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Pastoral Scene

Our Voice Our Environment 

Our Voice Our Environment is a legacy Erasmus+ project aimed at getting young people who are often excluded or disengaged from politics to participate in conversation and activities surrounding their own stake in their local community and surrounding area. The project has included a variety of residential opportunities, youth hustings and content creation from young people across Wales, raising youth voice and awareness of the Climate Crisis. 

Check out Lara's video documenting our trip to UK Parliament!

Click to find out about Jack's Meeting with Politicians 

Check out Kaitlyn's video of our Hustings Event !

Why is the environment important to young people? 

Here's what our OVOE participants have to say!

Your Opinions Matter

Here's what young people from across our network have to say about the environmental issues that effect them!

Open Wardrobe

The importance of vintage fashion
Lily Poiner

It is undeniable that fast fashion brands like SHEIN, Zara, and PrettyLittleThing have caused detrimental impacts on not only the environment, but our culture in how we, as global citizens, approach buying clothes. Big corporations get richer, our clothes last a shorter period of time, and our waters get more polluted by the toxic and cheap dyes that are used. This is why changes need to be made. Buying vintage fashion is a great solution.

 

Buying vintage truly manifests the circularity of fashion, not only wearing good-quality clothes, but stories of the past. Additionally, buying vintage/second-hand clothes is not only good for the environment by reducing waste, but it’s also good for your wallet. More often than not, it means you get better quality clothes than you would from manufacturers like Zara (it’s a common misconception that just because it’s ‘old’, it means it’s poor quality- ordinarily, this is completely false) for less money than you would pay in shops like Zara! 

 

Even celebrities who are worth millions wear vintage (but still extremely expensive!) clothing on occasions varying from red-carpet glam to casual walks in NYC. Olivia Rodrigo, a name most would recognise, known for her top-of-the-chart hits, ‘vampire’ and ‘drivers licence’ personally preaches the importance of what Americans call ‘thrifting’. She told Vogue in a recent interview that she has a passion for finding archival pieces. 

 

Apps like Vinted and Depop are brilliant for not only buying cheap retro fashion, but also selling clothes you no longer want also. Both the apps are extremely popular, I know that they are especially favoured amongst teenagers like myself. It has been reported that Vinted had the highest number of downloads in January, 2021- a shocking 4.2 million! I believe this shows how vintage fashion has and is growing to become more and more quotidian as time progresses.

 

I’ve personally become more aware of how my fashion choices impact the environment after moving up to college, where uniform is no longer a rule. I’ve definitely become more environmentally conscious whilst thinking about fashion habits e.g. buying something just because it’s on sale, even though you know you’re probably not going to wear it much, if at all. I’ve realised that little things like that truly make a difference, so I’ve forced myself to think twice before I buy my clothes. Thinking about where it came from and considering what my environmental footprint will look like as a result.

 

Conclusively, I, amongst my peers, believe that the benefits of buying vintage/second-hand clothes are boundless. For aesthetic reasons, for environmental reasons, for financial reasons- whatever your reason may be, the fact is that by limiting the new clothes you buy, you are helping the environment by wasting less.

Speedometer

Do you think the 20mph speed limit will have a good effect on the environment?
Sofia Williams

The question “Do you think the 20mph speed limit will have a good effect on The Environment?” has a very simple answer. Yes! Although the 20mph is very enraging, large amounts of data show how positive this has already effected the UK Climate Change Project in a positive way. From my perspective, the reason for this is because the majority of people that are effected by the 20mph law in Wales can’t be dealing with the impatience of it.

 

Driving has been changed in Wales and therefore the Welsh population have started to car share, take more buses and even take up the opportunity to walk more. There is also less roadkill in Wales because of this new rule making it even more environmentally friendly. The speed limit ban effects pollution in a positive way as well because when you share vehicles that means there are less cars, lorries, buses, etc on the roads making the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere decrease!

 

Although the ban is having a positive effect on the environment I don’t personally believe that it is having a positive effect on people. Multiple people have been seen and heard complaining on social media about how impracticalness of the 20mph ban, and how frustrating and brain-aching the thought of driving in Wales has now become.

