National Summit 2018

InterClimate Network (ICN) was delighted to hold its National Summit 2018 in Portcullis House, Westminster. The Summit was the culmination of our ‘Climate Voices’ project which has provided opportunities for 13 – 19 year olds to broaden their critical knowledge of climate change and develop their voices on climate issues through work and debate with decision-makers.
After an extremely early start for some, 9 schools (see below) from across England and Wales joined together in Portcullis House.  The project’s major funder, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust was represented by Maureen Grant who gave a message of support for the young people’s action in their schools, and great advice to enjoy the day!
See this fantastic Young European News article for a full picture of the Summit.
  • Speakers
    Two former Secretaries of State, The Rt Hon Sir Edward Davey MP and The Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, backed the Summit.  In his speech, Sir Edward Davey emphasised the critical need to work together on pollution when no single country ‘owns’ the problem, and to think about the opportunities for jobs and tackling poverty that new technologies can provide.

    Dame Caroline Spelman was thrilled to see that the Sustainable Development Goals are providing a solid base for action (she was involved in the Earth Summit that set them in motion).  For her, change is about ‘what gets through to people’s heads’, prompting us to act ourselves and to decide what must be done collectively. 
    Top tip: Consider the ‘big levers’ that help change, and consider the power of writing to those decision-makers.

    Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, gave an inside perspective on the pressure that inquiries across Government can bring to bear.  Their inquiries are as varied as the impact of Court closures on transportation, our soil and soil erosion (‘stop treating soil like dirt!’) through to single-use plastics in Parliament and bans on micro-beads.  Mary Creagh said the Committee is, ‘trying to break into the mindset of tomorrow’ whilst ensuring topics can be easily understood.
    Top tip:  Always think about tangibility - ‘How would I explain this to my mum?’

    Kirsty Schneeberger MBE inspired everyone to think about their choices, and believes that this critical generation has great opportunity to really make the difference.  It is 10 years since the Climate Change Act was introduced in UK, and it has been a key factor in building momentum around the world.  She believes that hope is at the heart of climate change, and it can also become a personal mission.
    Top tips: When making choices, think about five ‘Ps’
    - Purpose – what you can contribute
    - Passion – what really gets you agitated?
    - People – who has the same values, thinks about the same issues, provides a challenge?
    - Power – where do your skills and strengths lie?
    - Pressure – how to withstand pressure to conform

  • Climate Action Fair
    Six schools set up stalls and talked clearly and passionately about their initiatives. They wowed students, teachers and guests alike.  See here for details of the schools’ Climate Action.

    Students decided by peer review the school that had shown Student Leadership and the school that was Inspiring Others to change what they do.  Three judges oversaw the counting of votes, and also decided on the school that had made the greatest Carbon Emissions Reduction through their climate action.

    Top Tip: Present to your school Board of Governors, Headteacher and senior staff (if you haven’t already) - they are certain to be inspired too.

  • Topical workshops
    Priorities for action from the six workshops included ideas for school and home as well as several recommendations for Government put forward by the workshop leaders.
    - Fashion and Sustainability: Important to educate so we waste less and use materials more sustainably, including for school uniforms.
    - How Games can save the planet: Experience of playing eco-games can really help to get the messages across.
    - Carbon Neutral Tea: What does ‘Carbon Neutral’ mean for a business or a product, and it’s important to keep messages clear.
    - Turning the Tide on Plastic: Find alternatives to plastic in our day to day lives, and don’t be afraid to start again with new solutions.
    - Our Energy Future: Make choices for energy-saving equipment based on how long it will last rather than how cheap it is, and ask for a Government commitment that all new schools are built to BREEAM excellence standards.
    - Cutting carbon while keeping the lights on: Think about solar panel installation in schools, and schools as a key part of their communities. 
    Top Tip: Sharing your school’s work to cut its carbon emissions can inspire the whole community to follow suite and benefit.
Final words went to 3 rapporteurs from Dr Challoner’s High School who talked about what had inspired them during the day and what they are going to try in their own school!  Lord Tyler, ICN’s Honorary President reflected that the Summit really had been about listening to ‘Climate Voices’.  He felt that hope for our fragile environment lies within actions such as these, and encouraged everyone to feed back to others about the day.
Each contributor brought a different perspective to the climate change debate. Our students certainly increased their learning, motivation and really enjoyed the whole experience.
Our students were really inspired by your guest speakers and the students from the other schools, as were we, as teachers.
It was really great to hear all of the politicians coming and taking the time to talk with young people. 
The pupils were so excited to win a prize. They were very proud of all the work they had done and were also surprised that the adults were so keen to hear about it.
Our thanks go to all the students and teachers, guests and speakers who contributed to make this a tremendously inspiring event.
1) Schools
Badminton School, Bristol
Builth Wells High School, Powys
Chosen Hill School, Gloucester
Grace Academy, Solihull
Gumley House School, Hounslow
Hammersmith Academy, Hammersmith
Kew House School, Brentford
Little Heath School, Reading
Pittville School, Cheltenham
Dr Challoner’s High School, Buckinghamshire
2) Speakers and Guests
Lord Paul Tyler, Honorary President, ICN
The Rt Hon Sir Edward Davey, MP
The Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP
Mary Creagh MP, Chair of Environmental Audit Committee
Maureen Grant, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
Kirsty Schneeberger MBE
Chris Beales, Chair of Reading Climate Change Partnership
Sarah Lardner, Sustainability Engagement Officer, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
3) Workshop leaders
Nick Sprague, Cobell Foods
Tamara Inkster-Draper (Trustee), Cambridge Institute for Sustainability 
Dr Paula Owen, Eco Action Games
Charlotte Turner, Eco-Age 
Mark Stead, Mark Stead Eco Education
Mark Kenber, Mongoose Energy
Vivian Frost, Natural Capital Partners
4) ICN Trustees, Volunteers and Associates
Dr Eamonn Barrett
Ruben Brooke
Michila Critchley
Helen Garforth
Uri Inspektor, Young European News
Jenny Mant
Damian Ryan, Trustee
Rachel Shepherd
Mary Singleton-White
James Streeter, Chair of InterClimate Trust
Richard Usher