A blog by Imran Mohammed, Senior Insights Analyst at SSEN Transmission and participant in the 2050 Climate Group Young Leaders Development Programme

 

This year the climate crisis has taken centre stage.  With the media filled with constant headlines about weather disasters around the world and the threat of global rising temperatures – at times I couldn’t help but feel a little bit helpless as to what I could do to play my part in preventing these things from happening.   We all know that we should recycle more and waste less, but I was left feeling that I wanted to do more and play a bigger part in the fight against climate change.

A few years back, one of my friends told me about an initiative that she had participated in where she learned a great deal about climate change whilst developing her leadership skills.

Known as the 2050 Climate Groups Young Leaders Development Programme, it has three main objectives: to empower, equip and enable young leaders to take climate action.

  • Empower Young Leaders to lead and take climate action to create a just and sustainable society
  • Equip Young Leaders with the knowledge, skills and confidence to take climate action
  • Enable Young Leaders to create and access opportunities to influence and be a leading voice for young people on climate change decision-making locally, nationally and globally

 The initiative sounded perfect – an ideal place for me to understand how I can play my part while also learning how I can help others to realise they have the power to help combat climate change too. 

In June this year, I noticed that the YLDP had opened applications for its next cohort.  I applied immediately – I had just turned 35, and as the programme was open to anyone between 18 and 35 this would have been my last opportunity to get involved.  With COP26 fast approaching, it also seemed like the perfect time to get involved in climate action. 

To my delight, I received an e-mail saying I had been offered one of 130 places on this year’s programme.  I accepted the offer right away – what a fantastic opportunity to get involved with other like-minded people intent on making a difference and learning how they can play their part in the fight against climate change. 

The structure of this year’s YLDP is different to account for COVID restrictions and includes a mix of learning online as well as face-to-face.   This blended approach seems the right thing to do considering the world we are living in, and I’m really looking forward to eventually meeting fellow participants face-to-face – it’s a brilliant opportunity to expand my professional network but also meet other young people who are motivated to help deliver change. 

The first session of this year’s YLDP kicked off virtually in mid-September with various spotlight sessions on topics such as Nature, Water, Transport, Stuff (Consumables) and Finance. The sessions were delivered by trustees and volunteers from the 2050 Climate Group and had a good balance of science and facts as well as personal thoughts and opinions on climate action that we could take away and potentially implement in our own lives. 

One of the guest speakers, Fraser Stewart from the University of Strathclyde, gave a highly thought-provoking talk about how a young lad from a low-income background in Forfar is now involved in energy research.   He underlined how the number one action we all can take is to talk about climate change with your family, friends and colleagues – and it’s something I have taken onboard.

I hope to achieve a number of things by participating in the YLDP - gain more knowledge on climate change and what changes I can make in my everyday life, build my leadership skills, but – perhaps most importantly - take climate action through community involvement and become a role model for climate action within my family and friends.

At SSEN Transmission, we enable renewable generators to connect to the UK’s electricity network, facilitating the drive towards net zero across the country - but outside of work could we be doing more to talk about climate change at home or in the communities in which we live?

The YLDP has parallels with SSE’s own internal Climate Academy programme and Climate Pledges initiative, which is open to all staff across the business, but instead the YLDP is focused on making it relatable to younger people in society.  

These young people have a vested interest in how we mitigate climate change and their voice will be needed to hold Governments and companies to account.

Their future is at risk. 2050 starts now.

 

To find out what changes you can make in your lifestyle to help support the fight against climate change, visit: Take Action | Net Zero Nation

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