 

We need to find a safe, environmentally better, solution for driving not changing speed limits. Something within the making of cars has to change otherwise driving will become severely unenjoyable therefore resulting in people’s mental health being effected, especially if driving is a fundamental part of your life! The 20mph speed limit ban in my opinion is a money making scheme for the Welsh Government. Although it has many positives to it as I’ve already said, it is very impractical and annoying.

 

Within what I’ve already said the positive impacts of the 20mph ban are great not just for climate change but for the safety of us as human beings as well. With patience hopefully Me and the Welsh economy will get used to the idea of 20mph for all of the positive effects it is having. Humans are the most selfish beings on this earth so our automatic reaction is usually negative, but with time will come acceptance.

 

In conclusion, my opinion on the question has been strongly answered and although the statement is correct we have to weigh in all the factors of the ban so that everyone is happy otherwise the ban isn’t going to last very long!

Do you think the 20mph speed limit will have a good effect on the environment?
Sofia Williams

Separating Waste

Implementing a ban on single use plastic

Carla Walker

In my opinion single use plastic is slightly important to us because a few things are made out of plastic such as carrier bags, plastic cups, plastic straws, etc. Single use plastic is mostly used in fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, KFC and much more. Single use plastic is meant to be thrown in the bin after use but they had to cut the amount of plastic used down as it was getting thrown outside and because it was killing animals and it’s not fair that they are dying for our waste.

 

Not having plastic cups and such more in our fast foods and our drinks make the cups and straws soggy and we can’t even drink our drinks because the straw go soggy and there isn’t any point in drinking it, people who have disabilities aren’t able to drink from the paper straws because they can’t stay in place but with the plastic straws you can put it where you want it in your drink and it stays in place. I think it’s very unfair on the people who did throw them in the bins and not in the wild because when some people do it, it punishes other people when they haven’t done anything wrong, so other people are getting punished for other people’s behaviour and it’s not fair at all, I get some people don’t like to hold their rubbish but there are bins everywhere. You will go to a small park and there is atleast two bins there, you can’t miss a bin when you’re walking around, we could put more recycling bags around by each bin to help with everything to reduce the amount of waste but unfortunately the main issue around littering in general is laziness. Although there are a lot of bins everywhere, they aren’t placed in the most convenient of areas, which results in people littering.

 

Single use plastic isn’t practical for the future as much as it is very accessible and easy to use it isn’t biodegradable and takes years to dissolve therefore because of the lazy people in the UK we have to make a change. In my opinion the way forward is metal straws as they are reusable. The idea of paper straws was good for the planet but impractical for us to use for the reasons already listed above. Metal straws can be used everywhere! Fast Food Restaurants, Houses, etc and in result all you would need to do is clean them afterwards. Not only are they easy and functional they are also reliable. We could turn everything either into metal or into reusable plastic of for carrier bags we could ban the single use option and only let the public use the reusable ones.

 

With all this in mind the banning of “Single Use Plastic” is a great idea as the future, in my opinion, would be brighter, better and healthier without it. We could begin a new trend and cancel all people using single use plastic because when you look at it as a whole, not being able to use single use plastic is a small sacrifice for a such a beautiful world which we should be aspiring to take care of.

Electric Charging Station

What do you think of electric cars?

Jake Sagoo Price

I think that Electric cars are better for the environment.

Electric cars are good for some people and not for others. I personally do not like them and would never have one. I also feel that so many people would be restricted of their freedoms if petrol and diesel cars were banned as not everyone can afford to have an electric car. I would never have one and I really hope that by the time I start driving I would have the choice to have whatever car I wanted. Electric cars also do not have stereos in them which restricts people on what they can listen to and I do not like listening to the radio and really don't want to bluetooth my music all the time because I also like listening to old music and my CDs. I also do not particularly like the look of electric cars either. Having an electric car would also mean that you can be controlled as it has been known for them to be shut down automatically when driving in some countries if the person has done something wrong. Electric cars are also dangerous as they catch fire.

