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It‘s not what you say, it‘s the way that you say it

10 February 2020
Reading Time: 2 mins

Amy Bloom. Engineering graduate at Suez, makes an appeal to UKBCSD


“Like millions of people around the world I am concerned about the impact of climate change and the demands an increasing human population is having on our environment. After studying Chemical Engineering I entered the waste management industry with a desire to contribute towards a solution; but now wonder how this can be achieved. Across my generation, we are aware of the enormity of the problem but, in contradiction, feel uncertain and powerless.

It is felt that the worlds of government and industry frequently disengage with the public (and each other) by presenting this challenge using language that is often disheartening, ambiguous or to demote it as not a priority. The issues behind climate change then appear too depressing, too big, too technical or too confrontational, which results in people disengaging from it, despite an awareness of the urgency, to a fearful belief that nothing they do can make any difference or see how it will impact on us here in the UK. The journey ahead of us, requires significant changes to the way in which we all live and behave without being penalised or losing out.

We want to take positive action, offer and help take forward real solutions that benefit communities of all kinds. We want to take the next step but without networks or influence, where do we go and who do we talk to, to achieve them?

If we find the guidelines within our own industries confusing to understand, and we are a very diverse group of people who are intent on using our ‘trade’ to help alleviate the impact of climate change, what about the rest of the population where this isn’t their job, but something they want to support? How can they help fix the problem, when faced with language they find alienating, comments that are contradictory and challenges that seem insurmountable?

Sustainable development is one of the key reasons I pursued a career in waste and my goal is to become involved in policy development to drive change. I am sure I will not be alone in supporting the establishment of a Young People’s Forum which brings together like-minded individuals, across disciplines, in promoting sustainable and environmental development collaboratively.

My plea to both government and industry is to give us a voice and the ability to act, not a new form of glass ceiling. Will you, UKBCSD, support a forum to help young people, who are starting out on their careers and can offer a rich source of enthusiasm and awareness, to contribute towards these challenges ?