The next generation of green leaders are gathering in Brighton & Hove next week (Wednesday 12 October 2016 from 09:30 – 14:45), as youngsters from local schools gather for their own Eco Conference.
Over 60 pupils aged seven to 14 from nine schools1 will take part in the conference, hosted by Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Hove. Keynote speakers include Cat Fletcher, founder of Freegle, a huge online reuse network, and one of the people behind Brighton’s award-winning architect designed Waste House. Her speech entitled ‘Small things make a big difference: the problem with waste and what we can all do about it’, will launch the day, with some shocking facts and figures about the ‘rubbish’ we produce and practical solutions pupils can introduce in their schools and homes. The afternoon will start with an inspiring speech from Ed Wade-Martins from Moving Sounds, including fascinating footage of his epic marine adventure sailing from Brighton to West Africa, and some reflections on low carbon travel, marine conservation and individual empowerment.
“The pupils attending the conference are from their school’s Eco Committee, and are responsible for leading their school’s environmental work,” said Helen Peake, Education Officer at Resource Futures, which delivers environmental education in Brighton and Hove via a project called BHee (Brighton & Hove Environmental Education2). “In many cases they have recently been elected to this important position by their peers. The conference will provide them with opportunities to develop their own ‘eco’ expertise and inspire them with ideas to put into practice in their school in the year to come.”
Pupils will also take part in workshops, including tracking wildlife in the woods, storytelling, junk percussion, exploring the origins of our clothes, bike maintenance and creative upcycling. During networking sessions, they will discuss photos of ‘eco’ projects in their schools, allowing students to learn from each other as well as from local sustainability experts.
Graham Goldup, Senior Assistant Head and Geography Teacher at Cardinal Newman, says “it is vitally important that all pupils have an awareness of these important ecological and environmental issues so they can act as responsible citizens and caretakers of the future planet. Never before have we seen a more globalised and consumer-driven world with many of the trappings that can bring. T and the children of today have a big responsibility on their shoulders to protect their local environments and special world places. Cardinal Newman is delighted to host the conference and hopes it will be an enormous success.”
Out of the schools attending, five have achieved Green Flag awards – the highest honour in the international Eco Schools programme. The others have achieved Silver awards and will be hoping that the ideas generated during the conference will help them achieve the Green Flag in the school year to come.