100,000 School children to lobby Governments on Climate Change Agenda
Headteachers up and down the country have taken on the 100,000 Postcard Challenge to kick off the Autumn Term on a very serious note centred around the future wellbeing of their pupils.
With Climate Change now a concern for all, affecting the entire world and the recent unprecedented heatwave still fresh in everybody’s memories, Headteachers are being encouraged to start the new school year by involving pupils in an initiative aimed at raising their voices to be heard by leaders and decision makers all over the world.
The global initiative is inviting pupils to send a personal postcard setting out their demands related to climate action to be later sent to Heads of State and Members of Parliaments, including the UK. Not content with merely getting the chance to air their concerns on the effects of Climate Change, the postcard challenge aims to break a world record in the process, underlining the groundswell of the opinion of future generations, and their determination to move Climate Change to the top of the governments’ agenda.
Mrs Lou Nelson, Headteacher of Down Hall Primary School in Essex who is spearheading the 100,000 postcard challenge in the South East of England, said, ‘Climate change is set to impact each and every one of the pupils in our schools, and we have a responsibility to give them a voice in defining the world in which they will be growing up. I am challenging all my fellow Headteachers to take the lead in their schools too.’
The Postcard Challenge is an initiative launched by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) jointly with the World Advanced Vehicle Expedition (WAVE) aiming at mobilizing immediate action to stop global warming. The One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn) supports the initiative. ‘This generation of children is the first climate change generation. They are our future policymakers and our current message carriers’ says Angus Mackay, Head of the UN CC: Learn Secretariat.
Mrs Fiona Cowan, Headteacher of Bolsover Infants and Pre-School in the North of England has joined forces with the Derbyshire Handwriting Excellence Hub to take part in the 100,000 postcards initiative. They too are challenging all schools to support their children in writing and creating their very own personal postcard asking the Government to commit to a strategy to ensure the world’s temperature is brought down by just 1.5 of a degrees, putting paid to the likes of the freak heat wave experienced this summer that has wreaked havoc to farmers and set off price hikes and potential food shortages worldwide.
The Headteacher of Brockley Park Primary School, Caroline Rogers, says. ‘Our pupils are taking part in the 100,000 Postcards Initiative because they can use their strong handwriting skills not only to get their personal ideas down but to make a difference by engaging directly with the Government. Some of the postcards the children have written have profound messages.’
As part of the innovative initiative, the Swiss Embassy in London will accept all the postcards received from children between the ages of 6 and 20. These postcards will then travel to the highest post office in Europe located on the largest glacier in the Alps at Jungfraujoch, where they will be assembled to form the world’s largest postcard and beat the Guinness World Record on 30 October 2018. The deadline for delivering the postcards to the Swiss Embassy is 15 September 2018.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The 100,000 Postcards Initiative
Set up by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the challenge is to beat the Guinness World Record of the largest composed postcard (https://hazu.io/deza/postcard). To achieve this feat, the Initiative counts with the support from children and youth all over the world who are sending their postcards and writing down their messages related to climate action. The intention is to mobilize immediate action to stop global warming.
Location & Timing
The postcards will be exposed on 30 October 2018 on the largest glacier of the Alps located at an altitude of more than 3500 m a.s.l. in a place called ‘Top of Europe’ reachable by train and pertaining the highest post office in Europe (Jungfraujoch).
On a surface of ice of about 50×50 m over 100’000 postcards glued on A0 posters and sealed to be weatherproof will be exposed. The key message added to be visible from high above will be:
We are the future
Give us a chance
Stop global warming at 1.5°C
In such an endeavour children and young people are key players – both, as the generations that will have to live longer with tomorrow’s climate as well as driving force to achieve a climate compatible development.
Key messages addressed to decision makers
With the intention to inform and contact important decision makers, a special ‘Youth Climate Postcard’ featuring the Guinness Record on the Aletsch glacier will be produced. Subsequently, a number of key messages will be addressed in a personalized manner to Heads of States, Members of Parliaments, CEOs of large corporations. This shall include the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. António Gutteres and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Ms. Patricia Espinosa.
