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Faith Miller, a 17-year old schoolgirl living in Baldock took part in a national live debate at the House of Parliament on Thursday 18 November 2010.

Faith –  a sixth form pupil at Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge –  was given the daunting task of opening a two hour high-level discussion entitled “Carbon Cycling – the Missing Link in the Carbon Debate?”  The debated focused on the plausibility of recovering the world’s deserts with trees.

Organised as part of Global Enterprise Week, the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group meeting attracted over 100 attendees and was led by Hertfordshire-based grass roots pressure group FREdome.  A delegation of 8 young people, including science students from around Hertfordshire, sat as a panel listening to the proceedings. A number of eminent soil scientists, environmentalist and representatives from tree charities and the shipping industry contributed to the discussions.

As a member of the FREdome Visionary Trust environmental youth group, Faith took part in an environmental film competition last year. Their successful entry was shown both at Copenhagen 2009, and afterwards at the UK Houses of Parliament, so rubbing shoulders with MPs and top brass did not faze Faith. In her speech she expressed the hopes and fears of all the young people present saying:
“Young people were not allowed to be present at Copenhagen when discussing our future so we are really glad to be here this evening with all of you to take action on something so important. We can’t wait to see what happens. “

All professors attending the debate including representatives from the Universities of Reading, Sheffield, Liverpool John Moores, Gloucestershire and Southampton pledged to support the project by forming a scientific panel  – meeting one of the key objectives of the meeting. Other attendees including experienced consultants in waste water management and irrigation have also offered their support to help investigate the viability of a solution.

Speaking in praise of Faith and the other young people who attended and spoke at the debate, FREdome founder Greg Peachey   said, “Faith’s presence made such a difference to the meeting. I thought the event went really well, provoking a lot of interest and discussion.”

Faith is a budding scientist studying mathematics, biology and chemistry at ‘A’ level and has applied to read biomedical science at Manchester University.

Having never spoken in public before, Faith found her courage from being with her young friends, and her belief in the importance of desert recovery and forestation. She says,
“I think it’s an important issue. It’s the world that we are going to inherit and without our forests the world will go to ruin. We‘ve got to stop it before it does!”

The chair of the debate was the Rt Hon Katy Clark MP.  It took place at 6 pm at the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House.

–    Ends    –

For further information about Faith please contact Suzanne Watts, FREdome Visionary Trust local supporter communications on 01442 398466 or 07745 962883.

For further information about FREdome and the Parliamentary debate contact Anna Zachariassen, Thrive Media Services Limited, 07949 924303

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