with hidden disabilities have access to priority areas. Ensure staff are aware and educated about hidden disabilities and are able to provide support if/when needed.

🌊 Marine

32. We need to increase the use of biodegradable or alternative materials to plastic to avoid marine waste

33. We need to increase the use of nature-based solutions to reduce carbon (such as planting seagrass)

34. More must be done to raise awareness and provide funding to learn more about marine biodiversity in Scotland

35. Funding for young people to learn and research these issues needs to be increased, rather than it being specialist

36. World leaders need to take action on coral reef preservation globally

🗺 Rural & Islands

37. Increase the availability and accessibility of public and innovative transport options for rural young people to reduce their reliance on personal fossil-fuelled vehicles.

38. Ensure high-speed connectivity for all rural businesses and households so young people have access to education and greater work opportunities.

39. Offer sustainable landowners and rural communities planning permissions and tax break incentives to create low-carbon affordable accommodation and combined workspaces for young people.

40. Champion rural industries, such as farming, energy and marine, to transition to climate-friendly practices with government and private support to provide greener employment and education opportunities for young people.

Thank you to all the experts from Education Scotland, Creative Voices, Glasgow Science Centre, Scottish Government, Sustrans, RSPB, Rural Youth Project, Scottish Youth Parliament, Children's Parliament, Marine Conservation Society and Nature Scot who provided invaluable information to help shape the declaration.

This project is in partnership with the Scottish Government, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Youthlink Scotland. 

Find out more about COP26 on our dedicated webpage.