NAEE was pleased to receive an honourable mention for its curriculum guides at the launch of the consultation for the OCR Natural History GCSE.  The guides’ careful analysis of the way that the national curriculum provides opportunities for the study of environmental and ecological issues was described as “brilliant work”.  If you’ve not come across these, you can read / download them here.  ∫∫∫

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If you missed the launch of the OCR Natural History consultation, you can follow it here.  It’s sixty minutes long and is a mix of live and video input, a panel discussion and a long string of questions and points made by those attending (virtually).  There were a lot of points which we think will prove a useful source of ideas for those developing the GCSE and preparing it for scrutiny by OfQual.   You can learn more about the consultation process here.

There is now a further period of consultation which ends on July 19th and you can access the OCR survey here.   You can share the consultation across networks and follow the discussion across social media #GCSENaturalHistory   NAEE hopes that there will be a good response to this important development.  ∫∫∫

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To mark World Environment Day last week (5 June) students from the London Schools Eco-Network worked on collaborative initiatives that you will find here – and you will find an article written by two eco-network members here.  Finally, on the World Environment Day theme, a new carbon footprint reduction tool – Giki Zero – has been launched as a guide to sustainable life which its developers say will “measure, track and lighten your footprint”.  ∫∫∫

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Meanwhile, today is World Oceans Day.  To coincide with this, the government has published a review which proposed setting up 46 Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) where all extractive activities, including dredging, sewage dumping, drilling, offshore wind turbine construction and recreational angling will be prohibited.  The review recommends creating pilot HPMAs to explore the issues.  The UK currently has a range of protections in place through a network of 355 Marine Protected Areas, which offer protections for a designated feature or habitat within their boundaries. Highly Protected Marine Areas would go further by taking a ‘whole site approach’ and only permitting certain activities within their boundaries such as vessel transit, scuba diving and kayaking.  Inevitably, not everyone is happy.   ∫∫∫

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Here are some sites with useful World Oceans Day information:

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In its Schools Brief, the Economist  has published the last of 6 weekly articles on the climate.  These will be valuable reminders to those of us who’ve been following these events for 40 years or more, and a sobering story for those relative new to our failed attempts to curb CO2 emissions.  We think that these articles will be useful for older students studying environmental issues in schools, and for their teachers too.  This weeks Brief  argues that climate adaptation policies are needed more than ever as people are already suffering from catastrophic losses as a result of extreme weather events like cyclone Amphan.

This is how it begins:

“On May 16th a telltale anticlockwise spiral of clouds in satellite images taken over the Bay of Bengal warned of impending disaster. Four days later Supercyclone Amphan made landfall, the most powerful storm to do so in the region in 20 years. Winds gusting at up to 185km/h pounded the coast of the Indian state of West Bengal, which took the brunt of the impact. Huge waves swept over the Indian and Bangladeshi coast. Trees were lifted out of the ground, city streets turned to rivers, tens of thousands lost their homes. Yet the number of deaths was relatively low. As of May 27th there had been around 100 overall, though the number could rise as emergency services reach the more remote areas. In Bangladesh there were just over 20.”

And this is how it ends:

“… communities, especially in poorer regions, will suffer catastrophic losses. Many already are. Who pays for the losses and damages is yet another thorn in the side of un climate talks. The calls from more vulnerable nations for international funds to help them foot the bill have fallen on deaf ears. Governments of wealthy nations want no part in any formal text that might contain a whiff of liability.  In the eyes of some, rich governments are not the only guilty parties. In December the Philippines’s Commission on Human Rights declared that events leading to devastating storms like Typhoon Haiyan, which killed thousands of people in 2013, were a violation of human rights. They pointed the finger at fossil-fuel companies and other corporations. The commission claimed these companies could, hypothetically, be held accountable.”   ∫∫∫

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SEED has compiled a list of online resources enabling and empowering children, young people, and adults to learn about sustainability and climate change at home.  Alongside this are resources for teachers of all key stages to aid in teaching environmental and sustainability education online including interactive mixed media websites, online courses, webinars, talks and podcasts, videos, reading and articles, children’s learning resources and teacher resources.    ∫∫∫

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The Every Flower Counts website remains open.  If you haven’t had a chance to submit your data you can do so until today. Please click here.   ∫∫∫

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The Woodcraft Folk have a new range of lockdown activities and live content to engage and connect children and young people across UK.  These include activity ideas and games for all ages to do individually or with others, and there are also session plans and advice for youth leaders, teachers and others running online activities for groups of young people.  #DreamBigAtHome   ∫∫∫

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Countryside Volunteers has created a Facebook group for people to share videos and other useful information around sustainable food growing and healthy eating. There are a number of videos that may be useful for schools or for families continuing to educate at home.   ∫∫∫

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Explorers for the Global Goals! is a new set of activities for both parents and educators of children aged 4-8.  It’s been developed by the World’s Largest Lesson.   ∫∫∫

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There is a vacancy on the BES Board of Trustees for an Early Career Representative.  More details are here.  The deadline for nominations is 1000 on 22 June.  ∫∫∫

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The Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), with its UK and its Italian partners, have agreed new dates for the COP26 UN climate conference.  This will now take place between 1 and 12 November 2021 in Glasgow.  In the run up to November 2021, the UK will continue to work with all involved to increase climate action, build resilience and lower emissions.

COP26 President and Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, said:

“While we rightly focus on fighting the immediate crisis of the Coronavirus, we must not lose sight of the huge challenges of climate change. With the new dates for COP26 now agreed we are working with our international partners on an ambitious roadmap for global climate action between now and November 2021. The steps we take to rebuild our economies will have a profound impact on our societies’ future sustainability, resilience and wellbeing and COP26 can be a moment where the world unites behind a clean resilient recovery.

Everyone will need to raise their ambitions to tackle climate change and the expertise of the Friends of COP will be important in helping boost climate action across the globe.”   ∫∫∫