The goal of this sub-initiative is to further raise the voice of children and young people to compel decision makers to take immediate and relevant action to address climate change and ultimately to contribute to strengthening a global youth movement for climate change action.
The UK participation
Harwood Education, together with two British UN Youth Ambassador for Learning – Hannah-Jane Kenton and Phoebe de Vorms – are leading a national campaign with schools in the UK in order to collect as many postcards as possible before the deadline of September 15th. So far, 25 schools were mobilized and are actively creating their postcards. The NGO has joined efforts with UNITAR/UN CC:Learn and will track some of the postcards from their conception in British schools up to Jungfrau. The initiative will be showcased in December at COP24 in Kratowice, Poland.
Support and Deadline
The Swiss Embassy will take care of sending the completed postcards to Switzerland. The deadline for delivering the postcards to the Swiss Embassy is 15 September 2018 at the latest. However, the earlier the better in order to make sure they will be exposed on the Aletsch glacier on 30 October 2018.
By sending their postcards, every young learner agrees to have their art piece exposed for the Guinness World Record and further used for non-commercial /not for profit communication purposes including subsequent events. The acknowledgement will be self-speaking as the author has to put their name on their card by default, to comply with the regulations (see below).
- Use DIN A6 i.e. 148 mm x 105 mm cards
- Use solid paper of 140-250 g/m2
The artist has to:
- Write and/or visualize their commitment to improve the world’s climate and limit global warming to a maximum of +2°C
- Add their name and surname
- Add the name of their school , location (city, village) and country
Contact and registration in the UK
- For more details about the UN Climate Change Learn Programme or the participation of UK schools in the 100,000 Initiative, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- For more information about the 100,000 Postcards Initiative, please visit: https://hazu.io/deza/postcard
- For more information about UNCC:Learn, please visit: https://www.uncclearn.org
UN Climate Change Learn: For Primary and Secondary Schools
Harwood Education has joined efforts with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to develop and deliver an innovative Climate Change Education Programme for primary and secondary schools in the UK.
This ambitious multi-annual project will seek to develop a comprehensive package of interactive classroom materials on climate change for school teachers and children:
1) UN Climate Change Learn: Specialist E-Course for Teachers
2) UN Climate Change Learn: Interactive Teaching Programme for Children
Our mission is to teach children how to understand and live in a world affected by climate change, but without fear. We believe that it is necessary to engage children and youth in changing societal attitudes and behaviours through their schools, families, and communities.
One of the programme’s goals is to kick-start an international climate change youth dialogue that fosters direct discussion between school children around the world through the concept of ‘Climate Change Diaries’. The UN Youth Climate Dialogues-inspired documentary TV series will showcase how children around the world are coping with climate change in inspirational ways. The campaign will be promoted internationally through online channels and on social media.
About: UNITAR/UN CC:Learn
The One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn) is a collaborative initiative of more than 30 multilateral organizations supporting countries to design and implement systematic, recurrent and results-oriented climate change learning. The initiative was launched at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit. The Secretariat of UN CC:Learn is provided by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
At the global level, the partnership supports knowledge sharing, promotes the development of common climate change learning materials, and coordinates interventions through a collaboration of UN agencies and other partners. At the national level, UN CC:Learn supports countries in developing and implementing national climate change learning strategies.
Thematic focus areas include:
• Climate Change Science
• Climate Finance
• International Climate Negotiations
• Adaptation Planning
• Climate Change and Health
• Climate Change and Forests
• Climate Change Education for Children
UN CC:Learn partners work jointly on climate change learning materials that are available to everybody as a public good. Products include a series of introductory modules and a self-paced e-course that provides “everything you need to know about climate change in a nutshell”, as well as resource guides for advanced learning that direct users to specific learning materials and courses that match their learning needs.
The materials draw on the specialized expertise of global UN CC:Learn partners. In combination with UNITAR’s know-how in learning methodologies, UN CC:Learn works for instance with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the area of health and with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in the area of climate change science.