As world leaders prepare for COP26, taking place from Sunday 31st October to Friday 12th November 2021, Jersey’s preparatory school St Michael’s will convert its Old Gym into a special St Michael’s COP26 Hub, featuring a permanent live stream of the conference for the whole school to enjoy.
In addition, some pupils will take part in LEGO’s newly launched ‘Build the Change’ initiative and will have Q&A sessions with key speakers and attendees of COP26.
The launch of Jersey’s first student-led Social Impact Programme and Sustainability Strategy by St Michael’s in September saw eleven Shell Year (year 9) students take on the role of young sustainability ambassadors, responsible for driving change not only within the school community, but Jersey and internationally.
Conference of the Parties (COP) is the United Nation’s annual climate change conference, takes place this year in Glasgow and many believe is the last chance to tackle climate change.
The yearly summit sees world leaders and experts gather to make crucial decisions for our planet. At COP21 in 2015, after years of negotiations, the Paris Agreement was established and signed by almost all the countries in the world. The Paris Agreement was the first global treaty of its kind, outlining the steps governments needed to take to reduce emissions and help people adapt to a warmer world, so we could build a sustainable future. Now, in 2021, significant progress still needs to be made as current commitments do not put governments on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The COP26 summit to be hosted in Glasgow will bring parties together once again to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. During the conference, each leader is to demonstrate their new commitments to further slow our climate crisis. These are to include ambitious 2030 emission reduction targets, mitigation measures to protect communities and natural habitats, and novel green finance solutions.
Many insiders believe that COP26 won’t reach its goal of having strong enough commitments from countries to cut global greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030. That means the world won’t be on a smooth course for reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and the goal of keeping warming under 1.5 degrees C. Therefore, it is vital that we educate, engage and encourage change within our local community and with our young people so they can aid in making a positive impact.
St Michael’s is Jersey’s first school to tackle sustainability head on, and in doing so is striving towards the prestigious B Corp accreditation over the next two years.
Headmaster, Mike Rees, says “When pupils return from their half-term break, the opening assembly will centre around the climate change summit and our own pupil involvement.
“As part of our new effort to combat our own carbon emissions, we are taking pro-active steps to educate and engage our students to make a change as a part of COP26 through learning. For the first two weeks of our next half term, between 1st and 12th November, the Old Gym will be converted into a St Michael’s COP26 Hub, featuring a permanent live stream from COP26 for the whole school to enjoy. Teachers across the school will have the option of utilising our COP26 Hub for their teaching and learning as they choose, in addition to being open for students and staff to experience in their break and lunch times.
“Our vision is not only to deliver an exemplary level of teaching and learning but also to build a better world; for generations. Our intention is that our involvement in COP26 will help raise the much-needed profile of the world’s climate crisis in our local community but moreover provide our young people with a holistic view on the world, enabling and empowering them to become well-rounded global citizens”
A programme of speaker events and tailored activities will take place at St Michael’s School between 1st and 12th November 2021.
Click here to find out more about COP26 and here to read about St Michael’s Social Impact Programme.