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Eco-action to help young people improve their health and wellbeing

  • by JW

“To hear engaged young people is reassuring and of course indicative of how this generation is switched on, bright, enthusiastic and articulate.”


A lot of young people are suffering from ‘eco-anxiety’ – real concern about the future of the planet:

Eco-anxiety – paralysis or fuel for positive change? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The question is whether this will lead to young people simply languishing in a state of helplessness – or whether this will galvanise young people into some sort of ‘action’:

From denialism and doomism – to climate activism – Vision Group for Sidmouth

This then leads to the question of ‘what sort of action’.

Today’s Herald showcases the positive involvement of young people – and indeed the real impacts their own initiatives can make:

Nine-year-old Serena Johnson is fundraising for The Wave Project – Credit: The Wave Project

The Wave Project team have become a familiar sight on Sidmouth beach in recent years. Not only do they help young people master their surfboards but also help to improve their health and wellbeing…

On October 17 at 12 noon, Nine-year-old Serena Johnson will be leading a team of litter pickers who will aim to recycle as much of the debris they collect as possible.

Fred Andrews, who runs sessions in Sidmouth for The Wave Project said: “It costs £150 to put one person through our six-week courses and so the money raised during the beach clean will be most welcome.“Serena has already raised more than £600 which means that already we can take on four new participants.“We are hoping around 50 people will turn out for the beach clean including our volunteers and family and friends of the young surfers.” …

You can donate to Serena’s Just Giving page by going to: For more information about The Wave Project, visit Anyone wanting to join the beach clean should register their interest  by emailing Fred via

A young Sidmouth surfer is raising funds with beach clean | Sidmouth Herald

In her column in the Herald today, the issues around ‘eco-anxiety’ and the possible ways ahead were looked at by Denise Bickley, chair of the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors and Surfers Against Sewage representative:

I was honoured yesterday to attend a zoom meeting entitled ‘Political Voice – Coffee and doughnuts’ for young people to discuss the ‘Devon Doughnut’ (see and it was great to hear from Devon’s two Youth Parliament representatives, (Joe Hartley is YMP for East and Mid Devon). To hear engaged young people is reassuring and of course indicative of how this generation is switched on, bright, enthusiastic and articulate. We mustn’t ignore their opinions in decisions we make for their futures. It is vital for mental health to feel that your voice is being heard, whatever age you are.

Let’s engage with youths to help keep environment clean | Sidmouth Herald

The wider press is covering more such stories about the active engagement of young people:

Devon teenager to cycle to Glasgow for Cop26 climate summit | Cop26: Glasgow climate change conference 2021 | The Guardian

Two thirds of parents want their kids to be eco-warriors like Greta Thunberg – Devon Live

And there are some great stories about youngsters engaging in the great outdoors:

Young lake visitors will enjoy exploring the environment with new play area – Devon Live

Children discover the value of water at new educational visitor centre – Devon Live

Overgrown woodland transformed into learning haven – Devon Live

Finally, there are a lot of very practical resources and information from Devon County’s climate emergency website:


The Recycle Devon School website provides teachers, parents and youth groups with a wide range of resources to help teach our children how to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Compost more of their waste every day. Have a look at the support they offer here. They also offer advice for tackling eco-anxiety in the classroom. For more information, click here. Could your school work to safeguard the planet for future students? Let’s Go Zero 2030 is a campaign uniting UK schools working to be net-zero carbon by 2030. Find out more and get involved here.

Teach children how to cope with eco-anxiety with a mixture of videos and activities on the Recycle Devon Website’s ‘Eco-Anxiety Zone‘.

Access E-Learning resources and videos to teach children how to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost.



Schools and Youth Groups – Devon Climate Emergency