FIVE Leicester secondary schools are marking the COP26 climate conference with pledges of their own to make a difference to their local environment.
On Wednesday (10 November), Sustrans in Leicester is hosting a schools’ ‘Celebration Of Pledges’ (COP) event to coincide with the COP26 International Climate Conference’s ‘transport day’.
Sustrans is a charity that promotes sustainable transport and active travel, funded by and working in partnership with Leicester City Council.
Five Leicester secondary schools are participating in the ‘Travel To A Better Future’ challenge, designed and led by Leicester’s two Sustrans schools officers, Anna Singleton and Mel Gould. With their support, students and staff at Sir Jonathan North Girls’ College, Judgemeadow Community College, Soar Valley College, Castle Mead Academy and Brook Mead Academy have been measuring and analysing their schools’ travel carbon footprint and setting pledges in preparation for the pledge-making event.
Pledges being made by the schools include:
- Reduce at least 30 car journeys which are travelling less than 1 and a half miles to school each way at the moment, aiming for a yearly saving of 6,840kg of CO2.
- Double the amount of people cycling to college by Easter 2022.
- Create a reward system which allows us to recognise the efforts made by individuals to change their travel habits or other's travel behaviour to a lower carbon option.
Following the event, the schools will be taking action to lower their travel carbon footprints. A further measurement will be taken next Easter to evaluate how far they have progressed. There will be awards for individuals, groups of friends, classes, year groups, staff groups, parents and whole schools which have reduced their carbon footprints by choosing more active travel. All that has been achieved will be celebrated. Tips on how changes have been made will be shared with others.
Mel Gould from Sustrans said: “The competition aims to get all members of school communities travelling in active ways that are better for their own health and local air quality, as well as reducing congestion. Active travel is better for the planet and all the life that it sustains.”
Councillor Adam Clarke, Leicester City Council’s deputy city mayor for transport and the environment, said: “This is a great initiative by Sustrans. We know that secondary school students are fully aware of the need for urgent action on the climate crisis, and many of them want to act and to help. The ‘Travel To A Better Future’ challenge provides an opportunity for students to shape real and positive change for themselves, their school communities and the wider world.”
The challenge was launched in September and aims to help Leicester students to understand the relevance of the current COP26 International Climate Conference in Glasgow. The ‘Travel To A Better Future’ challenge guides schools through a parallel process of pledge-making and action-taking, demonstrating how to effect change at a more local level.
Sheetal Mistry, eco-club lead and school champion for the project at Judgemeadow Community College said: "We are so pleased to be taking part in this important competition which is helping our students’ awareness and understanding of the COP26 Climate Conference and how it relates to them. Crucially it gives them an opportunity to take tangible action themselves and understand the real impact that they can have by changing their own behaviour and influencing others".
Sustrans supports urgent action on the climate emergency. To find out more about Sustrans’ work, visit www.sustrans.org.uk
Photo – Climate Action March (24th September 2021). Judgemeadow Community College students and teachers with Sustrans schools officers Anna Singleton and Mel Gould and Councillor Adam Clarke.