Three Year 11 students from Ron Dearing UTC travelled to Parliament to demand climate change action.
Hull’s Young Mayor Amaya Newman and fellow students Josh Bishoprick and Aoife Curran-Smirk, all 16, joined young people from Taunton, Skegness and Suffolk in Westminster Hall to plead with parliamentarians and Government officials to protect their communities from the impact of flooding.
They asked them to accept amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that would help to protect homes from flooding.
The event was organised in partnership with rights and climate group Rights Community Action and creative collective Glimpse as part of the #WeAreHere campaign, which empowers “at risk” local communities across the country to speak out about how they are under threat from climate change.
Chris Berry, Assistant Principal – Cultural Capital at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We’re incredibly proud of our students for giving very confident, powerful speeches and holding those in power to account.
“They asked intelligent questions and made politicians sit up and listen. They saw politics in action and it has helped them to realise that politics is for young people from Hull, not just for people from other areas.”
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill entered committee stage in the House of Lords on February 20. Baroness Hayman has proposed a ‘community resilience to climate change’ amendment no. 270, responding to the needs of people and places who are facing uncertain and risky futures.
Ron Dearing UTC students shared their stories about the threat posed by climate change and displayed some of their artwork inspired by the Shorelines Hull project.
Shorelines has been running in the city for the last three years and saw Ron Dearing students create a mural with Mexican artist Gustavo Chavez Pavon in December 2021.
Aoife said: “Living in Hull, we already know about the impact of climate change after the catastrophic floods of 2007.
“We think the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill is a fantastic opportunity for the government to show they are serious about tackling the climate crisis and the massive impact it has on communities such as ours.”
Josh said: “I don’t want Hull to flood again. Raising awareness on such a grand scale and having my voice heard was the most important part for me.
“We have to take action and it was a really good opportunity to do that. It was a nerve-wracking but liberating experience.”
Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy was among the MPs who hosted the event. Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis and Flooding Minister Rebecca Pow MP also attended to listen to the students.
The Ron Dearing students are now preparing to send an open letter to more than 50 MPs in flood risk areas to summarise their climate change thoughts following the event.
Emma said: “It was a pleasure to host this event for the students of Ron Dearing UTC. Hull is in the firing line of climate change-affected flooding from all sides, with increased rainfall, rivers and rising tides.
“It’s vital our young people understand the challenges ahead and learn how they can better effect change through the democratic process. I hope their visit demystifies what goes on in Parliament and opens up new ways for them to lobby for the future they deserve and that we all need.”
Naomi Luhde-Thompson, Director of Rights Community Action, said: “It was fantastic to see the students speaking truth to power in Parliament.
“Their heartfelt concern on climate change and commitment to the places in which they live should be a massive boost for changes to the Bill currently going through the House of Lords.
“We need laws that can be relied on rather than policies that can be changed at the drop of a hat and the climate crisis needs long-term solutions in places like Hull and Skegness.
“Our #WeAreHere project, along with our partners Glimpse, is now helping to bring these young people’s voices to Parliament and to make sure they are heard.”