Hi, I'm Danny, and I'm 13. I've been involved in taking action for the environment since I was 9 years old. In this time, I have been involved in some really important and interesting projects that have made a big difference in not only my local community but the wider world too. That shows that nobody is too young to have an impact.
Back in 2017, I was part of a campaign that helped to save a horse chestnut tree from being cut down by developers. Campaigners stayed in the tree for nearly two weeks and we supported them from the ground. Amazingly, the developers agreed to save the tree and even appointed an arboriculture expert who gave it a health boost so now it's stronger than ever. This showed me that you could stand up for something important, change people's minds and take steps to save the planet.
After this, with my brother, I thought of ways to take action myself to improve the
environment in my town. There's no point thinking of all the things that you can't change, or feel powerless about, because then nothing would ever change. If you focus on things you can do, then it is satisfying to actually watch progress happening and feel the impact of your work. My brother and started I litter picking which spread to a really regular mission and that got support from our whole town. Nearly four years later, we still regularly hold clean-up events. We also started climate change protests at our primary school, and joined a strike with other schools in our town.
With Action for Conservation, I attended a tree-planting day at the Young People's Forest at Mead, where we planted hundreds of trees together as part of the Big Climate Fightback. Days like this are important because when you see so many other people working together on something, it shows you just how much power we have to create change.
I think young people are crucial to climate action because it's our future, if we rely on others, then maybe they won't care as much as we do - as the future will not affect them as directly. I do know that not everyone thinks like this, and there are many supportive adults around us, but maybe it would explain the lack of action or urgency? Young people understand how desperate the situation is as we have already started to see irreversible changes in our short lifetimes. And this feels like just the start. I'd say to young people to look for one tiny glimmer of positivity by making one practical change - whether it's speaking out, taking action on a local level, or encouraging others to think about what they can do too. When there is no hope, the world feels a bit dark and depressing, but if you change the focus to actually doing something about it rather than worrying everything feels different.
Thanks for reading and Happy International Youth Day 2022!