Our Humanities Faculty and COP26
The UN Climate Change Conference COP26, which took place from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow, gathered attention from around the world as well as captivating many pupils and staff at Deer Park.
During the Humanities Faculty assembly slot, in the week beginning Monday 29 November, we reflected as a school on the achievements of COP26 and how we can begin to have a greater impact in the fight against climate change at Cirencester Deer Park School.
During the assembly all tutor groups looked at the key decisions taken by the world leaders at COP26. The standout four were:
- Cuts to the emission of greenhouse gases including methane;
- “Phase down” coal;
- Up to $1 trillion of funding for developing countries to support their transition to becoming more sustainable;
- Stop deforestation and preserve wildlife.
These promising pledges gave us time to reflect on the impact we have on the planet as a school. Tutor groups were tasked to come up with their own climate solutions and/or climate pledges that the school could try and meet. Discussions were lengthy, and negotiations complex, but eventually our tutor groups submitted a plethora of fantastically creative and ambitious climate targets they want the school, and the world, to meet.
The joint first prize went to 9TU and 7JE. 9TU put forward a very interesting argument for re-structuring the school holidays and swapping the summer and Christmas holidays over. 9TU argued that this would reduce the number of pupils being driven to school and would not require as much gas and electricity to heat and power the school. Additionally, they put forward some very progressive pledges on plastics and energy sources. 7JE focused on improving the school site and their suggestion to install basketball hoops above bins to create a game out of litter picking, as well as their ideas on single-use plastics, caught our attention. Both tutor groups were worthy winners.
Isla and Chloe (both in Year 8) went one step further and submitted a mountain of incredible suggestions including changing the use of paper and plastic in school, using areas of the school site to generate electricity using wind turbines and solar panels, as well as uniform changes to allow the school to turn off the heating during some of the colder months. The commitment and dedication shown by both Isla and Chloe in the fight against global warming is highly commendable and both won an individual prize.
Isla: 'I have always been passionate about the planet and nature. As a school, and as a society, litter is something we need to focus on and education on climate issues is so important.'
Chloe: 'I was inspired by being involved in my local town council and their role in fighting climate change. I am really passionate about it and any changes we can make are really important. How we recycle soft plastic is something I would like to see us work on.'
Climate change continues to be a major issue for governments around the world and it was fantastic to see so many of our young people so passionate about the future of the planet.
As a school, our next steps are for the School Council to review the leading suggestions and look to put them into practice.
The climate crisis is ever present and the actions we take as individuals, and as a society can all make a real difference. As a household, can you discuss what pupils have learned in school about the climate emergency and perhaps come up with a set of actions for your own lives? Whether you agree to reduce or cut out buying single-use plastic, reduce meat consumption, offset any flights, or join a campaign group, there is power in numbers, and we can all help.