First ever Youth Assembly on Climate held at Leinster House

First ever Youth Assembly on Climate held at Leinster House

More than 150 young people who took over the Dáil have issued a stark warning to adults on the cost of doing nothing on climate change.

Children from all 26 counties gathered for the first ever Youth Assembly on Climate at Leinster House, during which they drew up proposals to tackle carbon emissions and climate breakdown.

Among the recommendations are a ban on the importation of fracked glass, the introduction of a labelling system to show the impact of food based on packaging and distance traveled, as well as a requirement to have glass doors on all fridges in supermarkets.

Many of the 157 young people who attended the event, gave impassioned speeches as they sat in seats usually occupied by TDs.

Donegal student, Conal O'Boyle told the Dáil that we are now in the "fast lane to a climate breakdown".

"This shouldn't be a proud day for those in government and this should not be used as another exercise in PR for them," the 17-year-old said.

The fact that we are sitting in their seats today should serve as a massive embarrassment to them, as they have embarrassed this country on an international level when it comes to climate action.

The recommendations published after the Dáil discussion were:

  • From your corner store to your supermarket, we call on the house to incentivise and obligate the installation of glass doors on open refrigerators.
  • For Ireland to ban the importation of fracked gas and invest solely in renewables.
  • Implementing measures that will allow that Irish goods be both eco-sustainable and affordable in todays’ Irish Market.
  • Implement a tiered tax on emissions from large companies including those under capital Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). This tax must be increased every year while threshold decreases, shifting the burden from individuals to corporations.
  • Investment in industrial hemp facilities to provide a viable, sustainable and alternative land use for farmers as well as employment in rural Ireland.
  • A labeling and pricing system showing the climate impact of food products based on criteria such as impact of packaging and distance traveled.
  • Ireland to outlaw acts of ecocide – the widespread and systematic loss of ecosystems, including climate and cultural damage.
  • Protect existing forests and make compulsory that at least 10% of all land owned for agricultural uses is dedicated to forestry.
  • A targeted nationwide information campaign to educate the population about the climate crisis regarding the causes, the effects and the solutions.
  • Mandatory “sustainability” education from primary level to the workplace including a new compulsory Junior Cycle and optional Leaving Certificate subject.

Young people between the ages of 10 and 17 were selected to attend the one-day event today which was hosted by Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann, Seán Ó Fearghaíl.

In a statement afterwards the delegation called on all politicians and adults to listen to their calls.

"We put forward our recommendations for action to stop climate breakdown. We are not experts. In our recommendations we offer ideas but we do not have answers.

"It is a starting point for adults and particularly for those elected to protect and progress our society. We call on you to listen to the science, to take on board our recommendations and to work on our behalf to ensure that we - and you - have a future," the statement read.

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