As world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for the 26th United Nations Annual Climate Change Conference, last week Moreton Hall pupils played their part in tackling a global priority, climate change, the greatest risk facing both theirs and future generations. With COP26 already topping the news agenda, over 200 Moreton Hall pupils across Year 9 to Year 13 came together to put forward their views to avert the crisis and to secure a brighter future.
Moreton Hall’s COP26 Climate Change conference commenced with a presentation from Old Moretonian Flavia Paterson, who worked as a political Lobbyist for the Woodland Trust SSE and spent 3 years as Director of Communications covering Scotland in the Government. Flavia will be in Glasgow for COP 26 and was able to share her unique insights. Flavia was joined by Smart Energy expert Rupert Pigot and together they set the COP26 agenda for our pupil delegates and issued the challenge to the younger generation to take the lead in saving the planet.
Taking up Flavia’s challenge, each year group focused on a specific issue on the table at the Glasgow conference. Following the UN model, they divided into member countries including the UK, the USA, Brazil, Russia, Bangladesh and China to consider their issue from the perspective of that country. Renewable energy, deforestation, sustainable transport and waste reduction were all researched and discussed as the student delegates developed their understanding from the perspective of their country. In the lively debates which followed, the vested interests of their country were paramount in trying to find a compromise on the resolutions on the table: input from representatives lobbying from business and NGOs added fuel to the discussions.
Moreton’s COP 26 live blog created by the student press team; Holly, Nell, Kate, Hedy, Sophie and Florence ensured the wider school community was kept up to date with developments, with their live feed shared on social media outlets; twitter and facebook, using the written word, video and audio.
Year 11 pupil Holly commented: ”It was really interesting to find out the views of different countries. Here in the UK we have our own opinions but we don’t always think about how those views differ or affect other countries.”
Nell added: “It’s important to understand different countries’ opinions and why they hold them. That will help us understand why agreement at COP 26 is such a challenge”
Reflecting on the day, Hannah Peel, head of the school’s Eco Team and one of the staff behind the day commented: “This was a great day. I was with year 10 who were debating commitments to increase renewables and reduce fossil fuels. After an amendment to reduce the target was rejected by a narrow margin, the motion of committing to 75% renewables by 2040 with the added clause that HICs would commit a percentage of GDP to help LICs develop new technologies to achieve this was passed. We had some strong debates from China and Kenya, with excellent contributions from India, Brazil and Bangladesh in particular. Everyone worked hard and hopefully was able to see this important climate issue from the perspective of other countries. We all hope that the real COP26 is pursued with the same enthusiasm and commitment to Global change!”