Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Learning for the Future

One of the arguments for lowering the voting age is that younger voters chose candidates based on long term issues like the environment. They look to the future and want forward thinking policies which will protect them in the decades to come. Older voters know they won't reap the benefits of very long term planning, so tend to have more immediate demands of their representative- I said tend, not always and not everyone!

It doesn't look like the voting age will be lowered in the near future, and I'm not sure the above argument  is a good enough one to do so, but it's still important to educate young people on environmental issues. Then, when they reach eighteen, they'll have the facts they need to understand that short term voting isn't always enough to secure a safe future.

Recently I've seen lots of great environmental education from recycling with four year olds to twenty-something green student groups. It's brilliant to see the enthusiasm on people's faces as they discuss these difficult issues, and it's really motivating watching sensible debates on the solutions, whether it's discussions on Green Party campaign issues or what can be made out of plastic recycling rubbish.

Yesterday I helped out with a Lancashire Wildlife Trust school visit, running workshops on recycling for children from reception up to year six. The children learnt a lot, and I learnt a few things too! I now know that old wellies can be turned into chair seats, plastic cups into rulers and plastic bags into notebook covers. They learnt all this and how paper is made (they got to try it too), where their rubbish goes and how they can reduce their landfill waste. Not bad for a few hours and a whole school.

At the other end of the spectrum I'm looking forward to some of the Young Green events at the Green Party's Spring Conference in Liverpool at the end of the month. I'm hoping to learn lots myself, both about the Party and some green issues that are new to me. You're never to old to learn especially when it comes to protecting our future.

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