We Want a Clean and Safe Future, Say Youngsters; Gemma Bone Is One of a Growing Number of Young People Who Are Mobilising over the Issue of Climate Change. She Talks to Environment Editor Tony Henderson

Article excerpt

THIS weekend 24-year-old Gemma Bone will be putting in a hard shift on the climate change front. Gemma travelled to London from her home in Birtley, Gateshead, but it won't be a weekend jaunt of sightseeing and a show.

She will be at the Power Shift conference at the Institute of Education - the biggest ever youth summit on climate change.

The event has been set up by the UK Youth Climate Coalition, an alliance of youth organisations campaigning on climate change.

Gemma says: "Power Shift is young people getting together to decide how to protect our future.

"We can see the sort of world we want to live in, but the question is how to get it."

In December, Gemma and Gerri Butler, from Sunderland, will be among the 24 UK youth delegates at the Copenhagen United Nations climate change conference.

"It's frustrating to see the length of time it is taking for world leaders to agree on measures to give us a future we want to live in," says Gemma.

"As a youth delegation, we'll be a visible presence in the conference venue, holding the UK Government to account and making our voices heard."

The youth delegation is currently fundraising to pay the costs of their stay in Copenhagen from December 3-21, which will include an international youth conference.

They are shunning air travel because of the carbon cost and are travelling overland - some by cycle.

Gemma has already cycled 100 miles alongside Hadrian's Wall to raise funds for the UK group's costs and to help finance the Kenyan youngsters' delegation.

With the help of friend Paul Agar, she has also held screenings of the climate change film The Age of Stupid at Birtley Parish Centre and Washington Arts Centre.

"I decided I don't want to be a part of the Age of Stupid," says Gemma, who is also helping to organise a climate change event from 11pm on October 24 at the World Headquarters Club, Curtis Mayfield House, in Carliol Square, Newcastle.

Gemma attended St Joseph's Catholic Junior School in Birtley and St Robert of Newminster School in Washington before taking a philosophy and politics degree at Newcastle University.

She is now studying for a Masters at Newcastle in international politics, concentrating on globalisation, poverty and development. …


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