smallStudents on Climate Strike.  The following letter appeared in The Times last Friday.  One of the very many signatories was NAEE trustee, Morgan Phillips:

Sir, Children and young people taking part in the school strikes for climate are to be commended, not ridiculed.  The UN intergovernmental panel on climate change has said that we need to take decisive action now to avoid the worst effects of climate breakdown.  Scorching temperatures, wildfires and floods are already claiming lives around the globe.  As more land becomes inhospitable, the refugee crisis will deepen.  Young people seem to understand the urgency of this issue, while governments continue to drag their feet.  The window for action is rapidly closing, and it is this generation, many not yet old enough to vote, who will have to deal with the consequences of global inaction.  People in this country have a proud tradition of standing up for what’s right, so it is fitting that our school children have taken on that mantle on one of the defining issues of our time

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Resurrection Trust is a collection of “funny, dark, mad, bad, upbeat, downbeat and fantastical” short stories about living sustainably, and is the first output of the Green Story network.   It has a foreword by Caroline Lucas, costs £3.99 / £7.99 and is available here and in all good bookshops.   The book is a source of ideas for those planning to enter any future competitions (novel, screenplay, interactive fiction etc.)  There’s a formal launch on 28th March in Southampton.  Details here.

The next round of the Green Story competitions asks for plays, TV series, radio plays, screenplays, short films,novels and interactive fiction that showcase what a sustainable society might look like.  Stories do not have to be about climate change or sustainability directly, as long as it showcases potential sustainable solutions as suggested on our website.  It’s free to enter, and there are prizes and publication/production opportunities.  Deadlines are June to Dec 2019.  See also: facebook.com/greenstoriessoton   #GreenstoriesUk   greenstories@soton.ac.uk

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The Science Geek says that the Earth receives more energy from the Sun (173,000 TWh) in an hour than the whole of humanity consumes in a year (160,000 TWh).  Click here for more facts about solar energy and details of its future potential.  There are lots of tables, charts and graphs..

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UK-Wildlife (Neil Phillips – Pond Man) has a series of useful links on his website, particularly if you’re interested in wildlife photography.

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Professors Stephen Sterling and Steve Martin wrote to the SHED-SHARE Mail-list last week about an October 2018 report by the Stockholm Resilience Centre [SRC] that has explored the relationship between the 3 environmental SDGs (13, 14 and 15) and the 11 socio-economic ones (1-11) looking at how these might interact in relation to a number of future scenarios.  The report concludes that any success we might have in reaching the eleven socio-economic goals, (if they are the result of conventional economic growth), would make it virtually impossible to reduce the speed of global warming, stop overfishing in the oceans or land degradation, or halt biodiversity loss.

The report concludes that by accelerating economic growth, a number of the goals may be reached but it will be at the expense of the environment.  In other words, we need to acknowledge these trades-off between the socio-economic and the environmental goals.

The report states that “a key challenge lies in the psychology of worldviews. While the adoption of the SDGs is such a positive global act – a true turning point for the entire agenda on world development – we still remain in a world view where ‘Everybody knows, but nobody wants to understand’ the magnitude of the transformation that is needed.”

The SRC says that the only way we will meet most of the goals by 2030 is to adopt a new economic pathway for example:

  • Accelerated renewable energy growth
  • Accelerated productivity in food chains
  • New development models in the poorer countries
  • Active inequality reduction
  • Investments in education for all, gender equality and family planning

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The Science Museum and UNESCO UK invite us to a special Lates [adults-only, after-hours theme nights] event at the Science Museum in London on Wednesday 27 March 2019.  We can join experts from UNESCO World Heritage Sites who will be there to showcase historical treasures and the work they do to make the world a better place.  Discover how technology is helping us reunite lost souls, determine how ancient manuscripts were written, track floods, map the deep sea floor, and chart the earth below us.  Details here.
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The Permaculture Association is looking for speakers and workshop leaders who would like to share their work with the participants at their international conference on July 8th in London.  Plenary talks and workshops on various aspects of permaculture education with children aged 3-12 years, should relate to these themes:
  • Outdoor Learning
  • Learning for Sustainability
  • Closing the poverty related attainment gap
  • Engaging the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities
  • Embedding permaculture into education
  • Case study examples of engaging children in permaculture
  • Examples of activities or sessions in one of the CiP six themes: Introducing Permaculture (learning about the ethics and principles) / Living nature (learning about how nature works) / Design / Growing food / Built environment and resource use / Social permaculture.

More details here.

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The Economist has a special report on water, Thirsty Planet, which has the sub-heading: Climate change and population growth make the world’s water woes more urgent. There are the usual good graphs and charts that the paper is known for and there are sections on: rivers, water disputes, underground sources, desalination, and saving water.  For anyone doing a secondary school project on water this is an excellent source of data, ideas and argument. The final comment is left to Jonathan Farr of WaterAid, who says “Water management – however sustainable, progressive and integrated – has first to concentrate on access. Money is not the binding constraint. Nor is technology. It is a political choice.”

And here’s a quick challenge based on the article: put these in order of how much water it takes to produce 1kg of: chicken tomato cotton chocolate beef. The (perhaps) surprising answer is at the bottom of the page.

NB, for budding historians of science (and others just wanting to know more chemistry), The Economist also has a special 150 anniversary celebration of the birth of the periodic table.  There are now 118 elements in the matrix ending ( so far) with what should be another rare gas Organesson [Og] (although it might be solid at room temperature) whose existence was predicted as far back as 1922.  So far, about 6 atoms have been synthesised.

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The Forestry Commission is “passionate about connecting people with the nation’s forests” and in April it becomes Forestry England.  This rebranding is an opportunity to re-think its education strategy to make it more ambitious and innovative, and ensure that it remains relevant to schools and other formal education groups.  The Commission is looking for a consultant to advise us on how we could shape education within Forestry England.  More details from: Rachel.giles@forestryengland.uk  Proposals must be received by 1200 on Tuesday 2nd April 2019.

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The answers to the Thirsty Planet quick challenge are:

  • chocolate (~17,000 litres)
  • beef (~15,500 litres)
  • cotton (~9,300 litres)
  • chicken (~4,300 litres)
  • tomato (~200 litres)

Source: Institute of Mechanical Engineers; Water Footprint Network