The charity Climate Ed runs workshops with school children to further student engagement by building on the basic climate science message through role play, creative tasks, games and news features. In small groups, the children also have opportunities to express themselves with reflective writing.
Since Easter, Climate Ed volunteer Suzanne O’Donnell has been engaged in delivering five one-hour sessions to about 60 of Year 6 children at the Furzedown Primary School in Wandsworth, London. Suzanne, who is a former teacher and has a lot of energy for networking, enjoys being involved in the creative side of climate action together with the children. She’s convinced that the work will go towards raising a generation of carbon literate children, and through it they will support the foundations for a more sustainable future.
Ben Cuddon, founder of Climate Ed, a Carbon Conversations facilitator, and one of the directors of The Surefoot Effect, aims to teach children about climate change and empowers them to take action through the charity’s activities. To do so, Suzanne and other volunteers draw on their own background. For Suzanne it meant that she was able to use relevant examples of recent activism, for example student protest of fossil fuel companies funding at the Science Museum. It was also possible to include a slide showing an environmental art project attended by young children funded by their local council. She’s also keen to use her teaching skills to facilitate questions and let the children to voice concerns which they did with great enthusiasm.
To balance the science videos, the activities provided a way to make carbon counting fun by making up a catchy short rhyme or a comic sketch. Unsurprisingly this created quite a lot of laughter among the 9-10 year-olds. This added a playful aspect while focus was the major carbon reductions they and their families can achieve. Questionnaires and presentations pointed to carbon tracker apps for their families to carry the work into weekly accounting beyond the classroom and challenged them on how much emissions participants are able to save.
Suzanne thinks the students after the workshop have a good handle on the main causes and impacts. They are aware that flying or owning an SUV both being carbon intensive is a problematic issue; furthermore, some of the kids saw a conflict that those activities are presented as aspirational. However, they are aware that choices are available and can be made about the future that tackle the travel problem. They also pointed out benefits of vegan diets to their friends and parents and making reductions there too.
Suzanne taught art and design at secondary level some years ago. Working at primary level is a huge difference she says, because this age group wants to know what’s happening in the world, what's changing and why. It was a great reward for her to get back to her local community. Even with Covid restrictions they’ve proved this approach to be successful from a clarification and practical action point of view.
So far Climate Ed has run their programme in schools around south London, with bookings for the coming academic year there’s a huge desire to spread awareness among the school community and build relations with other groups.
If you would like to set up Climate Ed affiliate groups in the UK or in other countries the charity would love to hear from you. Feel free to get in touch via email@example.com
We benefit from varied landscapes with space for myriads of species - each living with a role to play. Being engrossed in such a rich environment can be both soothing and stimulating. Likewise, the International Conference on Ecolinguistics in April was a life-giving boost. The three days were packed with knowledge sharing on tackling real-world issues equipped with Ecolinguistics which is a term describing the connection between environment and language in a broad sense - Eco-language. The wide range of experiences based on activism, art, campaigning, education, research and studies on ways of expression, underlined that through these activities we can strengthen the life-sustaining interactions for all the beings on the planet and the planet itself. Ecolinguistics can support humans to connect with other-than-human nature.
Pam and Gazelle from Surefoot both delivered workshops. 'Using the tools of Nature to Breakthrough for Resilience' was one of the workshops, and is rooted in one of our European projects - a new element in the Eco-language tool box.
Interested in knowing more?
1) Free online course Stories we Live by about Ecolinguistics. The course is funded by the University of Gloucestershire for public benefit.
2) Check out what Surefoot offers to equip people, communities and organisations with skills for sustainability and resilience.
‘What are your hopes and fears for yourself and your community for the next 10, 20, 30 years?’
This is how we start Future Conversations, a series of workshops tailored for your community to provide time, space and impetus for a group to work collectively to begin making transformative changes toward a more resilient society.
Pam recently held the space for a set of Future Conversations for a group of Danish women looking to build their capacity to help their community continue its transition to a resilient sustainable and caring society.
Over the group’s time together they explored hopes and fears for the future and worked on communication and resilience skills. Future Conversations uses the principles of Natural Happiness, as outlined by Alan Heeks: using the lessons of other-than-human nature to help build our own resilience. Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects process was used to face the climate crisis and imagine and move toward a positive future, and examined ways of responding, and how the group might go forth with ideas and plans.
By the last session the group had already begun moving into action, but ensuring all along that individual resilience levels stayed high.
Get in touch if you are interested in Future Conversations with your community.
It was a day of joy and creativity when Pam and Euri from Surefoot ran a pilot workshop to test and showcase tools we have found in research across the 3 aspects: people, communities and places. It was thrilling to witness how people had fun when opening up their creativity, and how this was a portal to build resilience. The main tools covered in the workshop were:
1. Resilience Compass, 2. Wheel of Life, 3. Mandala making, 4. Tree Visualisation, 5. Let’s Draw and 6. Restoration and re-evaluation - Cascina Bert, nature conservation.
The participants fed back that the tools are useful for introspective journeying and to understand what is good and healthy for people and society. They also thought the tools will be useful in the economic and social context for mapping, making changes and importantly making sense of our “new normal."
Read about the tools and the project's organisations in the report: Breakthrough for Resilience - pilot workshop.
Here’s a collection of some of our articles which has been in our newsletters or published elsewhere.