Category: Life below water

Watch our Eco-Seminars

Eco-Seminars in partnership with Cambridge Schools Eco-Council and the Voices of Future Generations Initiative

We organised free 60 minute Online Eco-Seminars to raise awareness of key sustainability challenges and solutions, while schools have been forced online in many countries. Children, students, families and members of the public free over Zoom from April 21 to June.

Each Online Eco-Seminar focused on a key sustainable development goal, such as Climate Action (SDG 13), Protecting and Restoring Life on Land (SDG 15) or Agriculture and Food Systems (SDG 2). Each Online Eco-Seminar included student Eco-Councillors and UN Voices of Future Generations child authors / ambassadors, together with world-class experts, provided a 25-minute introduction to a sustainability challenge, and discuss creative local and solutions.

We have recorded these eco-seminars (see below) in case you missed any of them or simply if you would like to watch them again.


ECO-SEMINAR 1: GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, THE PARIS AGREEMENT AND LOCAL SOLUTIONS – APRIL 21, 2020

Expert: Professor Christina Voigt, Ph.D., LL.M-Env (University of Oslo international environmental law expert and professor, IUCN Climate Change Specialist Group Chair, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law Member and UNFCCC Compliance Committee Member)

Child author speaker: Jona David, founding Eco-Councillor of the Cambridge Schools Eco-Council, award-winning UNESCO VoFG Child Author of The Cosmic Climate Invention and other books, and student at Winchester College, UK

Eco-council speaker: Virginia Denmead, Cambridge Schools Eco-Councillor, Deputy Chair and Secretary, leader of St Bedes Eco-Society and student at St Bedes School, UK.

ECO-SEMINAR 2: AGRICULTURE, FOOD SYSTEMS AND CLIMATE RESILIENCE – MAY 5, 2020

Child Author speaker: Rehema Kibugi (UN Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative Child Author, Kenya)

Eco-Council speaker: Magnus Bramwell (Cambridge School’s Eco-Council Councillor and Secretary UK)

Expert: Advocate Ayman Cherkaoui (International Jurist in Climate Change Law, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact in Morocco, Lead Counsel for Climate Change at the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law)

Expert: Dr. Amy Munro-Faure (Coordinator at the Living Lab for Sustainability at the University of Cambridge)

ECO-SEMINAR 3: CLIMATE CHANGE, ENERGY POLICY AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES – MAY 19, 2020

Child author speaker: Jasper Chin-Moody (UN Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative Child Author, Australia)

Eco-Council speaker: Harry Auld (Cambridge School’s Eco-Council Councillor and Treasurer, UK).

Expert: Professor Laura Diaz Anadon (University of Cambridge Climate Change Policy Professor, University of Cambridge Peterhouse Bye-Fellow, C-EENG Fellow, Energy Policy Research Group Associate Researcher, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Research Associate, 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Lead Author).

Expert: MS Helene Kotter (Architect, Owner of Architecture Practice, Member of the Voice’s of Future Generations Children’s Book Series Leadership Council). In partnership with the Cambridge Schools Eco-Council.

ECO-SEMINAR 4: NATURE, BIODIVERSITY AND SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPES –  JUNE 2, 2020

Child author speaker: Adelyn Newman-Ting (Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative Child Author).

Eco-Council speaker: Nico Roman (Cambridge School’s Eco-Council Co-Chair) and Freya Lundskær-Nielsen (Eco-Council Deputy Chair).

Experts: Ms. Hawa Sydique (Research and Communications Manager at the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute).

Tara Atleo (Environmental economics researcher and indigenous sustainable development professional from the Ahousaht First Nation in BC, Canada, PhD student University of Waterloo, Laureate Canada 150 Senate Medal).

Iain Webb (Cambridge City Greenways Project Officer).

ECO-SEMINAR 5: CONSUMERISM AND WASTE – JUNE 16, 2020

Child author speaker: Andrea Wilson (Gold Award Laureate, Voices of Future Generations (VoFG) Children’s Rights Initiative, Child Author for North America of Sarah’s Journey for Tomorrow, blog post author on the Sustainable Development Goals and Child Rights).

Eco-council speaker: Luana Fernandes (Cambridge Schools Eco-Council Communications Officer, Student of Parkside School, key organiser of student climate strikes and eco-seminars).

Expert: Dr. Markus Gehring (JSD, Dr iur, MA, LLM, Law and Land Economy Lecturer; Jean Monet Chair of European Law and Sustainable Development; Centre for International Sustainable Development Law Lead Counsel for Trade, Investment & Financial Law; Hughes Hall Law Director of Studies at the University of Cambridge).

Expert: Prof. Damilola S. Olawuyi, Professor of Energy and Environmental Law


Please note: Students participated with permission and under supervision of parents/guardians, from their homes.

