Category: endangered species

TSL International Schools Debates on Sustainability in Victoria BC Canada

Report II

We had an excellent last 2 days of the debates and the conference!

During the Secondary Debates day, we had field trips. As it was foggy, I went to the Royal BC Museum with the debaters from Australia, Serbia and the Philippines where there was an amazing exhibit on indigenous languages, and a totally brilliant one on the ancient Mayans! I wish you could see it… (At least you could see it virtually here Royal BC Musem Maya: The Jaguar Rises). The First Nations displays were totally brilliant, maybe next year at King College School our History Trip could be to Canada. 

In the evening, we went to a Marina on the Salish Sea, there was a piano by the water that was free for anyone to play, and it was all painted. I gave a small piano concert from my GR2 songs, and the Australian debaters played too, the Goodwill Ambassador for First Nations Child Author, a bestselling children’s book writer who is from the Cree and Salish Nations was meeting with us about the awards ceremony, so she came too.

Thursday was the last big day of the international schools debates, it was an international children’s conference chaired by an indigenous leader from the Songhees Nation, Dr Patrick Kelly. Her Honor the Lieutenant Governor was speaking and giving awards, and Dr David Suzuki, a famous conservationist, broadcaster and scientist gave the keynote. 

I got up SUPER-early (not a problem, jet-lag of 9hrs) to write my Ambassador’s speech (see below or click here).

The TSL Ambassadors Award winners received Lt Governor’s Medals in front of everyone from the primary and secondary debates, and all the guests and speakers, which was totally amazing!!

We had a dialogue with a panel of international experts that included a young First Nations Leader and environmental economist (Tara Dawn Atleo, daughter of the Ahousaht Hereditary Chief and National Chief of Canada), a land conservation scientist (Dr Stephen Cornish), and a famous forest conservation expert (Dr Vicky Husband, founder of The Sierra Club). As primary debates Ambassador, I gave my speech about our discussions, focusing on all the ideas we had for things that we could do if government and citizens worked together to adopt new policies based on science to protect life on land, and being hopeful. I was asked by the experts about the upcoming global climate strike on 20-27 Sept, and I shared our plans in Cambridge UK to have evening candlelit vigils and to get all the community involved.

One of the last special events was the awards for the new first-ever First Nations Child Author in the UNESCO Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative. There was a tie for silver award between Sydnee who is from the Grand Rapids Cree Nation, and Bella who is Nisga’a Nation. Addy, who is Coast Salish, won, and her story is amazing. Jona gave the keynote speech to welcome them, chaired by the Goodwill Ambassador lady author. We had a special workshop under a totem pole in the gardens afterwards, with the new indigenous UNESCO child author and the child ambassadors and they were very, very happy to be part of the global network of children writing and speaking out for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

All in all, it’s been an amazing 2019 TSL International Schools Debates and Children’s Conference on Sustainability this year, even though we missed having more people on our team. Next year the theme is partnerships (SDG 17) and it will be Oxford so hopefully there will be a very good delegation. I’m bringing both my medals from the debates and as Ambassador, home to King’s College School, and hope you will all be able to feel very happy about our School’s success.

PS – It turns out that my Grandad has a special medal like mine, awarded by the last Lt Governor for his lifetime service to culture and heritage protection in BC. It’s like a knighthood, which is both historical and wonderful. We took a picture together with our matching medals.

TSL 2018 International Schools Debates SDG14 – OCEANS, The Seychelles

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The Seychelles hosted the TSL 2018 International Schools Debates with more than 90 international delegates (students and teachers) from all over the world.

The competition theme was Oceans (SDG #14), and the debates were hosted by the Seychelles government on Mahe Island in July 2018. We (students) were welcomed by the Seychelles’ ministers of education, environment, and tourism.

The opening ceremony followed the launch of the book ‘Voices of the Future’ with the UNESCO’s Voices of Future Generations initiative and Bloomsbury Books.

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Primary Schools Debate was in collaboration and teamwork of students (ages 7-11) set about developing a shared plan for conserving the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources. I gave an individual speech on the topic ‘My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources.’

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My speech: ‘My Big Plan to Protect the Ocean for Tiny Sea Turtles and All Life Below Water’

We (students) were assigned to one of four groups, where we discussed and debated with the help of facilitators. We worked together with the aim of achieving a commonly shared plan to save the world’s ocean, seas and marine resources by 2030. We prepared arguments either pro or con, on the motion, ‘This House believes that the targets of UN Sustainable Development Goal #14 are achievable’

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The exciting, five-day program included a Children’s Ocean Conference, where children from around the world worked with local Seychellois youth organizations and marine conservationists to protect the seas of the Small Island Developing States, and teachers attended a special workshop on improving educational resources on oceans, seas, and marine resources.

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The field trip program included visits to a marine park, a fishery, a maritime academy, and a marine discovery station, and the program closed with a Cultural Evening.

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TSL Debates Blue Planet Banner comes home to King's UK - July 2018
Our Blue Planet banner arrives back from the 2018 Trust for Sustainable Living International Schools Debates in the Seychelles to King’s College School, Cambridge,
UNESCO VoFG Child Author Jona David’s school in the UK, along with the ‘Voices of our Future’ Bloomsbury book, and are presented to Headmistress Mrs Yvette Day and TSL Teacher Champion Mrs Helen Barker, along with Eco-Society lead teacher Mr Angus Gent, and (me) Nico Roman, UN Child Ambassador for the SDGs.



                                                    By Nico Roman, 9                    

A turquoise sea-turtle hatches beside her siblings in their golden sandy nest. She blinks her jewel eyes. She is just a baby – small, vulnerable and endangered. She has only one chance in 2,500 to survive, a symbol for all life below water if we cannot change our ways. Like sea-turtles, I have lived on Pacific and Atlantic coasts, swimming Baltic, Salish and Caribbean seas. To save this TINY life and all ocean creatures, we need real change, fast.

We Need Oceans Laws and Compliance

Overfishing and illegal fishing must stop. We need new international and national laws to end subsidies. People must only buy sustainably caught seafood (with escape hatches in nets preventing by-catch of turtles) and not endangered species. Waterproof cameras on boats should film tweets and blogs, making citizens act more responsibly. Coast guards, communities and kids can enforce laws on water and land. By law, people will look out for our tiny turtle as she escapes into the sea, starts her migration, and hunts for food to grow.

We Need a Global End to Ocean Rubbish

Dangerous chemicals are polluting our oceans with run-off from fertilizers and pesticides from the land, industrial chemicals, and untreated storm-water. Plastics are collecting in huge islands, hurting sea-turtles, whales and birds. We must end all harmful practices that drive ocean pollution, changing all agriculture and industry so it is clean and healthy. People must reduce, re-use and recycle all waste, cradle-to-grave, especially plastics. This way, pollution won’t poison or strangle our tiny turtle as she swims thousands of kilometres on her migration across the oceans.

We Need New Marine Plans, Protection and Measurement

There are not enough marine protected areas, and many are degraded.  Ecosystems are threatened, like bleaching of coral. Climate change is causing serious impacts. Clear targets and plans must guarantee protection for all threatened marine ecosystems, respecting scientists and communities. Kids clubs and everyone can help, including tourists. With safe zones, and better measurement and on-ground action, we can ensure that our tiny turtle, and all her friends have a safe and resilient home. Our sea turtle, not so tiny now, can return to lay her own eggs in the sand. Her hatchlings will be protected, maybe by teams of children like me, as they start their own journeys.

Even the tiniest child can make a big difference for sea turtles, for our oceans and for our future.