Category: SDGs

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 

Greater Cambridge Local Plan – The Big Debate – Feb 18, 2020

The Big Debate was an evening of quickfire presentations from local groups and lively debate about the future of Greater Cambridge.

Presentation by Luana, Nico and Harry representatives of the Cambridge Schools’ Eco Council at the Cambridge Corn Exchange

Luana, Harry and I, are very excited to have spoken as Youth Strikers in the ‘First Conversation’ consultation on the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan, other local groups also presented and debated their ideas.

As representatives of the Cambridge Eco Council at the Great Debate, we got the voice of the Youth and Climate heard!

About the Greater Cambridge Local Plan

To know more visit Greater Cambridge Local Plan

Cambridge Youth Strike 4 Climate sent their love to Australia on February 14, 2020

On Friday 14th February 2020 Cambridge Youth left their schools and took to the streets to send love to those in Australia affected by the horrific fires and demand the adults and governments of the world do something about the crisis we face.

We dedicated our Valentine’s Day protest to Australian schoolchildren. The effects of climate change are more prominent than ever, and so many people are being affected first-hand.

We are here in support of all the school children, wildlife and everyone whose homes and lives are being lost by the ferocious fires and floods in Australia, and around the world. We feel it is terribly unjust to continue burning fossil fuels and carry on harming our future. As children, and as the first generation to be hit so hard by climate change, we need to look out for each other.

The Australian bushfires have ignited not just a sense of horror across generations, but have also added a new sense of urgency.

People talk about climate change as if it’s a thing way off in future, but the wildfires we’ve seen raging in Australia in recent months bring it fully to the present day. How can we still think that climate change is in the future? Estimates say that the number of animals killed totalled half a billion. If they were humans that would be the same as losing seven per cent of the world’s population.

Valentine’s Day Cambridge Youth Strike 4 Climate to send love to Australian schoolchildren

We are sending you the Cambridge Schools Eco-Council’s open letter to schoolchildren around the world, especially in Australia, in hopes that you could pass it along. As you know, as part of the global strike, Cambridge children are marching this Friday, meeting at 9:30 at Shire Hall, to raise awareness and (on Valentine’s day) to show we care about the terrible impacts of climate change on children and wildlife who are already losing their homes and their lives, especially in Australia. Fires and floods are raging, and so are we!We’ll be carrying home-made art symbols of torches, smoke and fires, and also blue floodwaters, with us when we march, and over 30 children from different Cambridgeshire schools will be running through the march, wearing masks to speak for the koalas, kangaroos, wombats, wallabies and other unique, vulnerable and voiceless Australian animals who have been dying by the thousands in the bush fires due to climate change. Tomorrow we are also sending our Open Letter to the world’s schoolchildren who are also losing their homes, especially in Australia, as a plea to decision-makers everywhere to listen to the science and act now to stop this madness.

Thank you, Nico Roman (11, Kings College School, Cambridge), Co-Chair, Cambridge Schools Eco-Council

Cambridge Schools Eco-Council – Empowering pupils to protect our planet! cambschoolsecocouncil@gmail.com


Cambridge Schools Eco-Council | CambSchoolsEcoCouncil@gmail.com

OPEN LETTER TO SCHOOL CHILDREN

14 February 2020

Dear Schoolchildren, especially in Australia

We are writing in support of all the school children, wildlife and everyone whose homes and lives are being lost by the ferocious fires and floods in Australia, and around the world. We feel it is terribly unjust to continue burning fossil fuels and carry on harming our future. As children, and as the first generation to be hit so hard by climate change, we need to look out for each other.

Right now, we can only imagine what it must be like to live with the fear that your own home may burn. We have been devastated by all the news and tragic losses to habitats and wildlife, and we are thinking of you every day and know that the same could so easily happen to us.

As pupils from over 30 local schools and voices of over 3000 local citizens in Cambridge, UK, together with you and other friends around the world who have marched together in the global climate days of action, we write in solidarity today.

We are desperately worried as our planet continues to heat up, and we carry on facing a worsening fate of extreme weather conditions. We are terrified that we are reaching the highest record level of CO2 in our atmosphere for roughly a million years. It is the responsibility of us all not only to reduce our carbon footprints urgently and immediately, but to become carbon neutral and then negative as soon as possible.

Our whole world is at stake. As Greta Thunberg from Sweden has said: “We do need hope, but the one thing that we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.” We may be geographically distant, but as kids terrified by the mess that bad decisions have got us all into, we stand right by your side.

Yours sincerely,

Please could you pass this letter on to schoolchildren and members of the local press that you might know in Australia? A Cambridge news story is here, if they would like to know more:

Valentine’s Day youth strike to send love to Australian schoolchildren

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 International Schools Debates on Sustainability in Victoria BC Canada

Report I

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.

Global Youth Strike for Climate

#FridaysforFuture

“Even the smallest child can make a BIG difference!”

Nico (10 years-old)

Hello! and thank you for reading my blog.

If you are not familiar with the Youth Strike 4 Climate or my blog please read this and check my other posts.

I’m Nico Roman, but everybody calls me Nico. I’m in year 5 at King’s College School in Cambridge, UK. I’m Co-Chair of our Eco-Council (the first-ever Cambridge School Eco-Council in response to the threat of Climate Change on future generations) and a UNESCO Voices of Future Generations Child Ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On March 15, 2019 (the day of the Global Climate Strike) we started gathering at Shire Hall. At 10am, there were speakers from lots of different schools. Any school that wanted to send a speaker up did it!

“It was amazing to see hundreds, even thousands of us there.”

Then, at 10:30 – we marched. It was a longer march than last time (Feb 15, 2019), all along King’s Parade and through the city centre, down to St. Andrews Street, and up to the Guildhall.

The smallest children – including me 🙂 – were in front with the banners, everyone was awear of this – to keep a slow and steady pace – we are great at planning and organising! 😉

At 11:00, we were joined by some supportive University Students, and met at the Guildhall for some more speeches til 11:30am

We had some more skpeakers, one of them was my older brother Jona David, UN Child Author of a brilliant book on climate change (The Cosmic Climate Invention), and some brave kids from different schools demanding the world’s decision makers to take responsibility and solve this climate crisis.

And I also had a message to share with everyone – here is part of it:

“Even the smallest child can make a BIG difference!

Our new eco-council brings together pupils from schools all across Cambridge, to share our concerns, to cooperate, and to speak out!

We are hosting these Youth Strikes for our Climate in Cambridge, because we are petrified. We care about all the kids here locally and worldwide who will be hurt, or even die in typhoons, floods and droughts.

In school, we learn to be kind, to care for others, and to be responsible.

Destroying our whole planet is totally NOT ON.

Maybe our decision-makers need to go BACK TO SCHOOL.”

Nico (10), Co-Chair, Cambridge School Eco-Council and UN Child Ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Interview – ITV News

I was also interviewed by ITV News – to see other media coverage click here

Join us for April’s Friday for Future in Cambridge (or anywhere!)

Next School Strike for Climate Justice will be on April 12, 2019.

11.00 am – Meet at Shire Hall

11.15 am – Walk to King’s Parade

11.30 am – Lie-down at King’s College

Please wear blue, so it looks like Cambridge is flooding!


The lie-down will be for 11-minutes in front of King’s College to send a message about the floods that could drown the iconic town and University of Cambridge if climate change continues.

We will continue to march UNITED! on April 12 and many times after until we see Climate Justice!

We are going to change the fate of humanity! Are you part of this movement yet?