Over 1,000 young people are set to gather in Bristol next month to debate how to engage the next generation in environmental issues to help ensure a more sustainable future. Taking place on Monday 20 April, Green Youth Day will be hosted by comedian and environmental campaigner Marcus Brigstocke who will be joined by inspiring speakers, including hip hop star and political activist Emmanuel Jal.

The event is being organised by the Bristol Festival of Ideas and is the first in a series of major debates being held as part of Bristol’s year as European Green Capital. It will bring together activists, musicians, artists, environmental change makers and young entrepreneurs from across the city.

Led by an advisory group of young people, the summit will include a series of talks, films and demonstrations to inspire argument and debate around the struggle with climate change. The summit will address the key issues identified as important by those involved, from protecting wildlife, human rights, equality and the clothes we wear. The day will also include practical workshops, meet-the-speaker sessions and smaller group discussions.

It will culminate in a message from the young people of Bristol to the world, which will form part of the Mayor of Bristol’s statement for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) Climate Summit, to help represent the views of today’s younger generation to world leaders.

Former Bristol Youth Mayor Rondene Vassell will be attending, along with newly elected Youth Mayor, Thanushan Jeyarajah. Rondene said:

Bristol 2015 Green Youth Day is an emblem of Bristol giving its passionate young people an opportunity to express their views on an important global issue. After being involved with much of the planning and hard work behind the scenes, I hope it is a historical day for Bristol that other cities can learn from.

The event will be hosted by Marcus Brigstocke, who began his comedy career at the University of Bristol and is an active campaigner for environmental awareness and action. Speakers include Emmanuel Jal, who will share his inspirational story from child soldier to musician and environmental activist, as well as best-selling writer and author of The Establishment, Owen Jones.

In addition, Integrate Bristol will talk about the importance of giving a voice to young people who have arrived from other countries and cultures, while Labour Party Councillor for Kentish Town Georgia Gould, who was elected at the age of 24, will explain why she believes that young people in Britain have the drive and creativity to answer the many challenges that we face.

Sandy Hore-Ruthven, chief executive of Bristol’s Creative Youth Network, which has helped to organise the event, commented:

The Green Youth Day is a great platform for young people to share their views, hear from inspirational speakers and learn about our environment. Most importantly, it will enable us to learn from the young people, so that Bristol can take its message to the world in 2015.

The Bristol 2015 Green Youth Day will take place from 9am – 4pm on Monday 20 April 2015, and is open to all young people under the age of 25. Attendance is free but must be booked by schools, colleges or universities in advance. To register interest, please contact us. Further information, including full biographies for speakers, is available here.

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