 

This is my opinion on electric cars' I also wanted to add some pros and cons that I researched about electric cars: 

 

Pros are:

  •  Zero emissions for the planet for charging but only if it is through solar panels, wind farms or wave power. Otherwise even an electric car pollutes when being charged

  • Low running costs but only if you charge it overnight as you will be using electricity at a lower rate than you would during the daytime.

  • Tax benefits - an electric car costing less than £40,000 qualifies for free road tax. Pure electric cars are also exempt from London Congestion charge

  • Comfort - you only really have to contend with tyre, wind and road noise on the move, and if you are around town all three of these will be pretty minimal. In fact, electric cars are so quiet that some makers are fitting sound generators to ensure pedestrians and other road users are aware of their presence when driving

Cons are:

  • Charging Points - the biggest drawback to owning an electric car is having to charge it up and you also need somewhere to park your car that is close to an electrical supply

  • The charging time as it takes long to charge up an electric car and will make your journeys longer if you have to stop to charge it if you do not do it overnight

  • Purchase price - electric cars are very expensive to buy and not everyone can have one

  • Driving fun - the heavy batteries of electric cars do dull the driving experience and the lack of engine noise for some people takes away the driving thrill for people who like to get involved in what they are driving.

Climate Protest

Is the government doing enough to tackle climate change?

Nika Popławska

I don't believe that the government is doing enough to tackle climate change. While they are trying to improve things and tackle climate change they are doing it far too slowly and not a lot of progression is happening. The government try to make people aware of what they can do to improve things in the world however they never seem to take their own advice. They use single plastic, waste too much fuel and overall don't actually seem to or do care, they barley raise awareness let alone do anything themselves.

 

Climate change is something that's affecting the world drastically, let it be to the moral of people to even the health, it's slowly killing our planet by making water levels raise, green house gasses to increase and destroy nature. There are a lot of things that cause climate change however there are also a lot of ways to decrease climate change. Things that can help battle climate change is doing things like recycling and being more mindful of things and the world when doing things. Though we know all of this people aren't really doing their part to improve things. This has been spotted by the government and they have tried to raise awareness and tell people to improve things, however the government don't do that themselves. They demand so much money from us through taxes and other payments that destroy the economy and yet they don't use any of this money to improve climate change. Yes, they're are installing wind turbines to create natural energy off of wind and other things, but this isn't enough. Installing a couple dozen of wind turbines will not reverse the damage of climate change and all the plastic waste in the sea and earth. Though the government is trying to raise awareness the problems with climate change they don't do anything when they have the power and the ability to do that.

 

I think the government definitely need to make more changes and put more effort in when it comes to creating solutions to climate change.

Vaping Supplies

Reducing landfill from phones, technology and vapes

Corey Perry

Landfill is a big problem today as it can only hold so many non recyclable items and I believe that phones, technology and vapes are one of the main causes of landfill. A reason why I think these items are the main causes is because they are so commonly used in modern day society.

 

Vapes are the biggest problem especially now that people of all ages are using them and the fact that they’re so cheap to buy. In my opinion I feel that vapes should be banned because there are so many other ways to relieve your stress that aren’t detrimental to our environment. Personally I would play football or go for a run which would not just improve your mental health it would improve your physical health as well. 14.1% (2.14 million) of high school students and 3.3% (380,000) of middle school students reported current e-cigarette use. 37% Do it to relieve stress which is a lot of not needed vapes going into landfill.

 

Technology is an additional relevant problem. I know this as many companies use a process called ‘planned obsoleteness’ . This means that big companies (for example, washing machine and fridge companies will purposely make a product to only last a limited amount of time so you buy a new product. This method increases the amount of technology in landfills. I believe that these companies should increase the longevity of their products instead of making a consumerist and unsustainable society. Phones are probably the most used out of the three and there’s many problems involved with mobile phones such as young children are now being given them which adds to how many are being dumped in the landfill and how much worse the problem will get. Another problem with mobile phones are not just having planned obsoleteness but also toxic metals in phones will continue to contaminate water and soil if they end up in landfill sites. Which affects more than just the landfill sites. One of the biggest problems of Mobile phones are how many different companies are starting to make them and also the mass production of these phones which creates so many of them.

