Democracy Week Climate Change Conference

The Three Rivers Learning Trust Democracy Event Climate Change Conference
in partnership with Northumberland County Council, Morpeth Town Council and KEVI PTFA

18th October 2019
09.30am – 1.00pm
The Corn Exchange, Morpeth Town Hall

Background to the conference

The Three Rivers Learning Trust recognises the need for urgency in addressing climate change. We believe that schools need to empower young people so that as citizens of the world, they have the knowledge and skills to overcome the consequences of climate change. Along with all our employees, young people will be involved in the development of the Learning Trust’s strategic policy on climate change.

We want to help our students to learn about the world around them, to acquire knowledge and agency to take the lead, to provide platforms to help them speak out and help us find ways to act together and reduce our impact on our climate.

We also want to work with, influence and inspire partners across the region. This democracy week conference provides an opportunity for our students to work with people outside school, offering everyone a chance to share knowledge, new ideas and create new plans.

Northumberland County Council, Morpeth Town Council, Community members and business world representatives all participated in this half day conference. During the event, we tasked everyone to think of ways to influence and create change; to consider actions as individuals, and as groups.

There are many outdoor learning opportunities, environmental projects and groups across our schools and students are increasingly active in supporting a range of initiatives. The Forest School initiative is thriving for our younger children, whilst there are a number of curriculum and enrichment projects for older students. Our students are very aware of the impact of climate change and want to see action to address the issue at all levels. For example, the Year 10 Eco Gardeners Group, which includes Beth Marriott, Emma McCourt, Sam Hayles, Abigail Murray, Ami-Jane Green, Ilia Train has stated:

“Climate change is really important to us, it is our future and an urgent problem which will affect our generation and all future generations. We all need to care more and do more and everybody needs to do their bit. Our gardening team are working together to help plant more trees and look at other solutions to the problem of CO2. We’re introducing a mix of volcanic dust and compost into our school gardens to trap carbon as calcium carbonate which stops it going back into the atmosphere.“

In Year 12, Environmental students Georgia Gorbould and Masie Franco- Saunders comment, “everyone needs to vote and in order to change public opinion, we need to ensure Government officials listen and change policies. We need to help prevent further change to the climate by making changes to our lifestyles. Plant more wildflowers; reduce energy use in homes; turn the heating down, reduce, reuse and recycle everything as much as possible. Simple changes that everyone can make, that secures our planet for future generations.”

Across the Three Rivers, schools are working to become more energy efficient, to improve recycling and to reduce printing. Each school occupies a beautiful site, with extensive outdoor space for learning and play and in partnership with The Woodland Trust more trees are to be planted on each school site.

Simon Taylor, CEO at The Three Rivers comments, “We will consider climate change in all of our organisational decisions and actions and we will aim to positively affect climate change and influence others to do the same. The curriculum and enrichment programmes are age appropriate – we do not want our students to be anxious – rather we want them to be informed and to be able to support the practical and small steps we can all make to address climate change.”