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Schools and Colleges invited to nominate Eco-Champs to join major youth climate change debate

@Zurich Insurance is searching for three young green activists to join the panel of the UK’s first carbon neutral eco-summit – The Youth Against Carbon Conference (#YACCon)

The three panellists will join young climate champions Mya-Rose Craig (aka Birdgirl), Kids Against Plastic and Mikeala Loach in debate chaired by TV presenter Maddie Moate

All panellists invited to pitch for a potential £5,000 bursary to scale their eco-passion or project

YAC Con to be streamed via Instagram on 13th October at 6pm

A major new initiative to help young people get their voices heard in the climate change debate is to take place this Autumn.

On Tuesday 13 October 2020, the UK’s first carbon neutral eco-summit for young people, The Youth Against Carbon Conference (YAC Con), organised by Zurich Insurance, will be held to better understand the role young people can play in the climate crisis.

Streamed lived on Instagram (IGTV), YAC Con will feature an all youth panel, who will debate a range of topics, from lessons to be taken from Covid-19 lockdown measures to issues including fast fashion, food consumption, plastic usage, eco travel and transport pollution.

Zurich is now searching for three young eco-champions (aged up to 24 years old) to join the panel and is calling on teaching professionals to encourage pupils and students to apply. The chosen three will join Edinburgh Medical Student and climate justice activist, Mikaela Loach (22), prominent naturalist and President of Black2Nature, Mya-Rose Craig (aka Birdgirl) (18) and founders of successful eco-charity Kids Against Plastic, Amy and Ella Meek (16 & 14) in a debate chaired by BAFTA award winning TV presenter, Maddie Moate.

Successful applicants will also be eligible to pitch for one of two bursaries of £2,500 to support their cause or project, as well as consultancy from Zurich’s senior sustainability experts.  Deadline for entries is Monday 14th September 2020.

Laura McAlpine, Head of Sustainability at Zurich, commented: “We’re looking for three inspirational young people to complete our panel line up. It will be a unique opportunity for someone to share their passion on a national stage and inspire others in the fight against climate change. We want to hear from people (7 – 24) who are actively campaigning or taking action to affect change, whether it be on a national or local scale, or just in their school, college or University.”

YAC Con comes in response to young people’s fears that action on climate change has stalled as a result of the pandemic. Research* by the organiser, Zurich Insurance, suggests young people are concerned climate change has fallen off the public agenda, with almost two thirds (61%) of the 7-17 year olds surveyed saying they are worried the Government is only focused on the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Laura McAlpine continues: “We have launched YAC Con to make sure climate change stays on the public agenda, while giving young people a platform to voice their concerns, take action and play their part in the UK’s transformation to a low carbon economy. As insurers we take our role very seriously. We have an opportunity to help drive a sustainable Covid-19 recovery, to improve global resilience by building back better, supporting our customers and our communities. As a responsible business we want to grasp this with both hands.”

 Panellists Amy and Ella Meek from Kids Against Plastic commented; “We are looking forward to being part of Zurich’s Youth Against Carbon conference later this year, as we think it is really important, even during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, that environmental issues are still high on the global agenda. We also think it’s really important for young people to be engaged in environmental issues like climate change and keen to take action to address them.”

Maddie Moate, chair of YAC Con commented: “As we contemplate a return to our previous way of life, it’s vital that we put sustainability and the fight to tackle climate change at the heart of it. For many young people, the impact of a changing climate is a huge concern, and one of the biggest threats the planet faces, yet so many young people feel helpless and confused about what they can do. If you’re one of these people, join us at YAC Con to hear more about what you can do to help change the world.”

 YAC Con will be streamed on IGTV on 13th October 2020 from 6-7.30 pm.

The launch of YAC Con builds on Zurich’s existing commitments to reducing its environmental impact and supporting the global transition to a low carbon economy.  In 2019, Zurich became the first insurer to sign up to the UN Global Compact Business Ambition Pledge that aims to limit average global temperature increases to 1.5°C. It is also working towards achieving 100% renewable energy across all global operations by 2022.  The conference will take place virtually (travel to London by panellists required) and all carbon emissions generated during the conference will be offset using the Tree Nation scheme.

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