 

The global smartphone penetration rate was estimated at 68 percent in 2022, up from the first time since 2018. This is based on an estimated 6.8 billion smartphone users globally.

 

Overall I think that there are many ways to reduce the amount of phones, technology and vapes being put into landfill. The main solution would be to cut down on using these things especially vapes and also for companies to stop making so many planned obsoleteness items so they will last longer and less will need to be produced.

Winterwear

Should the government do more to support young people with travel costs?

Armani Stroude

Travel costs can really add up, especially for young people who may not have a lot of disposable income. It's important for the government to consider the needs of young people and find ways to support them.

One way the government can help is by providing subsidies or discounts on public transportation. This would make it more affordable for young people to travel to school, work, or other important destinations. It could also encourage the use of public transportation, which is more environmentally friendly.

 

Another option could be implementing special travel cards or passes specifically for young people. These cards could offer reduced fares or unlimited travel within a certain area. This would give young people more freedom to explore their surroundings without worrying about the cost.

 

In addition to transportation, the government could also support young people with travel costs for educational purposes. Many young people have to travel to attend college or university, and this can be a significant financial burden. Offering grants or scholarships specifically for travel expenses would enable more young people to pursue higher education without the added stress of travel costs.

 

Moreover, the government could work with travel companies to negotiate discounted rates for young people. This could apply to both domestic and international travel. By partnering with airlines, bus companies, or train services, young people could access more affordable options when planning trips for leisure or personal development.

 

It's also worth considering the impact of travel costs on young people's ability to gain work experience. Many internships or job opportunities require travel, and not everyone can afford the associated expenses. By providing support in this area, the government can help level the playing field and ensure that all young people have equal access to valuable work experiences.

 

Overall, I believe that the government should definitely do more to support young people with travel costs. By implementing measures like special travel passes, grants, and partnerships with travel companies, they can make travel more accessible and affordable for young people. This would not only alleviate financial burdens but also promote mobility, education, and personal growth.

Aerial View of Junction

Transportation and sustainability 

Lloyd Morgan

Constant delays. I have only recently been using public transport and I have seen more delayed trains than I have with one on time. Not only that but once I was stuck on a train for almost an hour because something was on the track. And this isn’t even the short end of the stick; it can be a lot worse. The majority of the time trains are a few minutes late; but sometimes I see full hour delays and I ask myself “what if someone has to get to work?” The amount of peoples job that have been taken due to the trains being delayed is ridiculous. All they get is a meaningless “apology”. And I have also just been to France where we had to use the train system quite extensively and I can tell you there system is sooooooo much better than ours. The train comes every 10 minutes, they arrive on time and they are actually clean. There is so much we could do to improve hour train system, and they have the audacity to go on strike and demand for more pay when they can’t even do their job right.

 

The bus system doesn’t fare better, but still they are way better than trains but it’s not hard to improve when the trains have set the bar so low. The longest delay that you would probably get with the bus system is around 10 minutes which I am happy to wait. All I wish is that there was more busses in my area. The only one in I see frequently is the bus that goes from the train station to the airport. Now this doesn’t mean that busses don’t stop in my area, you do get some going to Cardiff and Llantwit, but these only go through the main road so there are so many bus stops that are left unused by the buses.

 

The only thing that is good are cabs/taxi/uber as they actually work. I haven’t really used cabs before as I don’t really need to. But they seem to work, however something that bothers me is that you really don’t see them in my area because it seems as if you have to order them. This is completely fine but this just kinda makes me want to use another form of transportation over them. Also the prices on them are completely ridiculous. I understand that fuel is expensive but this just makes cabs look unattractive due to the price. At this point I would rather just ask your parents to drop you off.

 

Now I do like the idea of rental bikes however these are only really found in the city. I do think that if the concept was installed more frequently over Wales then it would be better. But I cannot complain with them as they get the job done and are carbon free.

