Polar bears, penguins, bees, gorillas, walking trees and sunflowers were seen marching through Oxford University Parks at the first children’s ‘Climate for Change March’, organised and inspired by pupils from the Dragon School, Oxford.
A group of children from the Dragon felt so passionate about climate change they decided to do something about it, ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit (COP21) in December. They organised the march and launched an internet-based ‘Students Creating a Climate for Change’ forum and online petition to lobby David Cameron and the government.
Over 1,000 students from independent and state schools took part in the march to raise awareness of anthropogenic (man-made) climate change. The event told the story of anthropogenic climate change through creative, colourful costumes, banners and placards. Six learning stations around Oxford University Parks covered the science of climate change, its effects, spreading awareness, reducing CO2 emissions and energy waste, using renewable energy and the role rainforests play.
Pupils at the event
In the afternoon, influential speakers addressed the children, including Professor Ian Goldin, Professor of Globalisation and Director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford, formerly Vice President of the World Bank (2003-2006) and an advisor to President Nelson Mandela. Andrew Hanson from the National Physics Laboratory and Dr Alan Jones from Earthwatch’s Climate Change Research facility in Wytham Woods also spoke.
Tom Klenerman, aged 13, a recent Dragon leaver and pupil at Cokethorpe School, walked through the crowd delivering an impassioned speech urging pupils to take action. “Don’t wait for the next generation. We can make a difference if we act now,” he said. Rowan Ibbotson, Old Dragon, pupil at Oxford High School and a Member of the Youth Parliament echoed Tom’s thoughts explaining, “Environment and climate change are some of the main issues that matter to young people today and we all need to play our part to address it.”