We arrived safely in Victoria BC, after a very, very long flight on Sunday.
The TSL International Schools Debates and Children’s Conference on Sustainability started really well. We had some inspiring speeches at Government House Bandshell Lawn outside in the sun. The Leader of Canada’s Green Party Elizabeth May told us that we have all her support, that youth can make a difference and she quoted Greta Thunberg about the climate marches. The past and present Lieutenant Governors Hon Janet Austin and Hon Judith Guichon welcomed us, and the Minister of Education said that it’s really important that we learn, but also to have fun in the International Debates. There were First Nations drummers who welcomed us, too! We also went in coloured groups to explore Government House and its grounds, which are very beautiful with lots of gardens and a view over the ocean and the Olympic mountains. We felt very welcome indeed by the end of the opening.
Then, the Primary Debates on SDG 15 Life on Land were totally amazing! We all started off by giving our individual speeches. I spoke about how, if a Council of all Beings existed, they would put Humans on trial for the terrible damage we’re doing to other species. I also said that children can make a big difference by standing up for all life on land! Click here to read my essay and also here is a video of my speech 🙂
Everyone clapped and said very kind things to all the primary school representatives, who come from all over – Serbia, Australia, the Philippines, Canada and other countries.
There was a special workshop for teachers, sharing Education for Sustainable Development experiences from around the world. While that was happening, we worked in our groups to brainstorm ideas for our presentations. I was in the Government Group, and we came up with lots of ideas.
Our ideas included:
We had a totally amazing time. The other children in my Government Group from different schools from around the world were terrific and really kind.
- government support to use no paper at schools only tablets charged by renewable energy, and planting/caring for at least 5 trees a year,
- government rules to stop clearing trees and use only bamboo while also making sure there is extra habitat for Pandas,
- government action to create more protected areas including for mountains and freshwater ecosystems.
It was good to be able to help lead the group since I had some experience after the Seychelles Debates. In the International Schools Debates in the afternoon, we presented our ideas, then we worked together with the Citizens Group to come up with an Action Plan to save all Life on Land (SDG 14).
Everyone did super well! We were very happy and proud when, in the closing of the Debates, Kings College School was given not just a finalist essay commendation certificate but also the Primary School Debates Ambassador’s Award, which we’d never managed to win before!!
Unfortunately, this also means more work… I will be representing all the Primary School Debaters in the final International Children’s Conference and intergenerational dialogue with decision-makers on Thursday, July 11, 2019.
This includes Dr David Suzuki and all kinds of very wise and important speakers, as well as Jona who as a UNESCO Child Author is welcoming the new First Nations Child Author. So I need to write a new speech. There are field trips on Wednesday to the Royal British Columbia Museum and to the seaside, and we will send another photo-documentary report on Thursday after the International Children’s Conference! I hope you like all the photos from the trip and from the Primary Debates.
The wildlife here is incredibly friendly. We were visited by two fawns and a mother deer who were snacking on plants in our garden in the morning. Maybe they came to say thank you for defending life on land and all species! Or, maybe they were just hungry.