GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

The voice of the pupil

The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) is encouraging young people to take action to reduce pollution levels in Scotland

The SYP is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. Members of The Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) range in age from 14 to 25 and represent constituencies in all 32 local authorities throughout the country, and several national voluntary organisations. This year the Parliament celebrated its 20th birthday and launched their campaign on environmental protection at their 70th National Sitting in Fife.

Pack it Up, Pack it In aims to empower young people to take action to reduce pollution levels in Scotland. There are three stages to the campaign, starting with research and ending with a grassroots approach to fighting pollution in Scotland. Each will take place over several months, to help the SYP achieve its goals of combating climate change.

During the research phase, which will last from September to December 2019, MSYPs will look to engage their constituents, asking for their opinions and ideas to help build the campaign. They are consulting on a number of issues such as pollution, energy and littering.

“We know that litter is a big contributor to climate change, so through our current consultation, we want to find out young people’s views and recommendations for reducing single-use packaging waste and improving recycling in Scotland.” explained Aaran McDonald MSYP, Convener of Transport, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee. “It is essential that MSYPs engage their local groups and young people and by making sure they are involved at every stage, we can make sure their voices’ are heard loud and clear.”

During the second stage, MSYPs will release a report collating the views of Scotland’s young people. Following the report, the group hopes to outline specific recommendations in line with SYP policy regarding environmental protection. The campaign goals and aims will then help to inform the action to be taken. Emily Harle MSYP, Trustee for Communications and MSYP Support said: “Pack it Up, Pack it In will be entirely shaped by Scottish young people. Young people have been calling for environmental protection action for so long; now is the time to listen to Scotland’s youth voice and take every step we can to prevent climate change.”

In the final phase of the campaign, the SYP aims to take a grassroots approach to action, encouraging as many of Scotland’s young people as possible to take part in national days of action. Although school strikes have been making a statement worldwide, MSYPs want their constituents to get involved in other ways. Creativity is being encouraged, with activities such as video making, joining Twitter campaigns, attending local conservation events or going plastic free for a set time. Partner organisations are also expected to get involved. “We want to do one thing – make it clear to our decision makers,” explained Liam Fowley MSYP, Trustee for Conveners’ Group. “We Care. We are aware. We want a clean, green and happy nation for us to grow up in.”


  • Every month, SYP will hold one action day when MSYPs will encourage their constituents to take an individual action which will contribute to national changes.
  • There will be two action weeks, in March and October 2020, with more opportunities for young people to get involved in local and national actions.