smallLEEF will be editing a special edition of NAEE’s journal Environmental Education later this year.  It will have a focus on urban environmental education, celebrating 30 years of LEEF and showcasing the best projects and thinking across the network.  LEEF soon be inviting contributions for abstracts.

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A report from the Committee on Climate Change calls UK homes unfit for the challenges of climate change.  It writes:

The technology and knowledge to create high quality, low-carbon and resilient homes exists, but current policies and standards are failing to drive either the scale or the pace of change needed.  Home insulation installations have stalled; key policies, like the ‘zero carbon homes’ scheme, have been weakened or withdrawn; policies to encourage property-level flood protection, water efficiency devices and window shading are weak or non-existent;  UK building standards are inadequate, overly complex and not enforced; and local authorities, faced with insufficient resources, are largely failing to address the need for low-emission, climate change resilient homes.

It said:

“… no new homes should connect to the gas grid from 2025 at the latest. Instead, new homes should make use of low-carbon heating systems such as heat pumps and low-carbon heat networks.”

It had nothing to say about the education programme that will be needed to help the public understand the changes it envisages.

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In December 2018, NUS, in partnership with Green Schools Project, surveyed students in primary and secondary schools in England.  2,990 pupils – across England in year 5 and 6 in primary school and across all years in secondary and sixth form colleges – completed an online survey on their views on environmental sustainability.

Findings include:

  • 56% say they have learnt lots or quite a bit about the environment at their current school or college
  • 68% are interested in learning more about the environment
  • 86% agree that all schools and colleges should be doing things to help the environment
  • 85% agree that all schools and colleges should be encouraging and helping “pupils like me” to do things to help the environment
  • 49% say they would like to be involved with projects or activities at their school or college that help the environment

To read the full report including details of the methodology, and to learn more about NUS’s wide-ranging sustainability work, click here.

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The Green Schools Project has responsed to the Ofsted consultation on its revised inspection framework.  This is how it begins:

The new Ofsted framework is a big step in the right direction towards a more holistic approach to education and away from a narrow focus on exam results.  Good environmental education can be used as evidence for many aspects of the new framework, but we think it would be a game changer if it was explicit about actively looking for and reporting on students contributing positively to the natural world.”

You can read the full response here.  NAEE will be responding this week and our comment will be reported on our blog tomorrow.  We hope to include other submissions as they become available.

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Here’s a link to an Environmental Law Foundation blog by Tabea Wilkes who look at the youth movement against climate change and asks what legal possibilities there are to hold governments to account for our children’ futures.  Here’s an extract about Wales:

In the UK, a step towards ensuring the safeguarding of future generations has come not in the form of case law, but in legislation.  In 2015, the Welsh Government here in the UK passed a progressive bill.  The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act imposes a positive obligation on public bodies to consider the well-being of future generations, making it the first law of its kind in the world to incorporate an obligation to consider sustainable development in all decision making.  Although it does not refer to it explicitly, as Paul Davies and Michael Green of Latham Watkins argue, the Act reflects the essence of the Public Trust Doctrine.  Amongst other things, it establishes a statutory Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, a post taken up by Sophie Howe in 2016, who acts as legal guardian for the future generations of Wales.”

The STEM Adventure programme, based at the White Hall Outdoor Education Centre, Derbyshire, aims to inspire young people at Key Stages 2 and 3 (ages 7-14) to take up STEM subjects and inspire them towards STEM careers.  It consists of 3 elements:

  • Outdoor and adventurous activity that explores the STEM curriculum (with a focus on physics)
  • An inspiring industrial visit
  • A presentation back at school.
For more information, contact Dan Riley at the White Hall Outdoor Education Centre: dan.riley@derbyshire.gov.uk
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As part of the Step up to Serve campaign, Trees for Cities has made a series of pledges for 2019-22:

  • Engage 3,000 children and young people to plant urban trees, empowering them to have a positive impact on the environment and community
  • Create a #GenerationTree movement; empower young people to talk about their experiences of social action and the impact it has had on them and their community
  • Create the opportunity for 50,000 children to eat food they have grown themselves in an Edible Playground
  • Celebrate young people who volunteer with Trees for Cities; create a steering group for young people to have a voice in decision making and to hone our approaches and thinking
  • Nominate children and young people as #iwill4nature ambassadors to represent the work they’ve done through Trees for Cities

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The #iwill campaign aims to bring together organisations from all sectors to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people in the UK.  Action includes activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which have a double-benefit – to communities and young people themselves.  Currently 40% of  young people between 10 and 20 get involved in activities that make a positive difference, and research indicates that almost double this number would take part if they had the chance.  There’s more detail here.

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The Big Spring Beach Clean takes place on April 7th.  This is the UK’s biggest beach clean event, mobilising over 30,000 community volunteers at locations nationwide.  Evidence shows that over 70% of plastic pollution comes from the land, meaning that we can all be beach clean volunteers wherever we are.  Alongside removing plastic from the natural spaces around us, volunteers can help us conduct the UK’s biggest ever Plastic Pollution Audit to help further track and tackle plastic pollution to stop it at source.  For more information, click here.

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The Loch Arkaig Osprey Cam is now live.  You can watch here (but there are no birds yet).