The latest issue of FORUM includes contributions from authors whose ages range from 10 to 24. In it, they present their concerns, ideas and activities. The authors are: Daisy Coltman (18); Belmiro Costa (19); Lily Dunn (10); Brianna Fruean (20); Lucy Gibbons (16) – with Shannon Jackson (24), Annwen Thurlow (17), Harry Berry (17), Phoebe Cookson (17) and Cherry Tucker (13) – Stanley Hibberd (10); Clover Hogan (20); Ahelee Rahman (14); Hazel Singh (16); Jude Daniel Smith (15); and Anna Taylor (17).

A few other articles are written by adults: teachers, parents, academics, activists, an artist and a film-maker. Some argue for change in educational provision, policy and practice, and for guidance, to support schools and teachers in a time of climate crisis. Others report on practical climate-related projects undertaken with young people in schools, which FORUM says, provide models of practice to inspire and replicate.

The guest editor was Izzy Lewis (16), working with Lucy Gibbons (16) and Lara Hynes (16). Izzy (from Cheney School, Oxford) led a successful petition, hosted by herself, Lucy Gibbons, Rasha Alsouleman and Kamila Chamcham in 2019, demanding more focus on climate change in the curriculum and more sustainable schools. Our Chair of Trustees commented on this last May .The editorial, Education in a Time of Climate Crisis, was written by Lewis and is fully available here. This is how it begins:

“On 28 August 2018, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg left her school and staged a climate protest outside the Swedish Parliament. This was the beginning of the global School Strike 4 Climate, which has seen millions of children walk out of school in a desperate attempt to change the world’s attitude towards climate change. Over the past two years, the Fridays for Future movement, led by Greta and other young climate activists, has grown into a force to be reckoned with and is changing the way the world sees the youth. Thanks to the stoic determination of Greta and the School Strike 4 Climate, world leaders are starting to realise that they simply cannot avoid taking action any longer. At the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit, Greta held the most powerful leaders of the world accountable with her heart-wrenching speech:

“How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words … We are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

Greta’s speech was inspirational yet sad – it shows a girl who has had to give up her education and childhood for the future of our planet, a girl who has taken it upon herself to make the world a better place and, despite being only 15, has managed to make her voice heard. As a 16-year-old climate activist myself, this speech means a lot; it is a symbol of a changing world where all viewpoints are valid, no matter your status or age, and, on a more personal level, it gives me hope that I too can make a difference. Greta has empowered our generation by giving us the role model we so desperately needed – a person with integrity, morals and the belief that the world can be a better place. To see a child become one of the most influential people in the world is at the same time a tragedy and an inspiration. She is right – she should be in school living a normal life – and the fact that she has had to give up that normal life to make herself heard is a nod to the scale of the problem we face. Despite the tragedy of her sacrifice, Greta has managed to achieve enough influence to actually make a difference, becoming a figurehead for our generation who inspires many children, myself included. …

Abstracts of all the articles can be found here. You will need a subscription to read them.

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