FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Our Bright Future Event

This week FSC joined forces with the nationwide Our Bright Future (OBF) project, supporting young people to speak in UK Parliament, asking for environmental change.

OBF is an ambitious and innovative partnership which brings together the youth and environmental sectors. This £33 million programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund is formed of 31 projects across the UK which are running for up to five years. Each project is helping young people aged 11-24 gain vital skills and experience and improve their wellbeing. At the same time, they act as catalysts for delivering change for their local environment and community; whilst contributing to a greener economy.

FSC is involved in three of these projects – Vision England project (CH, JH, PM, NC), the Growing Confidence project (PM) and Green Futures project (MT).

The underlying goal of all the projects is to empower and inspire young people to make their future brighter and lead progressive change in their communities and local environment. 

The three key changes young people want to see

We have been collecting more than 700 ideas from young people and youth workers during eight events and youth-led research, involving more than 300 people across the UK. We asked them: “If you could change one thing for you and the environment, what would this be?” Young people replied that they wanted three key changes.

Ask 1: More time spent learning in and about nature
We call for Government to produce guidance to schools stating that at least an hour of lesson time per day should be spent outdoors.

Ask 2: Support to get into environmental jobs
We call for Government to fund a new Future Jobs scheme that would allow the environmental sector to support young people into environmental, conservation, horticulture and other careers.

Ask 3: Government, employers, businesses, schools and charities to pay more attention to the needs of young people and the environment
We call on Government to create space for young people to be heard and play an active role in society. Therefore, we urge Government to:

  • appoint a Minister for Youth, to coordinate government work to support young people and help them engage with politics 
  • introduce a youth advisory board in every Government Department
  • remove barriers to youth engagement, for example by increasing accessibility of consultations (eg plain English and reduce length)

Of note was the following speech by Dara McAnulty, a youth member of the Grassroots Challenge, an Our Bright Future project in Northern Ireland, who showed knowledge and passion of the environment:

Jennie Comerford, FSC Grants Officer is the national contact for this project and attended the Parliamentary event. She said “This event was a fitting culmination to months of planning by the young people engaged in this programme. They shone in Parliament, un-phased by their influential audience and eloquently presented ‘the three asks’. I was proud that FSC is at the core of this initiative and helping young people add their voice to the call for environmental change”.

Caroline Lucas spoke on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 7th March to highlight the great work by this project and in relation also spoke encouragingly of the Natural History GCSE idea by Mary Colwell. The discussion came to a close with the opinion of some lecturers who think that there is a lack of natural practical skills in university students saying, "we have a long and distinguished history of naturalists in this country like Darwin and Gilbert White and the appreciation and care of nature is part of our British heritage. I think we are really at risk of letting that slip away as future generations become less connected with the nature that surrounds them.”

Thursday, March 7, 2019