16-year-old Maldon activist calls for climate action ahead of travelling to COP26

  Posted: 29.10.21 at 20:02 by Charlotte Lillywhite

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Maldon’s lead climate action youth rep gave a rousing speech to political, business and community leaders from across Essex today (Friday 29 October), in which she called for urgent climate action.

16-year-old Hattie Phillips, who is the youth ambassador of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), spoke at The Electric Road to COP26 event hosted by Essex County Council in Braintree.

EVA England, the membership organisation for electric vehicle drivers, joined leaders at the event to welcome a convoy of electric vehicles from eight European countries to the GRIDSERVE Electric Forecourt in Braintree.

This was the convoy’s first UK stop on a 100 per cent renewable journey to Glasgow for COP26.

In a speech to attendees, Hattie said: “To create a healthy planet, we need action and we need action from people who are willing to make those changes that have been widely recommended for years, however unpopular they are - unpopular due to the fact that young people will be most impacted by climate change.

“It will and can be those exact same young people who are keeping this high on the agenda.”

Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, the lord lieutenant of Essex and representatives from the Women’s Institute, Institute of Directors and community organisations attended today’s event, which was the first in a weekend of activity aimed at increasing awareness of the environmental and health benefits of electric vehicles.

They joined with senior figures from the local authorities of Maldon, Basildon, Harlow, Chelmsford, Southend and Braintree to discuss the actions being taken to combat climate change in Essex.

Maldon District Council has adopted a climate emergency policy and aims to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.

Hattie, who is a student at the Plume Academy, is working alongside the district council to achieve these goals.

She said: “I’m currently working alongside Maldon District Council which, with the help of myself and other young people, hopes to lead the way in our community to bring back climate action that is so vitally needed.”

Councillor Wendy Stamp, the leader of the district council, said: "A big thank you to Hattie today for speaking at the GRIDSERVE event.

“You could see how seriously everyone in the room took her message about taking climate action and how everyone must and can do something about it.”

Guests previewed a new app for young people at the event, which is aimed at helping young people understand what they can do in their homes to tackle climate change.

Hattie emphasised the role of young people in tackling climate change during her speech.

She said: “Some people may ask why are young people going to attend COP26? What can they possibly have to offer?

“However, it is vital that young people, such as myself, attend COP26 so we get the experience, so that we get to be prepared for the next conference parties and the next and the next and the next.

“But we have things to say right now that need to be listened to - we’ve done our homework and we’re ready.”

She continued: “We cannot go back to the Victorian ideology that children should be seen and not heard.

“The youth voice should be loud and clear at Cop26 because we know what’s coming and we will not forget the promises that were made.”

COP26, the 26th United Nations (UN) climate change conference, is believed by many to be the world’s best last chance at getting runaway climate change under control.

Hattie is now travelling to Glasgow for the conference, which begins on Sunday (31 October).

She said: “COP26 has a world waiting on their agreement and actions - failure at this stage is simply unimaginable.”

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