Youth, science and environmental bodies come together to harness the power of young minds to tackle air pollution
Young Scots have been putting their thinking caps on about creative ways to tackle the growing problem of air pollution.
A partnership between youth information service Young Scot, Glasgow City of Science and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency as part of Glasgow Science Festival saw teenagers between the ages of 14 and 20 start developing ideas to pitch to a Dragon's Den style panel of experts later this year.
The young people took part in activities, science experiments and learning around the harmful impacts of air pollution, which is an increasing health and environmental issue in Scotland’s urban areas, especially in large cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Involving young people and allowing them to lead on the message they feel should be delivered, or what the solutions could be, is a very effective way to raise awareness of the problem of poor air quality - Dr Colin Gillespie, SEPA
The event, called Air Time, gave participants some fast-track learning on the issue of air pollution before giving them the opportunity to come up with new digital ideas to tackle the problem to present back to top industry at Venturefest Scotland, Scotland’s annual innovation summit held at Glasgow Science Centre on 1 September 2016.
Dr Susie Mitchell, programme director of Glasgow City of Science, said: “Air Time was a great success – it really got the young people thinking about this important issue, the impact it has, and the part they can all play in addressing the problem.
“Opportunities that upskill, inspire and encourage entrepreneurial thinking in our young people can boost competitiveness and growth in a smart, sustainable and inclusive way. I can’t wait to see how the young people translate their new knowledge from today’s inspirational event into creative business ideas at VentureJam in August.”
Louise Macdonald, Chief executive of Young Scot, added: “Making the country a cleaner and greener place is important to many young people and this was plain to see in level of passion displayed by the participants at Air Time. We were pleased to see so many fantastic ideas on show. If we want to tackle the big issues of our time it’s vital we tap into the creativity and insight of young people.”
Air Time with VentureJam was a taster event for VentureJam 2016, an innovative three-day hackathon-style activity for young people across Scotland to co-design and co-develop innovative new ideas to improve the air we breathe.
VentureJam is set to run in the first week of August and is a part of the programme for Venturefest Scotland.
Discussing the success of Air Time, Dr Colin Gillespie, principal air scientist at SEPA: “Involving young people and allowing them to lead on the message they feel should be delivered, or what the solutions could be, is a very effective way to raise awareness of the problem of poor air quality, which unfortunately seems to have been in the news all too often in recent months.
"Poor air quality contributes to thousands of premature deaths across the UK every year, as well as the impact it has on our environment."