Throughout 2022 we supported our Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) to conduct a youth-led inquiry into how climate change is affecting young people’s health. The panel wanted to understand how the environment and climate change are impacting on young people’s health now, in the UK context, and to think about what could be done to help. The panel also wanted to gather evidence from young people to inform AYPH’s position on climate change and to share with policymakers and those working to improve young people’s health.

We heard from young people throughout the UK through an open call for evidence and targetted workshops. The YAP brought this evidence to an in-person Inquiry event in December 2022 where young people and professionals worked together to share ideas and develop recommendations. The aim of this was to think about how adults and professionals could speak to young people about how climate change is affecting their health and support them to adapt and cope. We have published a new report that includes all the findings and recommendations from this process.

Read our report to find out what we learned from the youth-led climate change Inquiry

The YAP were also keen to develop a youth-friendly, interactive resource from their findings. In all of our meetings, they stressed the importance of ensuring that everyone who used their resource felt able to make positive change. This was particularly important after seeing the number of responses from young people that mentioned eco-anxiety/eco-grief and feeling hopeless and overwhelmed by the responsibility to deal with climate change.

View and download the poster version of our boardgame!

With this in mind, the YAP developed a brand new board game called Play Your Part! based on the recommendations from the Inquiry. It is fun and interactive and we will be using it as an educational tool in a number of our training courses. We have also made it available as a free downloadable poster. The hope is that displaying this will create more opportunities for conversations about how climate change impacts young people’s health.

From the start of our Inquiry process, we spoke about it as planting a seed. We knew we couldn’t fix such a huge issue but that it was worth starting in the knowledge that it could continue to grow long after the project finished. What was highlighted throughout this process was how much can be acheived when young people and adults work together on an issue that feels overwhelming or like different generations are at odds with each other.

As one of your YAP members told us: ‘I found it particularly interesting at our inquiry event when we had the mix of young people and adults all giving their points of view on various topics. I loved the fact that it felt like we were all equals no matter our background or age and it was really nice to hear so many different perspectives.’