Most Inspirational Young Person

in association with Tesco

WINNER Ellie Hopkins

Ellie Hopkins is a Co-Director of the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC). Over the past year 22 year-old Ellie has been responsible for the actions, campaigns, and finances of a campaign network and a 35-strong team. She raised money so that the UKYCC could join delegates at the 2010 UN climate negotiations in Cancun, and she was heavily involved in the conception and organisation of the group’s Power Shift youth conference (now being rolled out to 20 other European countries). Ellie is also a member of the Youth Advisory Panel for the London 2012 Olympics, working on sustainability as one of eight Sustainability Ambassadors for the Games alongside Dame Ellen McArthur and Jonathan Porritt.

Niel Bowerman

Niel Bowerman has raised awareness of climate change with politicians and his peers. Now aged 24, he began his journey by raising money to have solar panels installed at his London school. He then went on to co-found the Climate Justice Project and Climatico (leading a team of 20 analysts preparing independent reports on climate policy), spoke at the European Parliament on Ethics in Business and was invited to sit on Barack Obama’s Energy and Environmental Policy Committee during the 2008 US Elections. He was also the media liaison officer for the Youth Delegation to the UN’s 2009 climate change summit in Copenhagen. He is now studying Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics at Oxford University.

Ross Harrison

Ross Harrison’s documentary, Beyond the Brink, is a personal account of his quest to discover the reality of climate change. The 40-minute film, made while Ross was 18 and completing his A-levels, features interviews with Sir David Attenborough, Mark Lynas, Oxford University academics, climate campaigners and Ross’s own grandparents (who talk about the effects of the consumer society). Ross, now 19 and at university, raised £2,500 to produce 500 DVDs and set up a website where the film can be watched for free. Ross says: “there needs to be a new message – one that is progressive and inspiring, that separates itself from stereotyped bossy environmentalism, and that speaks aspiration rather than alarm”.

Tom Youngman

Tom Youngman, a 17-year-old from Bath, led the Environmental Action Group at his school for three years, winning two Eco Schools Green Flags. He also co-founded Green Vision, a forum for local schools to learn from one another and plan action on climate change. Tom went on to become a member of the Youth Advisory Panel of the Department for Energy and Climate Change, helping to prepare a report assessing the options for the future of UK energy and their impact on young people and future generations. His teachers describe him as a “natural leader” and “an inspirational young environmentalist”.