Walk, cycle, eat less meat and use less electricity each day are all activities that we are prepared to do to reduce our carbon footprints. This is the clear message that has come out of a low carbon conference held last Thursday 9th July at Peter Symonds College for the 14 – 19 age group in partnership with Winchester Action on Climate Change.
Over 200 students from Peter Symonds College, Kings School, The Westgate School and Swanmore College of Technology took part in a day of activities focusing on our carbon footprints and the urgent actions that are needed by all of us in order to avoid runaway climate change.
Pupils were shocked by some of the inconvenient truths about our current situation, some saying things like, ”I didn’t realise we are so close to some pretty disastrous tipping points”. But far from leaving everyone in a state of depression and despair the conference focused on the things that even young people can do to make a difference and encouraged each individual to take action. 
Delegates explored the environmental impact of the food we eat and how careful choices from the menu, such as eating less meat, can make a significant difference – especially when you consider that food makes up almost a quarter of our carbon footprints.
Calculating their carbon footprints online revealed some interesting results and proved to be another tool for identifying where best to make reductions in our carbon emissions.
Each delegate was invited to fill out a pledge card, stating 3 things that they intend to do to reduce their carbon footprint. Pledges ranged from turning down the heating to flying less to setting up a compost heap. With over 20 different activities pledged, there is plenty of potential for young people to feel empowered to make a difference. 
Influencing other people featured prominently on this list too – so be prepared to change if your teenager suggests some carbon saving tips!
One thing is for sure. Change is in the air, whether it be the climate or the things we are doing to mitigate against it. More of the same is not an option.