The Eco Council Declaration
The science is clear. CO2 levels are higher than they have been for nearly a million years, average global temperatures are increasing, oceans are rising and becoming more acidic, wildfires are raging and extinction rates are nearly 1000 times higher than they should be. If we continue burning fossil fuels, building unsustainable infrastructure and degrading our environment, even more children like us all over the world will be hurt or even die.
We need to change all our lives and systems immediately or face an unimaginable future of heatwaves, floods, extreme weather, forest fires, crop failures, wars over land, food and water resource – the real risk of our own extinction. It is an emergency.
We are calling all local schools, town councils and county councils to help us save our planet, our future and the future of generations to come, by declaring a climate emergency and acting on it immediately.
Schools Action Plan
In our schools, we can and will take action through:
1. Climate Assemblies: Hold emergency assemblies in schools, with presentations on climate change and what we can all do, showing Greta Thunberg’s TED talk. Keep the climate emergency in the daily consciousness of every person in the school.
2. Carbon Footprints: Explain ‘carbon footprints’ so that every child understands the impacts of lifestyle choices such as air and car travel, imported goods and meat-based diets, and how the use of fossil fuels in aviation, shipping, construction and farming contribute to global warming.
3. Ecosystems Education: Learn how deforestation, intensive farming, use of pesticides and other factors are leading to loss of biodiversity, extinction of many species and ecosystem collapse. Ensure school libraries offer lots of resources on these issues.
4. Eco-Schools: Adopt an eco-code for every school, start an eco-society or club, perform an eco-audit and act on all its recommendations, so that all schools are eco-schools. Get OFSTED to rank schools on our compliance, making it serious.
5. Sustainable Lunches: Remove or reduce meat from school lunches, switching to a healthier, low-carbon, largely plant-based menu with no single-use plastics.
6. Earth Data: Display an up-to-date ‘Earth Data Panel’ in every school, which shows how humanity is performing in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, global average temperatures, ocean acidification, oxygen levels, wetlands protection and reforestation.
7. Carbon Neutrality: Fund and work towards making school facilities and transport carbon neutral, including shifting to renewable energy, hybrid/electric buses and other green systems over time, and teach everyone how to use these technologies.
8. Plant for the Planet: Set computer default browsers to Ecosia, an engine that plants a tree somewhere in the world for every 10 searches! So far, it has planted over 52,000,000 trees! Work directly with local councils to ensure every child can plant at least 10 trees per year as part of climate education, and help them care for the trees.
Town & County Action Plan
We call on our town council and county council to:
1. Declare a Local Climate Emergency: Declare a local climate emergency and mean it, setting up a climate advisory council with scientists, experts and youth to keep us on track, and taking the strongest possible measures to fight climate change.
2. Commit to Carbon Neutrality well before 2030: Make a clear, honest commitment to become completely carbon neutral or even carbon negative well before 2030, and follow through, reporting transparently to the public every six months.
3. Ensure Local Climate Finance: Collect carbon taxes to be spent on carbon sequestration and climate change programmes.
4. Support Local Renewables: Scale up initiatives to convert all roofs to living green, solar or heat reflective white, and to support sustainable buildings.
5. Implement the Paris Agreement: Prepare a plan to reduce GHG emissions to meet or exceed our country’s Nationally Determined Contribution and to increase climate resilience across all sectors, then implement the plan urgently on a local level together with the advisory council.
6. Make Local Green Transport Free: Green our buses and transport systems, then reduce the cost of public transport and make it more reliable, so that everyone will stop using cars.
7. Plant for the Planet: Work with local schools to ensure every child can plant at least 10 trees per year as part of climate education and help them care for the trees. This could be a leaving activity (yr6, yr8, yr11) and can be coupled with local projects to protect and restore wildlife habitat.
Country Action Plan
We call on our country to:
1. Make National and International Transport Sustainable: Stop non-essential flights, close ports to supertankers or any other high-carbon / fossil fuel imports, stop production of any motorised vehicles that run on fossil fuels
2. Stop Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Ban subsidies for fossil fuels and switch them to renewables, stop the sale of new gas hobs, boilers and start retrofitting heat pumps.
3. Start Energy Rationing: Stop all waste of energy, until we can meet all energy demand from renewables.
4. Support Only Climate-Smart Consumption: Phase out advertising of products that hurt our climate, promote switches to low-carbon alternatives, and encourage green purchasing for everyone.
5. Change Food and Agriculture Systems: Dig for victory and eat local, replace beef and dairy farming with nut trees and other plant-based diets, implement a temporary ban on pesticides to restore insect populations (putting up with a few bugs in spuds, apples and gardens)
We hope you will help us to save our climate, and with it our planet and our future.
Cambridge Schools Eco Council