Race to Zero

By : Victoria Costello | February 10, 2022

Over the past year and a half, we have run a programme with young people from all around the world, about an issue that affects us all: climate change.

One of our main objectives was to ensure to reach a variety of young people, so that everyone had the opportunity to be heard. We successfully achieved this goal! We delivered a total of 20 workshops globally. All the schools we worked with in the UK had significantly higher than average percentage of free school meals, and we were also able to work with Pupil Referral Units, and partner with other third sector organisations that reach young people who require additional support. Lastly, we were able to have a wide geographical stretch from Latin America, over Europe and Africa all the way to Oceania, reaching over 600 young people.

The programme started with the students attending a full-day public speaking workshop with their school or their youth group. Some of these workshops took place in person, others were delivered online, but all were for groups of between 15 and 50 young people.

All workshop participants were invited to film and submit a speech to us, thereby entering the competition element of this process. We received a large number of films, which were all watched and marked by our panellist for their content, delivery and structure. The top speakers of this round were each given personal feedback, before attending a further online training session and filming their speech a final time. The final clips were then shown at our online event where our students managed to inspire and intrigue more than 200 attendees from all around the world with their innovative ideas!

However, our audience was not alone in being intrigued, because so were our great panellists.

“You spoke BEAUTIFULLY. You are more powerful than you know. The power comes from your voice, and your willingness to use it: you saw you already had the attention of adult leaders in the climate world. If you continue to speak as we just heard you, sustain the courage to speak up in that slow, confident, generous, passionate manner, then you will be a leader. You will make the world change!” – Charles Lesser


“What an engaging and empowering way to end my day- brilliant to hear young people with such important insights and ideas to share about Climate Change!” – Josie Verghese


We were honoured to host a panel consisting of such a diverse group of dedicated climate experts. The panel included Chris Broadbent – Founder of Planet Earth Games, Cindy Forde – founder of Planetari, Charles Lesser – Renewable Energy Corporate Financier + Head of UK at Apricum Group, Julian Lings – Senior Sustainability Manager at The North Face, Clement Metivier – policy adviser and International Advocacy at WWF-UK, Michael Norton – Director and Trustee at Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action and Josie Verghese – Head of BBC Young Reporter + Assistant Editor at BBC News Development. Their expertise made their feedback particularly valuable and empowering to our students.

With over 80% of young people rating the training as Good or Very Good and feeling more confident, and 89% finishing the workshop likely or very likely to take climate action, we are excited to see the impact our bright alumni will have!

Lastly, we want to thank CIVA who generously supported us throughout this project and without whom none of it would have been possible. We have also been a proud partner of Climate Action: Race to Zero – a group of organisations across the world coming together to encourage young people to take action on climate change and hope this collaboration will continue to thrive in the future.