 

In conclusion, I would like more forms of transportation to be in my area, and for the places that already have these forms of transport to improve on them and get them up to the standards of other countries.

Recycling

Do you think clubs do enough when it comes to recycling?


Seren Kenny

I dont think my youth club does enough when it comes to recycling as we have the same bin for every piece rubbish in the club.

 

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. This concept often includes the recovery of energy from waste materials. The recyclability of a material depends on its ability to reacquire the properties it had in its original state.

 

We need to have more bins in the club and more signs up so young people know where to put their rubbish. Recycling needs to be done and is very important as it helps reduce the need for landfill and more costly forms of disposal. Recycling also reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials all of which create substantial air and water pollution.

 

  • Recycling reduces waste sent to landfills and incinerators.

  • Recycling prevents pollution.

  • Recycling conserves natural resources.

  • Recycling conserves energy

  • Recycling creates jobs, producing economic benefits.

 

What happens when we don't recycle is substantially increase waste, depleted natural resources, pollution of the environment around the globe, negative contribution to climate change, negative economic impacts, loss of biodiversity, and negative social impacts. 

 

As a club we should be buying more recyclable packaging, composting and taking time to ensure everything is in the right bin.

 

When our batteries run out, as a club, we just throw them in the bin without thinking. In the future we could take these batteries to different shops like Sainsbury’s and put them in the box to recycle them. When we are done with cardboard boxes we could possibly do activities with young people that include these boxes. We could put signs up in the club with lists of things that can and can’t be recycled. We could educate the young people and the community about the importance of recycling. On the other hand, the club does collect old bottle caps, jar lids, ice cream-tubs etc to recycle and i think this is a great way to reuse old products. The club gives these products to “soaring supersaurus” who recycle these products so they don’t go to waste and take up landfill.

 

We do also collect old school uniform for local schools so they don’t go in the bin. Anyone who would like to come and grab these items are always welcome and in my opinion this works really well and it’s very helpful. My personal opinion on recycling is it’s very important and plays a big part in global warming, recycling needs to be done in order to keep the world as safe as possible.

 

For younger people and the new generation we need to teach them that recycling should be done so that they don’t grow up thinking it’s normal to not recycle

Earth on Fire

Global warming and our future

Elliott Morris

In my opinion, global warming, or climate change, has a massive impact on the future us as humans are creating for ourselves. Global warming is caused by the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere , which are mainly caused by humans, through doing things such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Although mankind is aware of the impact these things have on the earth , and are aware of the solutions to these problems , it is chosen not to be acted upon.

 

Global warming has many impact on every day lives of all sorts of creatures. It damages and disrupts animals habitats and homes , for example the ice caps melting which leads to many polar bear deaths. In addition to that though, in the long term it will have an enormous impact on humans with problems such as sea level rising, drastic weather changes and more.

 

I personally believe that global warming is caused by selfish people. Big industries is what causes global warming , by burning things and cutting things down, in order to earn themselves money. There are far more renewable ways in which these industries can earn their money while sustaining the same product , but nothing is done or said about it purely out of greediness.

 

If nothing is done to slow down or prevent global warming, these catastrophic things will become a reality. This makes me , and many others ,feel highly disappointed in mankind as a whole, as we’re digging ourselves a deeper grave in this situation. It is obvious that we could all be doing far better in order to prevent global warming, and I’m unsure why the people with most power and knowledge aren’t contributing to stopping this.

 

There are many ways in which global warming can be brought to a halt. Everybody can be part of the movement in slowing global warming down, by doing small things like recycling, taking public transportation and planting trees. Even though they’re small actions, in the long term, they can have a major effect on helping with global warming. Helping the cause of preventing global warming must be a group effort, and to have any chance in doing so we must work together.

 

I believe that if something isn’t done soon about global warming , then our planet’s future is uncertain and could drastically change. Future generations world could be completely different to ours due to global warming, which shouldn’t be the case. We should all do everything we can to attempt to stop global warming, as it’s putting our future in danger.

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