Climate change has long been at the forefront of popular debate, and as people grow ever more conscious of the crisis the debate seems only to be intensifying.
Recently, the biggest change in the discussion is that it is increasingly being led by young people – and rightlyso, since it impacts their future more than any other age group.
Young people like Greta Thunberg and the less-known Boyan Slat have had a big impact on political agendas worldwide, and the latter has helped to pave the way forward in technological development. Both of these activists have been eﬀecting positive change at an impressively tender age.
These trailblazers are exceptional. However, it will be the next generation of engineers and scientists who will develop solutions to ultimately banish the spectre of global warming looming over our political and industrial consciousness. Despite the clear “call to arms”, in the UK there is a major lack of STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and maths – which cost industry around £1.5 billion a year. Moreover, the number of STEM roles required is expected to double in the next 10 years.
Industry is therefore increasingly involved in providing and supporting solutions to the STEM skills shortage, with organisations helping to facilitate links between companies and local schools, such as STEM Learning and charities including the Smallpeice Trust.
During my time on the Nucleargraduates scheme, I worked with a team of fellow graduates to write a children’s book, called Planet One. The intention was to introduce the diﬀerent methods of energy generation and their relative eﬀects on the environment to primary school aged children. We aimed to create an engaging narrative, interspersed with accessible fact pages and an unbiased view of each generation method, in order to engage our young audience. We then marketed the books as a way for STEM and energy focused businesses to facilitate interaction with local schools.
The proceeds from sales were donated to STEM charitiessuch as the Smallpeice Trust. Since May 2019, and at the time of writing, this incentive has raised almost £7,000 and, more importantly, it has reached more than 2,000 schoolchildren. We hope this will encourage andinspire them to be the next generation atthe forefront of energy generation and STEM subjects.
Willem Dane is a nuclear engineer in his 20s working in British industry.