Mobilizing a Youth Movement to Tackle the Climate Crisis

Lecture at the University of Cambridge Nov,19, 2019

University of Cambridge,
Department of Land Economy

Speakers:
Nico (11 yrs) Kings College School, Co-Chair
Harry (10 yrs), St Paul’s School, Treasurer
Freya (9 yrs) Kings College School, Eco-Councillor
Luana (15 yrs) Parkside School, Comms Officer

The Cambridge Schools Eco Council was formed in February 2019, after the first UK Youth Strike 4 Climate held in Cambridge and around the world on the 15th February. We now represent over 30 primary and secondary schools in Cambridge.

Our Eco Councillors have been in the national and local press, on local radio, been invited to meetings with the City Council, met our MP, Daniel Zeichner, and taken our message about the climate
emergency to the ex-Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove.
We have held 6 school strikes in Cambridge and organised a week-long programme of vigils on Kings Parade to coincide with the global week of
climate action.

Cambridge Schools Eco Council: our declaration
The science is clear. CO2 levels are higher than they have been for nearly a million years, average global temperatures are increasing, oceans are rising and becoming more acidic, wildfires are raging, and extinction rates are nearly 1000 times higher than they should be. If we continue burning fossil fuels, building unsustainable infrastructure and degrading our environment, children all over the world will be hurt or even die. We need to change all our lives and systems immediately or face an unimaginable future of heatwaves, floods, extreme weather, forest fires, crop failures, wars over land, food and water resource – the real risk of our own extinction. It is an emergency.

We are calling all local schools, town & county councils and the government to help us save our planet, our future and the future of generations to come, by declaring a climate emergency and acting on it immediately.

I’LL BE CHAIRING FREE ONLINE ECO-SEMINARS FOR CAMBRIDGESHIRE AND THE WORLD!

Register now and spread the word

Cambridge Schools Eco-Council is organising a mini-series of free 60 minute Online Eco-Seminars to raise awareness of key sustainability challenges and solutions, while schools have been forced online in many countries. Children, students, families and members of the public can register for free over Eventbrite and participate online over Zoom, 4-5pm (UK time) each fortnight from Tuesday 21 April to Tuesday 16 June. Each Online Eco-Seminar focuses on a key sustainable development goal, such as Climate Action (SDG 13), Protecting and Restoring Life on Land (SDG 15) or Agriculture and Food Systems (SDG 2). Each Online Eco-Seminar includes student and expert speakers.

Over zoom, after a 15 mins for tech testing and interactions from 3:45pm to 4pm, student Eco-Councillors and UN Voices of Future Generations child authors / ambassadors, together with world-class experts, will provide a 25-minute introduction to a sustainability challenge, and discuss creative local and solutions. For a further 25 minutes, participants can ask questions and discuss potential solutions and ways to raise education and awareness interactively, followed by a 10-minute closing from the experts and youth speakers by 5pm.

Remember to register first!

Upcoming Seminars

Eco-Seminar 2: Agriculture, Food Systems and Climate Resilience – Tuesday, May 5, 2020

  • Child author speaker: Rehema, Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative 
  • Eco-Council speaker: Magnus, Cambridge Schools Eco-Council
  • Experts: M Ayman Cherkaoui, CISDL and Dr Amy Munro-Faure, The Living Lab

Eco-Seminar: Climate Change, Energy Policy and Sustainable Communities – Tuesday, May 19, 2020

  • Child author speaker: Jasper, Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative 
  • Eco-Council speaker: Harry, Cambridge Schools Eco-Council
  • Experts: Prof Laura Dias Anadon, University of Cambridge and M Helene Kotter, Eco-Architecture

Eco-Seminar 4: Nature, Biodiversity and Ecosystems – Tuesday, June 2, 2020

  • Child author speaker: Addy, Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative 
  • Eco-Council speaker: Nico, Cambridge Schools Eco-Council
  • Experts: Dame Fiona Reynolds and Ms Hawa Sydique, University of Cambridge

Eco-Seminar 5: Consumerism and Waste – Tuesday, June 16, 2020

  • Child author speaker: Andrea, Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative 
  • Eco-council speaker: Luana, Cambridge Schools Eco-Council
  • Experts: Ms Naomi Klein, Journalist and Dr Markus Gehring, University of Cambridge

Past Eco- Seminars

Eco-Seminar 1: Global Climate Change, the Paris Agreement and Local Solutions – Tuesday, April 21, 2020

  • Child author speaker: Jona, Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative 
  • Eco-Council speaker: Virginia, Cambridge Schools Eco-Council
  • Experts: Prof Cristina Voigt, University of Oslo and Cllr Rosy Moore, Cambridge City Council

Please note: Students participate with permission under supervision of parents/guardians from their homes.

First Eco-Activity

Spring Eco-challenge: Task 1

(Deadline: April 25)

Cambridge Schools Eco-Council

This is the beginning of our eco-adventure; we are all in this together! Now please read on… we are trying to make this eco-challenge as interesting as possible, videos to follow…. (Maybe for week 2)

Topic: Green Waste EMERGENCY

With the news that Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire district councils will not be collecting our Green bins for a few weeks, we thought it a good idea to build a compost bin/heap, or another one if you already have one. Don’t worry if you don’t have a garden, just a small bin will do.

