Oldham Energy Futures and Oldham Youth Council Moths To A Flame Project
Reading time: 5 mins
The panel discussion covered the work that is happening right now in Oldham to combat Climate change, both from a policy perspective and practically, through retrofit plans, the creation of Northern Roots and sustainable action.
In September, the Oldham Energy Futures project teamed up with Oldham Youth Council to organise and produce a panel discussion and podcast recording for the Art and Energy collective Moths To A Flame project.
Read our blog on the project below, or visit the Moths To A Flame website to hear the recording.
Art and Energy Collective: Moths To A Flame project
Moths to a Flame is a mass participation art installation engaging thousands of people in creative activity and conversation inspired by our energy systems, relationship with nature, and the climate emergency.
Participants were invited to create moths with messages to world leaders and record messages of hope which would play in the space through specially made vessels; the installation would be open to the public in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens during COP 26
You can learn more about the project here
Oldham is a town that boomed during the industrial revolution. It had over 360 mills, operating night and day at its peak. The impact this had on the environment was stark.
So it was pretty fitting that young people brought up in the shadow of mills from that era wanted to talk about climate change and what Oldham was doing and could do to combat it.
The Youth Council are already a passionate advocate for Climate Change and have ambassadors on the Pioneers of Sustainable Hope (POSH) project.
POSH, supported by Youth Focus, focuses on the environmental challenge and has young people leading the way with making change, involves working with experts and decision-makers, and educating each other around a wide range of topics which fundamentally involves us all making systemic change.
Learn more about their work here
The idea for the moths to a flame project was to elevate the voice of young people in climate change discussions and give space for them to raise concerns, discuss what was happening in their local area and think about what needs to change to combat the climate crisis.
As a project, we engaged with the youth council and understood the issues they felt were most important in reaching zero carbon targets.
Over a series of sessions, the Youth Council took part in Moths To A Flame events and discussed who they would like to attend the panel, thinking about organisations in Oldham that could make a real and lasting impact in terms of change.
The Youth Council took the lead on choosing the perfect panel (sadly, David Attenborough couldn’t honour their request this time!), formulated the questions and notably chaired the event expertly.
Positive steps, Oldham provided the space for us to record the panel, and with help from Oldham College student, Thomas Kelley we were set up to record.
On the evening of the event, the space was filled with young people from Oldham, ready to ask questions and hear from the panel. After a short introduction from the guests, questions came from the audience.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Jabbar, was able to talk about the policies, plans, hopes and ambitions in Oldham.
Hamra spoke eloquently about the issues young people are concerned about and the activity already being undertaken across the borough that they are involved in, as well as the need to do more to involve young people in meaningful action.
Simon Davies from First Choice Homes Oldham gave us the perspective of what a large social housing organisation is doing and plans to do to work toward zero-carbon and Alan Price from Northern Roots, and Lees Eco Hub spoke about the environmental and wildlife work in Oldham to provide green spaces, habitat and education.
Often young people are given a chance to litter pick or create a poster to raise awareness, but we need to do so much more. You can raise awareness in more inspirational ways than activities of the past.
~ Hamra, Youth Council Chair and POSH Ambassador
For Oldham Energy Futures, the opportunity to engage with young people on climate change in the context of energy and then allow their discussions to flow from there was key to the project. Ensuring their voices had an outlet but also to listen and gain an understanding of challenges from our next generation’s perspective.
Watch the Vlog from Oldham Youth Council experience of this project here
We hope you enjoy listening to the panel discussion and feel the same passion and energy for change. You can listen to the full recording here.