A group of 3 students sitting next to a graffitied wall.

Young leaders across the globe tackle the climate crisis

Young people around the globe perceive climate change as the biggest global challenge facing our world today. Through our 2021 programme, Active Citizens: Social action for climate change, the British Council supported young leaders in six European countries to address this challenge. 

Making ideas become reality across the island of Ireland

In Ireland and Northern Ireland, Active Citizens: Social action for climate change, a collaboration between British Council and Co-operation Ireland, aimed to give a select group of passionate young people (age 18-30), an opportunity to turn their innovative ideas for sustainability into reality. 

Following an intensive leadership training programme back in March 2021, the young people proposed a number of ambitious and creative Social Action Projects aimed at addressing issues of climate change and the environment with communities across the island.  All proposals were assessed by an independent panel and the following projects were selected:

  • Climate Cabaret - An online cabaret with eight climate themed acts of burlesque, circus, drag and music, all interspersed with key messages from climate activitsts and scientists. First event took place on Sunday 26 September
  • Climate Action on Film - A documentary to capture the various initiatives and instances of climate action in the run up to COP26, with a focus on creative projects by young people, such as CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s ‘Building Spaces of Possibility’, an innovative performance initiative for Science Week Ireland 2021.  The documentary film will be released in early 2022 
  • Climate Change and Lobbying Workshops - A series of training workshops, initially in universities/colleges, to equip participants with a high level of lobbying skills and reliable climate information and to support them to take direct action and lobby governments for tighter laws on carbon emissions, carbon taxes and climate targets
  • Climate Craic - A collaborative and fun climate festival in the grounds of the Stormont Estate, Belfast to empower citizen advocacy and push for political action in relation to the climate and environmental crisis. Held on Sunday 19 September
  • The Circular Gastronomy - A local event in Ireland to highlight the issues of food wastage and insecurity. Local chefs cooked and sold delicious food with produce that would otherwise be thrown away by shops. Aside from the food, a range of other activities, including guest speakers, music and workshops took place with the aim of creating a recurring space for climate advocacy. First event was on Sunday 05 September
  • #PlasticFreeUni - a cross-universities campaign to highlight the environmental impacts of greenwashing and propose a referendum for the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) to introduce a ‘conflict of interest’ clause to universities’ tender processes to avoid greenwashing. The campaign also aimed to mandate the USI to take a stance against single use plastics within Irish universities

The six Social Action Projects were developed with the support of Co-operation Ireland, British Council Ireland and a range of other multi-sector experts and organisations in the months leading up to the COP26 international climate change conference in Glasgow, November 2021.

Our NI/Ireland Active Citizens also had the opportunity to showcase their projects with a range of policy makers and other key stakeholders from across the island.  Two such events were developed in partnership with the British Embassy in Ireland - the first, a presentation by our Active Citizens on their projects followed by a discussion on key climate issues with the Deputy Ambassador and senior representatives from the Ireland Department of Environment, Climate & Communications and the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. The second, a COP26 stakeholder reception where our Active Citizens programme was showcased and one of our participants, Andrew Ramsay, delivered a keynote address.

More information:

If you're interested to find out more about the Social Action Projects or want to get involved in similar future initiatives as part of our 'Stronger Together' European programme, please contact us by email.


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