In FOCUS; Write for rights – our pupils steer climate change debate with powerful letters to Prime Minister
Our environmentally aware pupils in Year 5 have spoken up for young people everywhere, after writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the impact of climate change on children’s rights across the globe.
Children and staff at school are so passionate about the issue that they have put pen to paper to request that the government upholds its commitment to the United National Convention on the Rights of the Child and takes positive action to support children’s rights, internationally.
The letters are part of ‘OutRight’ UNICEF UK’s annual youth campaign that empowers children and young people to promote and protect children’s rights around the world. We are just one of 5,000 UNICEF UK Rights Respecting Schools (RRS) across the UK that embed children’s rights in their ethos and culture.
One impassioned pupil urged the Prime Minister to take action. One pupil wrote: ‘This is our world. We live in it, so help make it a better place.’
Deputy Head Teacher Rhian Warrack said: “Pupils at Hill West are aware of their rights, but we are also developing the children’s awareness of wider issues including the rights of children on a global basis, a greater understanding of the social and emotional aspects of learning and the importance of community cohesion and sustainable development.
“Our pupils feel strongly that these are, ‘Our Rights, Our Responsibility’ and want to make their voices heard, so they have written to the Prime Minister as a call to action. They very much hope that the Government will respond to their request to uphold the rights of children, and Hill West will continue to support our children to make their voices heard.”
Dr Warrack explained: “The children described which rights children may not be able to access. For example, if children are living in a country where there is drought, this will cause a lack of access to water (Article 24) and a subsequent impact on children’s health so that they may not be able to go to school, impacting on their Right to an Education (Article 28), but also applies to children who are impacted by flooding and have to leave their homes (Article 27) – our pupils were shocked to think that this can happen to children in our own country, as well as to children living overseas.
“I am so impressed by the quality of letters and how passionate the children are about actioning change. They are real ambassadors for children’s rights, and I hope they receive a response from Number 10 because this is a campaign very close to all our hearts.”
Climate Change Charter
To reduce our consumption of power at school and at home by…
- Turning off lights when not needed
- Turning off electrical items (e.g. Whiteboards, computers, monitors, phone chargers) when not needed
- Using renewable sources of energy wherever possible e.g. air source/ground source heat pumps, solar panels, wind-generation
- Using energy efficient appliances
This will reduce carbon dioxide emissions
To reduce our use of fuels which contribute to global warming at school and at home by …
- Parking and walking
- Train/bus/tram instead of car
This will reduce carbon dioxide emissions
PROTECTION OF HABITATS AND ENVIRONMENT
To maintain or enhance the removal of carbon dioxide from the environment at school and at home by…
- Ensuring that if plants die or need to be removed from their current location, they are replaced by a similar or increased number of other plants
- Turn off taps when water is not being used
- Placing litter in bins or pockets (if none available)
- Reduce, reuse or recycle
- Planting new plants pro-actively, or protecting existing plants, that provide food and shelter for other creatures
This will increase carbon dioxide absorption and produce more oxygen, reducing climate change.
CAMPAIGNING FOR CHANGE
To ensure that action is taken to reduce the impact of climate change on the world climate and our environment by…
- Speaking out whenever possible at school, at home and in the local community
- Taking action against climate change
- Writing to local politicians or national politicians to let them know our views
- Talking to members of the Rights Respecting Steering Group to let them know our thoughts and feelings about climate change and its impact on us
This will encourage adults to take action against climate change and protect the world for future generations