Schools show the way at Climate Conference

by Harriet Lamb, Vice-Chair of SE24

Abyan Farooq is ten years old and a right chatterbox who goes to a special school for the visually and hearing impaired in Liverpool – where they have put climate right at the centre of their curriculum. It’s just one of over 460 schools who have signed up to the coalition campaign www.letsgozero.org for all our schools to reach zero carbon by 2030.

Also backing the campaign are a number in South East London who will be gathering at an exciting event, supported by SE24 among many others, on 9th October to share what actions they are taking already – and to call on the Government to give them the support they need to reach zero carbon. It’s a crucial time to have some influence as world leaders prepare to gather for the COP26 climate talks to be held in the UK.

As Abyan Farooq in Liverpool explains: ‘It makes me feel very bad that we’re actually burning fossil fuels and making this earth hotter and sometimes killing the animals and trees”.

“It just makes me feel a bit upset and makes me want to do something to try and save the planet.”

Abyan stresses that we should all be doing something about this: “I’d say get out and do something. Visually impaired and blind people here are doing something, you better do it. Save our planet.”

At Abyan’s school, as at many schools across South East London and right around the country, children are growing food; debating if everyone should go veggie; planting wild flowers and growing green walls to clean up the air.

Some schools are saving rainwater or cutting waste while others are reducing meat in the schools meals – all part of a growing movement of schools, responding as best they can to the calls of young people. By joining the Let’s Go Zero campaign, schools commit to take action across 8 areas from curriculum to their energy systems.

To find out more about the schools Let’s Go Zero campaign, go here: www.letsgozero.org

At SE24, we always wanted to power up local schools which is why we are so excited about our solar panels on Dulwich College rooves – as well as our latest adventures with Charter School. We’ve also branched out into helping schools switch to LED lighting which, amazingly, can save them thousands of pounds as well as cutting their carbon footprint.

But young people and community groups alone cannot improve all our leaky old and cold school buildings, or improve the heating systems. For that, schools need our Government to invest in retrofitting or improving school buildings. That is why people at the conference will be asked to sign a letter to the Prime Minister asking the Government for such badly needed extra school resources, alongside a raft of wider measures to tackle climate change.

All these ideas and many more will be debated and exchanged at the exciting event in West Dulwich and Norwood. SE24 is an organising partner as part of our commitment to raise more awareness about the climate crisis – and about the solutions that do exist and which we need to roll out at scale and at pace.  If children just get climate change; adults just need to get it done.

Sign up for the event here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/together-we-create-change-tickets-172619990037?aff=ebdsoporgprofile