Taking place from 9-13 November, the UK’s largest-ever, week-long Youth Climate Summit is happening entirely online on the Transform Our World teacher resource hub.
UK schools will unite to learn and make pledges for the planet – the week when world leaders should have been meeting for the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
Ahead of the Youth Climate Summit, youth ambassadors are calling on Sir David Attenborough for support in an open letter and will present summit pledges at the close of the week to an expert panel including UK High Level Climate Action Champion, Nigel Topping.
St Paul’s Girls’ School has been heavily involved in the event’s planning; the school’s head of sustainability, Dr Jessica Tipton, is the event’s design committee coordinator.
Many staff and students from the school’s own London Schools Eco-Network, which was launched in 2019 to bring staff and students from different schools together to join forces on environmental projects, are helping to organise, promote and present the event.
“Each day of the Summit will focus on a different theme, with morning, afternoon and after school sessions (including film screenings and teacher CPD), as well as fringe activities provided by schools, youth-led organisations, community groups, NGOs, experts and thought leaders,” said St Paul’s Girls’ School.
“The focus is to empower students and teachers to become ambitious with their school commitments in tackling the climate emergency.”
What’s happening at the Youth Climate Summit?
- A new campaign, Let’s Go Zero, will officially launch. Spearheaded by summit partner Ashden – and with calls for government backing – its aim is to get all UK schools to carbon zero by 2030.
- Schools will be making pledges every day.
- There will be over 150 free online sessions for primary and secondary schools, as well as inspiration sessions, fun at home activities and evening film viewings.
- There will be inspiring green careers talks with representatives from Tesco, LEGO and WWF-UK.
- The Youth Climate Summit will close on 13 November when young people will summarise and present the pledges made during the week to an expert panel, which includes: UK High Level Climate Action Champion Nigel Topping, science communicator and broadcaster Dr Emily Grossman; senior vice president of the National Education Union Daniel Kebede; and Mya Rose-Craig aka Bird girl, ornithologist and campaigner.
Miriam Zachau Walker and Bill Finnegan, researchers at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, commented: “The Youth Climate Summit is an excellent opportunity for educators and learners to engage with the climate crisis and help shape a climate resilient future.
“We are excited to share our work using maths in environmental education and digital storytelling to empower the voices of young people.”
Anna Turrell, head of environment at Tesco, added: “Climate change affects us all, which is why tackling the climate crisis requires everyone to take action. We all have a role to play. The Youth Climate Summit represents an important opportunity to come together, to learn, collaborate and act.”
Environmental charity Global Action Plan has confirmed the final line-up for the Youth Climate Summit 2020, including:
- Britain’s Got Talent stars SOS for the Kids choir
- University of Oxford
- Friends of the Earth
Working towards a zero carbon future
Matt Larsen-Daw, education manager at WWF-UK, commented: “The environmental challenges we face are daunting, but it is essential that young people growing up in this time of crisis do not feel helpless, but rather are focused on the mission of shaping a world that lives in balance with nature.
“As the world transitions from ways of living and working that we know cannot be sustained forever to a new, sustainable, zero carbon future, there will be opportunities for the young people who have the skills, knowledge and resolve to lead the way.”
Schools can see the timetable and book sessions here.
The Transform Our World teacher resource hub, co-ordinated by Global Action Plan, is funded through the #iwill Fund, which is made possible thanks to a £50 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high-quality social action opportunities, such as volunteering and campaigning, around the issues that matter to them.