Since July 2020 I’ve been working with young people from my community in BS13 to explore the real-world actions that we must all take if we are to stand any chance of mitigating the global climate emergency.
My role as Heart of BS13’s Climate Action Practitioner has catapulted me onto my own journey, and it’s been so powerful to share what I’ve been learning about low carbon futures and green economy jobs with young people who have their own dreams and ambitions for how they will play their part in a changing world.
One thing that has become really clear to me is how communities already experiencing financial and social hardships will face even more of an uphill struggle as the climate and ecological emergency unfolds. Energy, food, and transport costs will get higher. As new green economy opportunities emerge, investment in education, skills and training will (unless there is a concerted effort made to include deprived communities) remain in already affluent and engaged areas of the city, leaving us even further behind.
I’ve grown up all my life in Hartcliffe and have my own first-hand experience of how the inequality here is systemic and transgenerational. Children grow up in a vicious cycle of poverty that in turn incubates Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that go on to affect educational outcomes. Fewer than 2% of young people from this area go into higher education with most working a lifetime in low skill, low pay jobs. Limited work opportunities place an immense burden on physical and emotional health, which then feeds into the same cycle for future generations. If the only jobs that children and young people see are the low pay, low skill jobs of their family members, then aspiration, self-belief, hope, and opportunity are simply words. Put simply, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.
Our mission at Heart of BS13 is to disrupt this systemic, transgenerational inequality, by bringing together our knowledge of and passion for this community with the innovations that must happen because of the climate emergency. We want to ensure that BS13 benefits from climate action opportunities rather than afterthoughts.
Over the coming years we will be creating partnerships and initiatives that ensure exposure to new technologies, fresh thinking, and practical training. 60% of the green economy jobs that will be needed do not yet exist. This is our chance to join the dots between inequality, life-chances, and the climate and ecological emergency.
We want to make sure that from their very earliest years, BS13 children face the climate and ecological emergency equipped with the same advantages as their middle-class peers and create a new narrative for this community through education and jobs and improving the life chances of those who follow.
Find out how to get involved and volunteer with Heart of BS13 here.