Secondary school students across Epping Forest attend the Climate Action Conference hosted by Epping Forest Youth Council.
Watch the conference
Students from Epping St Johns, Davenant Foundation, Roding Valley High School, Debden Park High School and West Hatch High School joined in with quizzes, debates and listened to guest speakers at the conference on Friday 19 November 2021.
The jam-packed day started with a warmup from Health and Wellbeing Assistant, Lucy Vandermark and Hollywood A-lister, Leonardo DiCaprio became part of the conference via his film, ‘The Greatest Speech of Leonardo DiCaprio – Climate Change’.
The Climate Action Youth Debate
Attendees debated whether it is right to block roads in the name of climate change action.
Arguments for and against were given; including examples of how the Suffragettes broke the law to achieve votes for women and how the disruption caused for drivers and other people is counterproductive to the climate change cause.
Delegates rejected these illegal protests, voting 60% to 40% against the motion ‘This house believes the blocking of roads and other disruptions is the right way to get climate justice’.
Did you know?
Students took part in a quiz hosted by Epping Forest District Council’s Climate Change Officer Francesca Edmonds.
Did you know…?
- The Maldives is the lowest country in the world, it is just 1.5 metres above sea level.
- It would take the planting of 1.2 trillion trees to offset the carbon emissions of the last 10 years.
- Heating and hot water produces the most climate change emissions in the UK.
Guest speaker, Nick Hill from Essex County Council spoke about sustainable transport and how organisations, including councils and schools, are developing travel plans to encourage active and sustainable travel like cycling and using public transport.
Nutritionist Ashleigh Howard spoke of how our diets can influence climate change. Meat and dairy products contribute 14.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Ashleigh spoke of how trying a mainly plant based diet that uses locally produced and seasonal food can reduce your carbon footprint. Many people are trying more meat-free meals to reduce meat consumption or growing their own fruit and vegetables, which is a great way to help reduce plastic waste from supermarket products and get some fresh air and exercise.
Reduce, reuse and recycle
Francesca Edmonds spoke about reduce, reuse and recycle; how poor waste management is leading to serious environmental damage.
Love Food Hate Waste has lots of tips and information about how you can help reduce food waste and save money.
Impact on wildlife
Epping Forest Countrycare Assistant, Jess Hodges shared what impact Climate Change is having on wildlife. Changes in food sources and habitat due to warmer weather mean a change in the patterns for animals and plants; animals are coming out of hibernation earlier before their food source is available.
Trees are a powerful weapon on the fight against climate change. More than 400 tonnes of carbon is stored per hectare of woodland with mixed native species.
Essex County Council’s Climate Action Schools Challenge aims to get schools to be carbon neutral by 2050. New schools will be powered by renewable energy such as solar panels and old schools retrofitted for a cleaner operation including insulation and energy use.
Schools are encouraged to sign up to the ‘Let’s Go Zero’ campaign to get schools to become carbon zero by 2030.
Schools can apply for an Essex County Council grant for climate action projects.
As the conference came to a close, attendees were told about job the DevelopMe Hub and how it can help with job searches, CV writing and interview skills.
DevelopMe has been established by the West Essex Partnership, a collaboration between Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford councils.
Have your say
The Climate Change Action Plan consultation closes on Friday 26 November 2021.
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