Coleg y Cymoedd learners compete in climate change debate

Learners at Coleg y Cymoedd have played their part in tackling the climate emergency after coming together with tens of young people from across Wales to take part in a national conference aimed at exploring global environmental issues.

Six learners from the college took part in this year’s Mock Cop climate conference, joining learners from over schools and colleges from across the country to take part in the Welsh event at the national assembly in Cardiff.

Run jointly by Size of Wales and the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA), MockCOP, which is modelled on the UN Climate Change COP talks, brings together young people aged 14-18 with scientists, economists and business leaders to discuss and debate climate change issues.

Learners are split into teams, each representing a different country from around the world, which they must research before presenting the environmental challenges they face as well as their proposed solutions to tackle them.

Liberty Lee, Meadow Jackson, Matthew MacPhail, Seth Olner, Taya Hodges and Lilia Simonov, who are all part of Coleg y Cymoedd’s debating society, attended the event on behalf of Coleg y Cymoedd, with the learners split across two teams representing Canada and the Phillipines.

As with the real conference, teams had to put forward proposals and negotiate with other countries to achieve the ultimate goal of getting them to commit to their pledges and sign a treaty.

The interactive event is designed to improve learners’ knowledge of the UN and its annual climate change talks, as well as enable them to develop a better understanding of other nations and cultures by acting as them throughout.

Lilia Simonov, learner who took part said ““The MockCOP event was a fantastic opportunity to discuss the climate issues that the world is facing. It also provided the opportunity to understand how interconnected perspective, socio-economic status and politics are when dealing with climate change issues. Especially when considering links to things like gender inequality, which was a big focus and heavily discussed.

At the MockCOP, Coleg Y Cymoedd had two teams representing The Philippines and Canada. As one of the representatives for The Philippines we had the opportunity to represent a country that is impacted greatly by climate change. Being able to use our voices to express these concerns and discuss possible amendments with other countries during negotiations was great. It really demonstrated how everyone at the event was very likeminded in understanding that climate is an issue. And that the United Nations need to tackle these issues as a priority. Overall the event gave us all the opportunity to develop our confidence and public speaking skills. While allowing us to discuss topics with passion that displayed the need for change.”

Holly Richards, MAT Coordinator at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “The MockCOP competition offers young people a great opportunity to develop their debating skills and learn more about important global issues. The conference encourages young people to be more engaged with climate change and political issues while motivating them to consider the responsibility of Wales, both locally and globally.

“I was incredibly proud of our learners who did an incredible job representing the college. They showed an impressive passion for the subject and presented strong and convincing arguments which led to them securing backing for their proposals.”

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