Welcome to the first newsletter for our Schools Climate Network in South Yorkshire.
In the short time since our conference we have seen the harsh reality of just 1.2 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels. The extreme weather events that have been making it onto our news channels this summer, as well as the publication of the UN IPCC Report on 9th August (see https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/08/1097362 ) bring to mind this quote from JRR Tolkein's 'The Lord of the Rings':
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
As Christiana Figueres recently said, we have to face our feelings of fear. apathy and anger, and "break through the mental boundaries that are now preventing us from doing what is necessary". We have the solutions. We are the solution!
Dame Sarah Storey, the opening speaker for our conference, has been a great role model for us. Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, her commitment and determination have enabled her to go on to win the first GB Gold of the Paralympics. In her opening speech to our conference she told us to use the mantra from elite sport: "control the controllables – don’t worry about others and focus on your own behaviour.... You really do have an incredible amount of influence and you should never underestimate that.”
As teachers and school leaders we have a huge role to play both by educating pupils and by transforming our schools into low carbon role models within the community.