“Children’s Parliament is just a group of children. All of us are children and we just want to make a difference and have our voices heard. In Children’s Parliament, we’ve met so many new people. We’ve made plenty of friends doing this and it’s been really, really memorable. It’s meant a lot being a Member of Children’s Parliament, because we are deciding on our futures, and we want to be a part of changing it.”  

MCP, Western Isles, aged 12. 

From October 2020 – February 2022, over 100 Members of Children’s Parliament participated in Scotland’s Climate Assembly, contributing to national policy and international conversation around tackling the climate emergency. Globally, this was the first time that younger children had participated in a climate citizen’s assembly. The powerful impact of their input was felt across the world and helped inspire the Moment, where more than 1,000 children and young people in Scotland informed their decision-makers of their own Calls to Action on climate change in the lead-up to COP26.

However, as life often shows us, the most special moments often arise when we least expect them. It wasn’t seeing the 14 Investigators onstage at the New York Times COP26 Hub or in the Scottish Parliament Chamber that really, truly, captured my heart (though I was certainly emotional), but the growing dedication and friendship of both the children and adults involved. When the Investigators from the Highlands and Clackmannanshire returned home from sharing their Calls to Action at the GLOBE Legislators’ Summit in November 2021, they were supported by their parents and carers to create a Trees for Life Children’s Parliament Grove. The Grove allows anyone to donate money towards planting real-life trees through the Trees for Life website. A real Children’s Parliament Forest will now grow and remind us of the power of bringing children together to play, laugh, and learn, with real dignity and ownership over their environment and futures.

After a year of online calls, it was a special moment for some of us to finally come together in person at the GLOBE Legislators’ Summit in Edinburgh, both children and their parents and carers. Our conversations over these days highlighted something we hadn’t grasped the full power of- behind the scenes of Zoom, both families and teachers had also been brought along the journey. An MCP, age 13, from West Lothian shared that they had “….learnt a lot about climate change and I [now] want to… spread the word to other people, like my family. I mean some of my family members now have hobbies about climate change because I persuaded them. I told them what’s happening and it’s great that they are now helping out with the climate emergency.” 

The Unfeartie action taken by the parents and carers after COP26 to set up the Children’s Parliament Grove shows how adults can seriously listen to children and ensure their ideas and voices are amplified and honoured. As one of the Highlands MCPs, age 12, said:  

“It’s easier for children to speak to adults they have a bond with…it makes everyone’s ideas stronger.”

MCP, Highland, Age 12

The MCPs’ message for the Children’s Parliament Grove is to give everyone “the opportunity to make a difference, [and help us] change the future, one tree at a time.” It’s the small moments, the connected moments, that give us hope.

In fact, one of the MCPs from the Highlands, age 12, shared that their favourite moment from participating in Scotland’s Climate Assembly, saying that it was “not actually during COP26, but afterward, when we made the Children’s Parliament Grove!”  

In a time of urgency, anxiety, and seemingly endless extraction from our planet, we can carry these stories of hope and connection with us in our hearts. Adults, Unfearties, can come together to share these stories far and wide and take real action to create a happier, healthier Scotland to grow up in.   

You can donate to the Children’s Parliament Grove here.  

To read our final impact report and for more information on the children’s participation in Scotland’s Climate Assembly, as the first children involved in a climate citizen’s assembly in the world, please visit our webpage here. For enquiries regarding the project, please email sophia@childrensparliament.org.uk.

Sophia Georgescu is a Children’s Parliament Project Worker and is currently our Project Lead for the Learning for Sustainability programme. Learn more about the programme here.

Unfearties grow the Children’s Parliament grove