COPON Festival in Dublin

Advocate for a better future


Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to do more to fight against climate change? Are you interested in finding new ways to live a more sustainable life? Then the Youth Climate Ambassador role is for you! Our ambassadors engage with climate and environmental policy and decision makers, connect with other climate activists globally, help promote the voices of those most impacted by climate change, and inspire other young people to take climate action in their local communities.

Meet Dearbhla Richardson

Concern Youth climate ambassador Dearbhla Richardson

People often disengage with climate action because it is hard to find time to act given the socioeconomic pressures they are under. My main aim is to encourage these people not to lose hope, and that no matter what they are doing, they can contribute to a better world for everyone.

Dearbhla Richardson - Youth Climate Ambassador, Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide’s Youth Climate Ambassador Dearbhla Richardson began her role by visiting communities in Kenya which are working to adapt to some of the harshest impacts of climate change.

Dearbhla is from Cobh, Co. Cork, and is in the final year of her degree in International Development at UCC, where she is also Environmental and Sustainability Representative on the Students’ Union. In addition, Dearbhla is also a climate justice advocate with Fridays For Future. 

Her role as Youth Climate Ambassador is to engage young Irish people on climate change and climate justice issues, and Concern’s climate work. She plans to do this through talks, workshops and other events over the coming year.

“I hope to encourage young people to get involved where they can. People often disengage with climate action because it is hard to find time to act given the socioeconomic pressures they are under,” she said. “My main aim is to encourage these people not to lose hope, and that no matter what they are doing, they can contribute to a better world for everyone.”

Dearbhla said policy and systematic change was needed.  “Everyone should do the best they can with the capacity they have.  But policy and systemic change is needed to make it easier for people to a sustainable life,” she said.

In her first task as Youth Climate Ambassador, Dearbhla visited families in Turkana who are radically restructuring the way they live in the wake of the worst drought in 40 years. The drought ravaged the region, destroying crops and livestock, and contributing to soaring levels of hunger and malnutrition.

“During my time in Turkana, we met with communities facing the direct consequences of climate change,” she said. “We met families who had to change their entire way of living due to the prolonged droughts, where some areas had gone without rain for two years, to the point where there was no moisture in the soil.

“We spoke to men who had been traditional pastoralists, who had lost all of their livestock. They were incredibly truthful about feeling a loss of purpose. Pastoralism has been a traditional way of living in this region for thousands of years.

“We also met with some women who are having very successful harvests, using climate smart agriculture techniques.  Because of this new source of income, they can now manage to afford to send their children to school, and also have enough food for the family to eat.”

Dearbhla’s biggest takeaway from the trip was the willingness of the Turkana people to adapt and their resourcefulness.  “They knew exactly what was required to adapt, but need funding to do it,” she said. “They all had specific requests, none of which were extreme or unreasonable – such as access to clean drinking water, soap or fencing to keep their school or crops safe.  They just needed the funding.”

Jenny Salmon

Concern youth climate ambassador Jenny Salmon

I may not be a climate expert, but I do know this: some of the poorest people in the world are suffering the effects of climate change, despite the fact that they have contributed to it the least.

Jenny Salmon - Former Youth Climate Ambassador

Concern's first Youth Climate Ambassador Jenny Salmon brought climate action messages collected from Irish people to COP27.

The Trinity College Dublin law student from Bray, Co. Wicklow travelled to the climate conference in Egypt in November 2022 after being appointed as youth climate ambassador while studying law at Trinity College Dublin. Here, she got to engage with other young climate activists and climate justice leaders and hear first hand experience from people tackling climate change head on, as well as speaking to politicians and lawmakers. 

In addition, Jenny saw how Concern Worldwide is building climate resilience and addressing the impacts of climate change through our programmes, and represented the organisation at our inaugural COPON! Festival in Dublin, where she collected messages from Irish young people to bring to COP27. 

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