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Sabrina Hassan,  an 11 year old schoolgirl living in Gadebridge,  took part in a national live debate at the House of Parliament on Thursday 18 November 2010.

Sabrina – a year 7 student at Thomas Coram Church of England School in Berkhamsted – joined a panel of 8 young people, including science students from around Hertfordshire to listen and comment on a two hour high-level discussion entitled “Carbon Cycling – the Missing Link in the Carbon Debate?”  The debate focused on the plausibility of recovering the world’s deserts with excess sewage exported from European shores.

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 number of eminent soil scientists, environmentalist and representatives from tree charities and the shipping industry contributed to the discussions.

The youth panel‘s job was to listen to the adults debating, and then sum up the debate with their views on how helpful and constructive it had been.

The meeting was successful in that all the scientist and professors attending the debate pledged to support the project by forming a scientific panel. However the children were not impressed by two of the objections raised:

a) that we need our own sewage so we can’t export it, and;
b) that there could be a war which would stop the process.

Sabrina summed up her frustrations in a discussion with adults after the debate:

“I just want to say to people to stop worrying. Look – there’s plenty of sewage to go round. And really – there will only be a war if we make a war!”

FREdome founder Greg Peachey, said:

“The children’s presence made such a difference to the meeting – they showed how adults try to think of reasons not to try new things. I thought the event went really well, provoking a lot of interest and discussion.”

Dancer Sabrina joined the FREdome Visionary Trust environmental youth team after she won a talent competition organised by the group in Watford in May. Then in July this year she took part in a Quaker Peace and Social Witness Conference in Derbyshire with her family, where she learned about how people in India are trying to preserve their livelihoods by preventing logging of forested areas.

She said :

“People need to know about how the super – tankers could take sewage to where they need it to help to grow the trees again!”

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 Sabrina 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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