WATCH: A message to the COP26 world leaders from Birmingham’s citizens of the future

Children, young people and clinicians from the Midlands are cycling to highlight the importance of successful COP26 discussions

West Midlanders are adding their support to NHS riders going from London to Glasgow to raise awareness of the health impacts of climate change - starting with air pollution and the air quality crisis - ahead of world leaders gathering in Glasgow for the climate changes talks at COP26.

Ride for their Lives sees staff and patients from six children’s hospitals across the country taking part and handing over letters to political representatives once they arrive in Scotland.

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Brum cyclists joined the team to take part in a mini journey from Birmingham Children’s Hospital to Millennium Point earlier this week

Youngsters aged as young five had plenty of tips they were keen to pass on to the leaders about how they think climate change should be tackled.

We also spoke to the health specialists taking part in the journey.

Ride for their Lives arrives in Birmingham

What did Ride for your Live participants say?

Imogen Raxter (age 5)

“Use your bikes more, or if you don’t have a bike, walk to work, if you can - instead of going in your car.”

Dr Christoper Chiswell, Public Health Consultant, Birmingham Children’s Hospital

“What we’ve got today is ride for your lives - a joint symbol from across the UK health professionals from all of the leading children’s hospitals, plus other national bodies raising the importance of just how vital the COP26 negotiations are for the future of this planet and the patients that we care for every day.

“We have got a history in making sure the voice of children and young people is heard. They are often way ahead of us in terms of what the priorities should be and I think it’s really clear the expectation of future generations on all those who are going to gather in Glasgow, that this really is the vital time for change to happen.

“We know that climate change is already happening. We’ve done so much damage already to this eco system. And therefore we need to be doing everything we can as soon as possible to change that. And that’s certainly why we want to support them in raising their voice and taking that voice to Glasgow.

Dr Christoper Chiswell Public Health Consultant, Birmingham Children’s Hospital

Dr Mike McKean, Children’s Specialist, Great North Hospital

“We have seen a lot of kids, with illnesses that we now think are very much related to climate change.

For me as a respiratory specialist I see a lot of kids with asthma and we are seeing more so, and we are seeing some of them really sick with it - and sadly even dying.”

James Dixon, Associate Director of Sustainability, Newcastle Hospice

“What we’d really like is the world’s leaders to take climate action seriously.

“Health is affected by climate breakdown and we want them to take it seriously and not just come up with longer range targets that are not going to deliver on action now.

“The people least responsible for climate breakdown are actually the ones suffering the most.”

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