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Posted on September 30th 2019
No Planet B - Harris Climate Emergency Conference
On 26th and 27th September, Gabby and Alannah in Year 10 were nominated to attend the first Harris Climate Emergency Conference. They were chosen to lead, inspire and challenge HAB to do more to combat climate change. The conference was run by the Economist Education Foundation, which works to enable discussions that invite young people to be curious about the world’s biggest issues. The event aimed to explore ways that schools can do more to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Our climate is breaking down” - Greenpeace
To begin, students explored the causes and impacts of climate change. They learnt how the current trend in global temperature rise could lead to the Arctic Ocean becoming free of ice by the middle of the century and 99% of coral reefs will be lost. We have 11 years to avoid a climate catastrophe.
Students then enjoyed working collaboratively to consider the ways that climate change can be mitigated by society, as individuals and also here at HAB. Fantastic ideas that were created included giving every student a plastic water bottle, enforcing an electricity-saving switch-off hour every day across London and extending the congestion charge zone.
What can we do?
Gabby and Alannah created a bespoke Climate Change Project Plan for HAB, focused on reducing our food waste. Positive actions we can take include separating food waste for compost, to be used on our new HAB Wellbeing Garden, and giving left over meals to local charities. They will work towards marketing these strategies and sharing ideas with the rest of the school.
Dill Anstey, Vice Principal Federation Sixth Form (pictured), who organised the conference, said:
“The action taken by Extinction Rebellion during the Easter break got me thinking about how I might be able to contribute to averting this climate crisis. Soon after, I spoke to our CEO, Sir Dan Moynihan and got permission to start a Harris-wide response, involving every secondary academy in the federation. The Climate Emergency Conference is the starting point for getting every secondary academy to initiate their own actions. Students representing their schools will return and work with link teachers, ALT and other students to push through change and help educate the whole school community and beyond. We’ll meet again in early 2020 to see what progress has been made. In addition, an award for the academy who effects the most positive change will be awarded a prize at the Harris Teachers’ Conference in a year’s time at the Excel Centre. By that time, hopefully we’ll have our primary phase involved as well!”
After the conference, Gabby said: “I feel like this experience has really widened my knowledge and views on climate change. If the government won’t take it upon themselves to do something then we have to start, and start now. Future generations need something to look forward to and if we can help provide that, I think we should all chip in.”
Alannah said, “I feel motivated to change how our school works to combat climate change. The conference has given me a lot of knowledge and changed my mindset on how much we can do for our environment, to make it a better place for everyone.”
It was a privilege to take part in such an inspiring conference and to work towards combatting climate change as part of the large Harris Federation community, where we can collectively make a huge impact on our planet.