Along with many of the other Transform Trust schools, we have been working hard this year towards gaining prestigious Eco-Schools accreditation – what is known colloquially as a Green Flag award. This fits in with our values and the work and learning we do as part of our curriculum , which has a clear focus on sustainability. The children care about this and sustainability and the environemnt are generally top of the list of concerns they bring to our School Council and to Transform Parliament.
Part of the accreditation process is to declare a climate emergency and recognise that action is needed to address climate change.
Whilst we recognise that there is a small amount of dissent over climate change and we respect people’s rights to their thoughts and beliefs, the overwhelming scientific evidence supports that the world is warming up due to human activity and that the outcomes of this will be negative. Assuming the science to be correct, the impact will fall on the children in our school as they grow up. If the science proves to be incorrect, it is anticipated that the measures we take will be positive for our school and community in terms of economy and quality of environment; win-win.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes’ Sixth Assessment Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C and the UN’s Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services make for alarming reading. From 2021, the IPCC gives us 9 years to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees if we are not to experience wide ranging global consequences while the UN warns of one million species of plants and animals facing extinction. Right now, humanity is presented with only a 1% chance of hitting the Paris 1.5° C target and only a 5% chance that we can limit the rise to less than 2° C. In fact, the likely range is between 2 – 4.9° C (University of Washington, 2017).
However, hope is not lost. Around the world environmental activism is increasing as the scientific evidence for human induced climate and ecological breakdown has become undeniable. Youth activist Greta Thunberg was nominated for the Nobel peace prize and the UK Parliament became the first globally to declare a ‘national climate emergency’. There is a huge amount that governments, businesses, institutions and individuals can do, but it must be done quickly and on a large scale if we are to avoid a climate and ecological catastrophe.
Declaring a climate emergency is something that has been done by the UK Government, other governments across the world, corporations, education establishments and local government. All of our local authorities have done so.
At a Governors’ meeting, 5th July 2023, our Full Governing Board unanimously agreed to the principle of declaring a Climate Emergency and publishing our objectives and intentions. The aim is to do this with a launch in the Autumn Term. As ever, we will be mindful of age-appropriateness and children’s wellbeing and this will inform how we pitch our declaration and subsequent actions.