More than 500 schools sign up for ‘first of its kind’ climate summit

Event will coincide with Cop26 summit and aims to encourage student activism

Raquel Noboa of 50 Shades Greener at home near Liscannor, Co Clare. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Raquel Noboa of 50 Shades Greener at home near Liscannor, Co Clare. Photograph: Eamon Ward

 

More than 500 Irish schools have signed up for a summit next month where students and teachers will work together to “accelerate climate action” to make schools “more environmentally aware places”.

The Climate and Nature Summit is a new initiative developed by Fifty Shades Greener, the Irish Schools Sustainability Network and Education for Sustainability. It is a free, week-long virtual summit taking place from November 1st.

It will coincide with the Cop26 summit in Glasgow and aims to “highlight the magnitude of the climate and ecological emergency that is happening across the world today and to help equip young people with the knowledge, confidence and skills to bring about change”.

The summit is open to all schools across Ireland and further afield and will aim to bring together students, teachers, business leaders, and charities to “encourage stimulating climate and nature conversations, highlighting the positive actions that can be taken”.

Overall, some 1,050 schools have signed up from countries including Wales, Scotland, England, Greece, USA, Canada, Egypt, Nigeria and Sri Lanka.

Fifty Shades Greener chief executive Raquel Noboa said the summit would be “the first of its kind in Ireland”.

“At the same time as our summit is running, world leaders will also be meeting in Glasgow at Cop26 to discuss their plans for battling climate change,” she said.

“However, history has shown us that the inaction of these same leaders has led to millions of children and young people around the world rallying together to demand faster action and change.

“Students want to learn how they themselves can assist the climate emergency. They understand this is an issue where every single person, business and country has a part to play.”

Activity

There will be two streamed activity sessions per day covering topics such as the Cop26 summit; eco-careers; food and farming; biodiversity; consumerism; eco-anxiety; oceans; and energy.

In the evenings, “continuing professional development” sessions will run for teachers on similar topics.

During the week, students and teachers will also be invited to communicate a vision of the world they want to live in for world leaders at Cop26 in the form of an artwork, music, poetry, and storytelling.

A recent survey conducted by the organisers found that 87 per cent of school students consider climate change important to them, while two-thirds are in favour of seeing the subject taught as a standalone course.

The survey, which involved more than 1,300 students, also found that more than half of school-goers believe climate change is not covered in a manner that inspires them to act, despite 86 per cent of respondents learning about it in class.

After the summit, an online gallery will showcase the work of students and teachers.

Schools that wish to sign up for the summit can do so here.