More than 50 sixth formers from four schools across the Borough attended Brentwood Climate Action’s first Schools Conference, held at Anglo European School in Ingatestone last week.
In addition to pupils from the host venue, students and their supervising staff came from Brentwood County High School, St Martin’s School, and Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School. The November 11 event saw them all taking part in educational activities related to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, and the Climate Emergency generally.
Everyone was in agreement that the afternoon was a huge success, with the Conference a great opportunity for students to discuss the growing need to combat climate change, and its various effects on societal well-being.
“There was a lot of energy in the room, a lot of dialogue with the speakers, and great enthusiasm to do it again in summer 2022 – with St Martin’s School volunteering to host,” said Brentwood Climate Action’s Richard Millwood.
The main focus of the event was three presentations by key-note speakers via Zoom – Matt Webster, Head of Environment and Sustainability for British Land; Patrick McDowell, fashion designer; and Andrea Zara, DJ at KISS FM – plus Councillor Gareth Barrett of Brentwood Borough Council in person. These were interspersed with round-table discussions among the students, brainstorms and workshops.
Matt Webster kicked off with a talk on ‘Buildings’ effect on climate’; followed by Patrick speaking on ‘Climate conscious fashion’. The third presentation from Andrea was on ‘Reducing individual impact on the climate’; and then Cllr Barrett talked to the room about ‘Recycling in the UK: challenges and opportunities for food and drink.’
The event was coordinated in association with Ingatestone & Fryerning Parish Council, with Parish Cllr Marilyn Marston saying: “The enthusiasm and interaction within the hall seemed to stimulate great ideas for future projects.”
Textile students from Anglo European that also attended are going to work with Cllr Marston, collecting scraps of material and wool from people’s homes to turn into fashion items.
Students were invited to brainstorm project ideas for future climate action and get together in action groups to discuss in more detail. As the Conference drew to a close, each action group was invited to explain what they are committed to achieve and then report back on at the follow-up Conference in the summer of 2022.
In this way Brentwood Climate Action is looking to get students to commit to inter-school collaborative action over the coming months, and take back what they have learned to their schools, fellow pupils and their community.