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Children and young people in Anglesey have their say on climate change

23 January 2024

Aerial pic of a beach

The Isle of Anglesey is the focus of a research project which aims to measure the knowledge and impacts of climate change on local communities.

Cardiff University academics are part of the team, led by Cambridge University in collaboration with Wrexham University, which will create a model for gathering localised data which could inform and influence green policies.

Awarded one of four new £4.6 million Green Transition Ecosystem grants by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), they will work with a range of groups on the island to investigate children and young people’s views on climate change and how it has affected, and could potentially affect, where they live and how they could adapt to it. They will use this data to create a Public Mapping Platform for Future Generations.

A community-made rural roaming room will travel around the island next summer providing an interactive, collaborative space for research gathering. Art practitioners, such as bards and poets will help academics carry out different types of consultation. The project will also enlist community scientists to work alongside young people in collecting information on vital but hard to measure facts such as their daily exposure to air pollution.

This data will then be digitised and developed into an interactive online map which could provide a framework for how climate change is monitored around Wales.

Lyndsey Campell-Williams, the Interim Chief Officer at Medrwn Môn, an organisation which supports community organisations on Anglesey, said: “We are excited to be working in partnership on this project as a way of complementing our Place Shaping programme for the Island. Being a part of this research will enable us to provide our communities with a rich list of the assets available to them in support of achieving their priorities at a local level. Building resourceful communities is very much about how we work in partnership, to share resources, knowledge and experience to get the best out of and for our communities, and this project builds on this approach”.

Professor Scott Orford, based at the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (Wiserd), said: “It’s important that we find ways to record children and young people’s views on climate change. They are the future generation who will be affected by the decisions of policymakers and planners. Despite this, their views are often overlooked and so the aim of this project is to give them a voice. We hope that this research could act as a pilot for the whole of Wales and further afield, as decision-makers look for ways to make informed and evidence-based decisions on the green transition.”

Professor Flora Samuel of Cambridge University said: “Climate change cannot be addressed without revealing and tackling the inequalities within society and where they are happening. Only when we know what is happening where, and how people are adapting to climate change can we make well informed decisions.

“The aim of this pragmatic project is to create a Public Mapping Platform that will bring together multiple layers of spatial information to give a social, environmental, cultural and economic picture of what is happening in a neighbourhood, area, local authority, region or nation.”

Professor Alec Shepley of Wrexham University said: “An emotional response to change or complexity is often our first reaction as humans - how we are feeling is really important. This project brings together arts and humanities research methods, with science and technology with a focus on community engagement – especially with children and young people, to consider what matters most to them now and into the future.

“The arts can pose uncomfortable questions and reveal difficult issues – often vividly. We aim to use this invaluable opportunity to engage with children and young people and through artistic activities, do a deep dive into all of this stuff. We want to celebrate aspirations for the future but also say what is needed for a good life.”

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