Schools discuss vulnerability of the Antarctic at COP27 event
On Wednesday 16th November, 9 students from Bassingbourn Village College joined 13 other local schools at Sawston Village College for a special youth COP27 climate conference. Keynote speaker on the day was Dr Simon Morley, from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
Dr Morley shared with the conference how the research conducted by BAS informs and reinforces what actions are required to protect the Antarctic as well as the impact this has to the global climate.
To understand the complexities of global cooperation, the next segment of the conference was run as if the students were taking part in global negotiations. Each school was assigned a country and asked to prepare in advance opening arguments on the main environmental issues facing the country, ideas on how they could overcome them, as well as make a request of an allocation from the Climate Resilience Fund of £100billion. Countries then voted on what proposals they would consider. Bassingbourn Village College, represented Bangladesh, and reached the final five proposals. However, when it came to the required unanimous decision, all five were unable to achieve a unanimous vote. Dr Morley, explained to the students that this is a current challenge facing global cooperation with climate decisions and allocation of resources, and that all countries have to agree but very rarely do.
The final stage of the conference was to provide the students with the opportunity to discuss how they can impact change to their own communities. Students explored ideas such as recycling initiatives and green spaces to shape the key commitments and objectives that would be taken away from the event and to deliver as part of schools’ climate change objectives.
Over 190 students took part in the day, and as well as the student delegation from Bassingbourn Village College other participating schools included: Sawston Village College, Linton Village College, Comberton Village College, Bottisham Village College, Impington and Soham Village Colleges, together with Littleport and East Cambs Academy, Chesterton, Cromwell and Coleridge Community Colleges, Northstowe Secondary College, Joyce Frankland Academy and the Netherhall School.
Also present was Director of Education for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Jonathan Lewis and other senior officers from the education department, Cllr Bryony Goodliffe and Cllr Maria King, Chair and Vice-Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, as well as Cllr Alice Gilderdale from Cambridge City Council and former pupil of Sawston Village College.
Cllr Goodliffe said: “Our young people are some of the best informed and committed advocates of the need for climate change, so I am delighted that so many of them took part in this vital conference and contributed their ideas. I am sure that their initiatives will be taken forward to help tackle this global issue.”
Cllr King added: “Yet again Cambridgeshire is leading the way on national and international initiatives to address one of the biggest challenges of the century – climate change. I am proud of our schools and our young people who have shown such energy in their determination to do what they can for their own generation and generations to come.”
Vickey Poulter, Principal of Bassingbourn Village College said: “We are delighted to have taken part in this event. It is important to inspire our students to look at the local and global issues regarding the environment and climate change. As a school we educate our students to respect and to take responsibility for the community they live in. Working on environmental ideas and initiatives is a demonstration of our determination to look for a greener future for our community and our planet.”