WHATEVER your thoughts on climate change, there’s no denying it’s an issue on a lot of minds especially those of the young.

Now Essex youngsters who are keen to be green are being invited to be part of a series of eco-friendly themed events taking place across the county this month.

The Young Manifesto for Essex will make up part of the Essex Book Festival, which has been run throughout March every year since 1999.

But the manifesto is something new and is being hailed as a platform for young people to express their thoughts and ideas about tackling global warming.

It also coincides with Essex 2020: A Year of Science and Creativity - the county’s year-long programme of special science-inspired events.

The manifesto scheme involves everything from the creation of a debate event to be held at Essex University to a tree themed storytelling session at Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre to learning green fashion skills in Southend.

Essex Book Festival director Ros Green explained: “When we began thinking about our contribution to Essex 2020 the first question we asked ourselves was: ‘What is the most pressing issue of the day, and who will be most affected by it?’

“The answer was simple: Climate change and young people.

“The Essex coast is one of the UK’s most vulnerable places in terms of rising sea levels.

“You only have to look at the projected rise in the sea level in Clacton by 2050 to seriously pause for thought.

“The second question was: ‘What can a book festival do to raise awareness of and help tackle climate change?’

“Again, the answer was simple. Ask a friend. Or two. When we asked our friends and partners how they could add to the Manifesto For Essex, we were flooded with ideas.”

The three events coming up in March for the Manifesto for Essex initiative are:

Escaping Climate Change

Friday: 12pm to 4pm, The Hexagon, Essex University, Wivenhoe Park Colchester.

Join the debate about tackling climate change at this special Escaping Climate Change Day which is taking place in the Hex building at the University of Essex.

Participants include Essex Book Festival patron, the Scottish comic, writer and performer A L Kennedy, as well as author and activist Monique Roffey (founder of Writers Rebel) and Arctic Circle artist Beatrice Von Preussen.

There will also be artist workshops, a clothes swap, free vegan food and themed performances.

Tickets are free and are available via essexbookfestival.org.uk/event/escaping-climate-change.


Sunday: 10am to 4pm, the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford.

A day of family-friendly events will celebrate the magnificence and significance of trees.

There will be craft workshops, storytelling, film, art and poetry, all with a focus on climate change.

Visitors can even help to create an interactive tree tapestry, have a go at leaf and bark rubbing, take a closer look at tree bugs, go on a tree identification walk, taste some wild food and watch a screening of The Lorax.

Tickets are free and available via essex2020.com/event/tree-mend-us-day.


Saturday March 28, Twenty One, Pier Approach Western Esplanade, Southend.

Organised by the Essex Book Festival and partnership with Southend’s Focal Point Gallery this event will hammer home how the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world after the oil industry.

The event will celebrate all things recycled fashion where young people can discover how cast away clothing can be turned into fabulous outfits.

Tickets are free but booking is required via www.essex2020.com/event/fashion-remade.

Councillor Simon Walsh, Essex County Council’s Cabinet member for environment and climate change action, said we all have a part to play in being greener across Essex. He said: “Tackling climate change is a major focus for Essex County Council and we have a significant part to play in raising awareness and creating positive climate outcomes for our communities.

“We’re bringing together a number of agendas to future-proof our economy and natural environment from strengthening infrastructure and transport systems to reducing waste and energy usage.

“We invite residents to get involved with climate-focused events from Essex 2020 and the Essex Forest Initiative to join us in building a low carbon, climate resilient Essex.”

  • The Essex Book Festival will feature more than 300 speakers taking part in 100 events in 40 venues across Essex throughout March. For more information, go to www.essexbookfestival.org.uk.