1 The UK Youth Climate Summit launches today with 163 free online sessions for primary and secondary students. This is the largest and most ambitious environmental education event run in the UK for decades. Thanks to Global Action Plan and over 50 teachers & organisations from across the UK. Registration and programme details are here.
The Closing Finale expert panel on Friday [ 1400 to 1530 ] is hosted by Global Action Plan Trustee, Clover Hogan. Panel members are: Nigel Topping, UK High Level Climate Action Champion Emily Grossman, Science communicator and broadcaster Daniel Kebede, Senior Vice President of the National Education Union (NEU) Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Responsibility, LEGO Graham Frost, Headteacher, Robert Ferguson Primary School, Carlisle Mya Rose-Craig, ornithologist and campaigner.
2 Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK) is hosting Mock COP26 between the 19th November and the 1st December. This is a youth led, youth run, online conference that will show the world what would happen if young people were the decision makers. It will be following a similar structure to the postponed COP26 climate summit to raise the ambition of our leaders when it comes to tackling the climate emergency. SOS-UK is an educational charity created by students and staff at NUS in response to the climate emergency and ecological crisis. It sets out to support students to learn, act and lead for sustainability. It says:
“By making sustainability part of everyday life across universities and colleges, we support students in adopting responsible behaviours which last long beyond their time in education. We want all students to leave education as part of the solutions to our social, economic and environmental challenges. That’s why we work to get sustainable development into the curriculum of every student across every discipline. All students’ unions should be hubs of sustainability at the heart of their wider community. We help students to thrive as global citizens, as active participants in society and democracy, and as future leaders on sustainability.”
3 In its Let’s go Zero campaign, Ashden has joined forces with a range of sustainability partners to launch a national campaign and unite UK schools pledging to become zero carbon by 2030. Ashden says:
“It only takes a few moments to join Let’s Go Zero 2030, the national campaign demanding government backing for zero carbon schools. Every school that signs up is pledging to work towards a more sustainable future, while also urging the government to support this vital mission. It’s time to prove that pupils, parents, teachers and governors are united in demanding change. By raising our voices together, we are showing the overwhelming support for zero carbon schools up and down the UK – and how they can be the spark for community action to tackle the climate crisis.”
4 Here are links to two recently produced reports from the Wildlife Trusts. The first is a Good practice guide on putting young people in the lead and the second is a summary of findings the Our Bright Future research project carried out by ERS and Collingwood Environmental Planning: Support for Young People to Work in the Environmental Sector. This was commissioned by Our Bright Future to consider the need to establish long-term support from government and funders, for employment and training schemes that give young people the opportunity to secure meaningful employment in the environmental sector.
5 Teach the Future celebrated its first birthday by sending (yet another) letter to Gavin Williamson. And Scarlett Westbrook, a staff member at Teach the Future, won the IPPR Big Idea debate by pitching about what Teach the Future is arguing for. You can see the whole webinar here.
6 A Policy paper on Nature Recovery Network [NRN] was published on October 21 October. The NRN will be a national network of wildlife-rich places. The aim is to expand, improve and connect these places across our towns, cities and countryside and is a commitment in the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. See this for further details, including objectives.
7 Natural England commissioned research to understand the perspective of children and young people relating to nature during Covid-19, as asking children about their experiences directly is important to provide young people with a greater stake in and voice about the natural environment. 1,501 children, aged between 8-15 in England, participated in an online survey between 6th-18th August 2020. The main findings are here. These include:
- 83% of children agreed that being in nature made them very happy.
- 73% of children from households with annual income below £17,000 spent less time outdoors, compared with 57% from households with an annual income above £17,000.
- Children who reported spending more time outside (and more time noticing nature / wildlife) were more likely to report that ‘being in nature makes me very happy’ (91% and 94% respectively, compared to 79% of those who had spent less time).
- Since the lockdown, 81% of children stated that they had spent less time outside with friends. 70% of children said that, in the future when things start to get back to normal, they want to spend more time outdoors with friends, and 44% reported wanting more time outdoors at school.
8 Sean Carson was a pioneer of early environmental education in England. He was the County Advisor for rural studies and then environmental education in Hertfordshire and edited NAEE’s Environmental Education from 1972 to 1978 – having been the editor of the journal of NAEE’s precursor: the National Rural and Environmental Studies Association. Carson was a driving force behind the creation of the pioneering 1970s A level Environmental Studies examination for the Associated Board, and author of Environmental Studies, the construction of an ‘A’ level Syllabus that was published by NFER in 1971. It is still available from ERIC. You can read more about Carson’s insights and forthright style here in the latest in a series of histories of environmental education by our chair of trustees.
9 This week sees the publication of a new book from NAEE member Paul Vare and our Chair of Trustees, William Scott. Its title is: Learning, Environment and Sustainable Development; a history of ideas. This is what the publishers say:
“This book is an introduction to the long history of human learning, the environment and sustainable development – about our struggles with the natural world: first for survival, then for dominance, currently for self-preservation, and in future perhaps, even for long-term, mutually beneficial co-existence. It charts the long arc of human–environment relationships through the specific lens of human learning, putting on record many of the people, ideas and events that have contributed, often unwittingly, to the global movement for sustainable development.
Human learning has always had a focus on the environment. It’s something we’ve been engaged in ever since we began interacting with our surroundings and thinking about the impacts, outcomes and consequences of our actions and interactions. This unique story told by the authors is episodic rather than a connected, linear account; it probes, questions and re-examines familiar issues from novel perspectives, and looks ahead. The book is of particular interest to those studying (and teaching) courses with a focus on socio-economic and environmental sustainability, and non-governmental organisations whose work brings them face-to-face with the general public and social enterprises.”
10 London Climate Action Week this year runs from 14 to 20 November, with free online events examining some of the biggest sustainability challenges in the UK and beyond. This is an annual event bringing together world leading array of climate professionals and communities. It has 4 themes: [i] a Green, Fair and Resilient Recovery; [ii] a Roadmap to COP 26/Glasgow; [iii] Building a Sustainable, Net Zero London; [iv] a Whole of Society Climate Mobilisation.
11 BES asks whether the UK’s current protected areas fit for purpose, or is a new system needed to remain effective in a changing world? You can Join the discussion with the BES Climate Change SIG at their workshop this January. Find out more here.