smallJust before Easter, school children in Cumbria came together for a climate change summit.  It was held at the University of Cumbria and organised by Robert Ferguson Primary School in Carlisle.  Thirty schools attended the summit which was an opportunity to hear what young people are concerned about, and what they think businesses, local councils and national government should be doing.

The school website shows a copy of a report on the event in Carlisle’s News & Star, and this link takes you to the newspaper article itself: “Climate change debate: Young people in Cumbria have their say“.   And here’s a link to a video of part of the event.

Graham Frost, headteacher of Robert Ferguson School, organised the event to give young people who were worried about the realities of climate change a voice to ask what is being done about it.  He said: “This is an opportunity for them to express what they, and their peers are feeling and thinking.  My hope is that this is just the start of a new phase in youth voice on climate change.”

Graham has written tomorrow’s blog which goes into detail about what he thinks needs to be happening.

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The Weekly Challenge that was set on 22nd April was to complete the sentence (or essay)  “I’m Not Just A Consumer, I …”.  This recognised and celebrated Earth Day and the challenge was posed by environmental charity Global Action Plan and innovation consultants New Citizenship Project who think that the term “consumer” has a lot to answer for.

What would you have written (and done!)?  Although Earth Day has passed, it’s not too late for the challenge.  We think that this is an idea that could be used in a lot of contexts including schools.  Certainly the challenge of being an ethical consumer at a time when we need to take care of the Earth’s finite resources is a good one to pose, particularly as so much of the economy and jobs are consumer-based.

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LEEF is looking for contributions to NAEE’s journal which [i] reflect the diverse audiences of LEEF as well as the practice and provision of environmental education in urban areas, and [ii] have an emphasis on writing from the practitioner’s perspective. The articles should aim to explore one or more of the following:

  1. Best practice in urban environmental education in the UK;
  2. Innovation and future-looking approaches that speak to the next 30 years urban environmental education practice;
  3. Ways in which urban environmental education can support, engage or positively impact young people and the environment or communities and contribute to addressing inequalities.

The journal will be distributed during the LEEF Urban Environmental Education conference in October, and will be sent to NAEE members.  Abstracts (~ 200 words) are due by 22nd May, and the deadline for full articles 1st August (~ 800 words).   across the UK.   Further details can be found here and please get in touch if you have any questions.

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Here’s a link to a report by the Centre for Alternative Technology [CAT] on whether reaching net zero by 2025 is possible or not.  The reports suggests that whilst technically it might just be possible, it’s likely that the required cultural and political shift will render it impossible.  See what you think.

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Friday’s email update from Climate Action had, in addition to bad news about global deforestation, two contrasting stories about the UK:  UK breaks coal-free power record over bank holiday weekend   and   Greta Thunberg tells UK leaders ‘You did not act in time’  You can subscribe here.

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CUSP has launched a competition to broaden the range of authors and topics in new nature writing for the common good.  They are calling for content from unpublished writers and the best will appear in an online collection. The closing date is 17th June 2019.  CUSP says:

Are you interested in nature and in writing about nature?  Do you think nature writing can help us understand more about environmental threats from habitat loss to climate change—and inspire people to take action on them?  And what does ‘nature writing’ have to say about sense of place, community and the good life?  Are there aspects of our relationship with our environments that nature writing has neglected?

Details here.

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The Geographical website has a feature on how Orkney is using surplus electricity generated from wind energy to produce hydrogen (by electrolysis).  This is then used to fuel transport in Kirkwall, the capital.  There are plans to use hydrogen to run the inter-island ferries.

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University of Bath documentary, produced and directed by researcher Dr Roy Maconachie and videographer Simon Wharf, has won the Learning on Screen Best Educational Film Award 2019  for their 2018 documentary ‘Voices from the mine: Artisanal diamonds and resource governance in Sierra Leone’.

Their 33-minute film was shot on location in Sierra Leone and Belgium chronicles the journey of artisanal diamonds and the people involved, from the mine shaft right through to the shop window.  This is the second time Dr Maconachie and Simon Wharf have teamed up and been recognised for their work. They were presented with the same award in 2017 for their film ‘Gender and Fairtrade’ exploring the lives of female cocoa farmers in Ghana.

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If you were alarmed by the recent news item that insects might well be extinct in a hundred years, you should listen to the BBC’s More or Less (Friday 25th April) which will put your mind at rest.  We’ll not ruin the thrilling story that emerges, but it seems that the journal which published the story has questions to answer.

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NAAEE has opened the search to find 30 game-changing leaders under 30 who are using environmental education to build a sustainable future for all.  The EE 30 Under 30 Class of 2019 will join a growing alumni network of inspiring environmental education leaders and receive ongoing opportunities to network, grow professionally, and promote their work.  NAAEE will host a webinar about the program and application process on May 8th at 1000 ET.  By registering here, you will also receive the webinar recording.  Please contact Nina Hamilton nina@naaee.org with any questions.

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NAAEE also has a Global Survey on Sustainability and the SDGs whose objective is to inquire about people’s personal and professional perspective on the status of sustainability in their country, as well as their knowledge, acceptance and expectations of the SDGs.  This includes assessing the perception and need for action in various sectors worldwide, e.g. politics, academia, business and civil society.  The survey is here.