Welcome to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)'s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP)'s blog. The DECC YAP is a group of young people aged between 15 and 25 from all over the UK, with a wide-range of backgrounds, from academia to activism.

Our aim is to inform everyone and anyone about DECC's activities and likewise to help DECC understand and take into account the concerns of young people. We are a medium of consultancy and conversation. Much of our work looks at finding a 'Pathway to 2050', reviewing how energy with be supplied and used in the next four decades, so follow us and join us on the journey!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Trains, Visits and Reports...

If there’s one thing that I’d like to gain from my participation in the DECC Youth Panel, it would have to be, for me, a finer understanding of how to catch trains successfully. Apparently, the machine which gives me my train tickets in Newcastle Central Station has a fickle mind, changing its rules on a whim, resulting in my having to purchase TWO return fares from Newcastle to London (which aren’t cheap).

I’m very glad I got that off my chest. However, despite the fact it bankrupted me, it was, of course, more than worth it to revel in the fun-filled shenanigans that comprised the Youth Panel meeting.

We started by being introduced to the rather dubiously named ‘Spreadsheet of Happiness’, an outline of the exciting site visits that are planned for the panel. We figure that it’s pretty important that we know what we’re talking about when we write a report outlining the young person’s vision of 2050, and so we hope that if we visit projects around the country that are already implementing skills and techniques that could play a part in that vision, the knowledge that we gain from these glimpses of the future may help us draw more substantiated conclusions.

We (well, some of us) have already visited two such projects. One was BedZED, an innovative sustainable community that has strived, through providing truly eco-friendly housing, to enable its residents to live a greener lifestyle. You can read more about that in Unkha’s blog post. There was also a visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology, which yielded some fascinating insights into the UK’s potential for renewable energy production. Apparently offshore wind is in vogue, as is highlighted in their Zero Carbon Britain report. This report is encouraging, as it shows that reaching a state of carbon neutrality is, if not politically, at least technically possible - which is good news for us, as we only (!) have to reach an 80% reduction by 2050. Look out for more information about this visit, or go to CAT’s website to learn more.

Having discussed these and future visits (which we’ll update you about as and when we do them) we moved on to talking about what format our ‘report’ is going to take (which Rose talked about in our very first blog post). A few existential crises notwithstanding, we began to formulate an idea of what we’re going to have to end up creating by the end of November. We are hoping to be able to write a report on how we would like to see energy being produced and consumed in 2050, and how the long but necessarily hasty journey to that point is going to impact upon young people. On top of that, we will document and communicate our own learning journey in crafting this report, so that other young people can see what we are doing and voice their own opinions on it. Then we’re going to host the biggest party since Live Earth to kick it all off.

Finally, we heard from Joss Garman of Greenpeace, who gave us a brief insight into the highly disturbing worlds of oil and coal production. The image he gave of the current state of affairs was simultaneously both profoundly depressing and energizing – he reminded us that the UK’s supposed leadership on climate change is far from flawless, but also highlighted examples where people power had prevailed and gave us a good understanding of the intricacies of our addiction to coal and oil.

Despite the fact I’m now living in a box because National Rail (don't know why I hyperlinked that one) took all my money, the latest Youth Panel meeting was, as ever, inspiring and productive. I get the sense that things are going to be kicking off in a big way pretty soon, so keep an eye on this blog for more news of our adventures…

Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. Great article! At CAT we also heard about the Offshort Valuation. Very interesting stuff - check http://www.offshorevaluation.org/ for more.