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Climate Change Youth Conference (Experimentarium, Denmark)

© Techniquest, Cardiff
The British Council, Copenhagen's Experimentarium and the European Environment Agency's Youth Conference on Climate Change, held on November 5th, 2002 as part of the European Science and Technology Week, generated considerable discussion of the causes of Climate Change and raised awareness amongst the audience of 200 sixth form school students (high school) of the complexity of the issues.

Conference President, Dr Robert Watson, World Bank's Chief Scientist and Director for Environmentally and Social Sustainable Development Network, summed up by asking the question "How much evidence do we need before we act to protect future generations ?

© Experimentarium, Denmark

The next generation responded with a resounding "Yes, it's time to act."

Anne Kolker, Copenhagen International School, said "We only have one world, we need to work together to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the industrialised world and help countries in the South develop sustainably."

But, Jonas Beyer, Næstved Gymnasium added "Let's be honest, this has to be made more convenient for us. We are not willing to give up luxuries like watching TV or using hairspray“.

This provoked a response from Anne Pontoppidan, Amtsgymnasium i Roskilde, "We need to set our priorities, do we want to live conveniently or do we want our children to live !"

The student's prior conceptions of climate change were assessed electronically by questionnaire before the conference and again afterwards.

At the close of the conference students were more sure that climate is changing, had a better understanding of the combined influence of human activities and natural variation on climate change and they're more willing to change their lifestyles. Most of the participants came to realise that climate change had a negative impact on their daily lives.The Youth Conference on Climate Change was supported by the British Embassy, the Danish Meteorological Institute and, to extend the project to involve schools in the United Kingdom, the Royal Geographical Society.

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