IT has become the issue of the moment - especially for young people.

More than 60 youngsters from across Cumbria attended the first ever Youth Climate Summit at University of Cumbria on Thursday afternoon.

They represented 30 schools as they attempted to make their voices - and worries - heard over the issue of climate change.

In impassioned presentations to other students, councillors, activists and teachers they urged people to consider the problems they will face in the future if Governments fail to act now.

“I think it’s a horrible thing, it’s making this world population go down quite fast and I’m kind of worried about it quite honestly,” said 10-year-old Theodore Hailwood, from Kingmoor Junior School in Carlisle.

Each school discussed different issues that worried them, the most common of which seemed to be; single-use plastics, flooding, deforestation, ocean pollution, and habitat destruction.

“It’s a really big problem and it seems really dramatic but it could happen, it’s really serious,” said Olivia Dennis, nine, from Great Corby School.

The children spoke about what they think can be done to prevent these issues and what they are doing to make a difference. Many schools spoke about removing plastic straws and plastic cups, others spoke about planting trees.

Gill Johnson, director for climate change organisation Wicked Weather Watch, said: “It really gives youth a chance to voice their opinions. In many ways they’re more aware of the issues of climate change than adults and I think its absolutely critical that they’re heard and have the chance to speak out.”

Graham Frost, headteacher at Robert Ferguson School in Carlisle, organised the event as a way to give young people who were worried about the realities of climate change a voice to ask what is being done about it.

He said: “This is an opportunity for them to express what they, and their peers are feeling and thinking.

“My hope is that this is just the start of a new phase in youth voice on climate change.”

Over the course of the three-hour conference, the children managed to organise among themselves to set in motion plans for an inter-school youth alliance to discuss climate change to help take coordinated action.

Students from Cockermouth School made the first move and soon they were joined by students from Ullswater Community College, North Cumbria Home School and Energy Coast UTC.

Clare Rodger, 14, and Isabella Bridgeman, 14, both from Cockermouth School, were enthusiastic about using the summit to mobilise people.

“There is such diversity in ages so we can talk to university students, primary students, and everyone will have different ideas and everyone will be interested in different things and be able to do different amounts,” said Clare.

Isabella said: “I think that its important to do something about climate change, and to get all the schools working together is going to be the best thing to do to make an impact in our local area.”

Celia Tibble, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for the environment, was one of two councillors invited to the event.

She said: “I think it’s important that we listen to children’s ideas because children often have ideas because they don’t think in the structured way that we’ve been taught to.

“It’s important because in my day we didn’t do anything about climate change, we didn’t know it was an issue and that is probably why we are where we are now.”

Hazel Graham, chief executive of Cumbria Action for Sustainability, has been working as an environmental professional for 15 years. She was moved by the speeches she heard, so much so that she was keen to set up the next climate summit.

She spoke about how young people can mobilise and educate people in climate change.

She said educating people about the issue was key.

“I think they are very social media savvy; so getting a following on social media, talking about the issues on social media, having events and assemblies and lesson plans about it,” she said.

Colin Glover, leader of Carlisle City Council, spoke to the audience after all the children had presented their cases.

“Keep making your voices heard,” he told the youngsters.

“Because that is what is really important to make sure people like us, like Government, listen and actually take action.”

Alfie Pearson, from Wigton Infant School, touched the hearts of everyone when he said: “Sometimes I think we’ve let the world down and we can’t do anything about it.”