The 9th August 2021 is a key date. It is a date that will be marked in history. On this day, the United Nations issued a ‘code red alert for humanity’. I hope that this date will be remembered as a turning point. A point that opened the eyes of world leaders to the impending threat of climate change.
Human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways. Through my 21 year teaching career, the language and content of the curriculum has changed. No longer are we questioning the evidence and talking about possible consequences. We are now living through those consequences and thinking about how best to mitigate the damage.
We are already seeing increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade.
During this summer break, killer floods hit China, but hundreds of people also drowned in parts of Germany and Belgium not used to being inundated. Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. had what climate scientist Zeke Hausfather called “scary” heat that soared to the high 40s degrees Celsius, shattering records and accompanied by unusual wildfires. Southern Europe is seeing unprecedented heat and fire. Richer countries are now joining poorer countries in the extremes of weather created from climate change.
Scientists say a catastrophe can be avoided if the world acts fast. There is hope that deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases could stabilise rising temperatures. Having witnessed how quickly we can be mobilised to act, through covid, the spotlight is now in place to see how leaders will respond.
Not only does government have some key decisions to make, so do schools. How will we respond? How will we support students to make informed choices without creating panic?
Many students will return to NLA completely unaware of the news events that have been reported. Some will have heard snipets and feel they want to do something. Some will feel frustrated and powerless to make any real change.
The Geography Department will making sure that in our first lessons back in school, students will be given a chance to review what has been reported this summer. We will ensure that students understand that young people can be heard. There are a number of ways for social action to be taken, writing to MPs, peacefully organised protest events, with responsible adults (like the one attended in the summer term). There are youth summits in Liverpool, where young people can talk about climate issues. We will also be thinking about what we can do in the run up to COP26 to ensure that the voices of our young people and community are heard.
We will be continuing our work with Action for Conservation. We will also be ready for the next step of our Eco-Schools awards programme, which is to set up our Eco-Committee. The committee will be made up of a range of students and staff from across the school, including the Head Teacher, Catering Manager, Facilities staff, a governor and representatives from as many departments as possible. The Eco-Committee will be student led and will provide a forum to review and monitor our eco initiatives. Once we have set up our initiatives for the new term and displayed our activities on a board, we will be able to apply for our Bronze Award.