Objectives:

Research… The different designs and best location for a compost bin/heap. What can and what cannot be composted.

How to make a compost heap: 10 top tips

Design… Draw a suitable design for a compost bin/heap for your garden. Selecting the most appropriate measurements and most suitable materials (remembering: Recycle, Reuse, Reinvent). Make a tools list. Don’t forget to use safety equipment where appropriate.

Make… With help, if possible and where necessary, make your compost heap.

Evaluate… Think about key questions like: How easy it was to find designs? Did you use the best and most eco-friendly materials? Was your idea and design good? Does it look good? Does it work? How could you improve it? Did you enjoy the project? (Remember to offer a reason as to why or why not for each thing you say).

Good luck and enjoy the chance of being outside in the fresh air and sunshine!

Save the River Cam and our Waterways

We have raised our voices internationally to ask for climate action, and as we continue protesting online (for the time being). We are also doing it locally, ‘we’ the Cambridge Schools Eco-Council are also protesting to save the River Cam and reduce climate impacts on waterways.

Currently, the river Cam is at 77% less than its long-term average flow for the last year, according to the Environment Agency. This is primarily due to over-abstraction of water from the chalk hills for domestic use. Our tap water mostly comes from the eastern chalk aquifer and we don’t have another source of water. The Cam may seem like it is completely fine and healthy but it is far from it. This is an illusion of how canalised the river is.

“The illusion is perpetuated by putting water back into the headwaters of the streams in the summer to keep those streams running because they have taken so much water out of the chalk.”

Stephen Tomkins, Chair of Cam Valley Forum
Stephen Tomkins, Chair of Cam Valley Forum

“Our rivers and streams are really important – the Cam is the reason for our city, Cambridge. Climate change, together with poorly planned growth, could devastate our water ecosystems, costing us our present and our future. We are speaking out to defend our river.”

Nico Roman, Co-chair Eco-council
Here investigating Byron’s pool along the Cam
Weir where flow of the Cam is regulated

For more information go to:

Chalk Streams in Crisis: A call for drought action now

Youth strikers to protest ‘canalised’ Cam at Friday march, Cambridge Independent

Galleries: Schools eco council hears of Cam water emergency on day of action, Cambridge Independent

We are taking the Schools’ Strike for Climate Action Online

We have suspended the schools’ strike for climate action since March due to
fears that gathering large groups of people together could help to spread COVID19. 

Alternatively we continued the strike online. 

Thank you to everyone who has participated 🙂

To learn more please check out this article by Cambridge Independent 

Cambridgeshire is facing a water crisis

The river Cam has been flowing at only 33% of its long term average, according to the Environment Agency. Cambridgeshire’s source of water, the Chalk Hills are running out of water largely due to abstraction beyond what the River itself needs. We as Cambridge Youth Strikers 4 Climate are starting this petition demanding action be taken.

Cambridge’s tap water comes from the Eastern Chalk Aquifer, fed by the chalk streams and filtered naturally by the local chalk hills. We have no other source of water here. Hotter summers are possibly drying the chalk out more. So through climate change and unsustainable abstraction by water companies, with complacency from the Cambridgeshire Country Council and the Cambridge City Council, our Chalk Hills are losing their natural reservoir.

We call upon Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and water companies (Anglian Water, Cambridge Water and others) to suspend all developments on the Eastern Chalk Aquifer and hold immediate talks between themselves to find an alternative to damaging the chalk streams through over abstraction.

This is not just about preserving drinking water for our human population. The chalk streams are a beautiful natural phenomena, unique to our countryside; in fact 85% of the world’s Chalk streams are found in England. This makes it all the more heartbreaking to see chalk rivers like the River Cam deteriorate under our management.

If you’re a Cambridge citizen, you may not realise how bad river flow is due to how canalised the Cam is. Controlled tightly by locks, damns and weirs the river appears a lot higher than it actually is. But what can still be seen is how poor the water quality is. As Stephen Tomkins (Chairman of the Cam Valley Forum) says, the River Cam has become “a big pond, basically,”.

This is absolutely shameful. In one of the richest and most scientifically advanced cities in the world our renowned river has become “a big pond”. Our aquatic life, from mayflies to trout to otters, are living and dying in “a big pond”. We lecture nations across the world on their mistreatment of their environments and we let our own rivers degrade to nothing but “a big pond”.

Enough is enough, we need the Councils and Water companies to stop playing the defensive and show real leadership over this water crisis. Our well-being’s at stake, our population’s at stake, our rivers’ at stake, our ecosystem’s at stake. No more development until you find a solution!

Save the River Cam! Stop development on Eastern Chalk Aquifer!

Sing the petition

MY BIG PLAN PROTECT OUR OCEANS FOR TINY SEA TURTLES AND ALL LIFE BELOW WATER – By Nico Roman, 9

TSL Essay

                                                    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.