Today the grade seven and eights at our school were invited to attend the Eco Summit at Mohawk College. It was an exciting opportunity where we got to listen to motivated students from around Hamilton speak about the change they were making in their school community and beyond. Local poets, musicians and activists spoke as well about the changes we could be making and how the earth desperately needs our help.
I knew I had to prepare my students for in their mind what could have been a boring day listening to speakers. I needed to create an interest in them before they sat down in Mohawk’s auditorium. I shared with them a BBC article I had recently read about the key things we can do to keep the earth’s temperature from rising beyond what it can handle. I shared with them how we need to cut down and eliminate certain things or places such as Portugal (as I felt this summer) will be uninhabitable very soon.
I soon saw that this trip was a bit mature for some of our younger grade sevens and even for some of our eights. They did not quite have in them the interest in climate change. Only a few of our eights were brave enough to ask the student guest speakers some questions such as: how did you get your teachers or people in general to pay attention to your causes? How can we make a change? What is the most important issue facing us at the moment? Etc.
I did however find a few key takeaways in the main keynote address of the day. We were VERY fortunate to hear from David Suzuki via video conference. I wrote some notes regarding his message to our group today. Here are the main points:
- we need to radically reduce our use of fossil fuels
- we should research and read more about the blue dot agenda and we can do so by going onto bluedot.ca
- once there, you can click take action
- we can learn more by reading about the David Suzuki foundation
- we can email the MP in our area and ask them to sign the MP pledge for environmental rights
- anyone 18 or older needs to vote in the upcoming federal election for the most environmentally conscious leader
- fight for the IPCC recommendation
- it is important that we as educators offer solutions to our children without scaring them about the future
- shift to what is called a biocentric view rather than what our world currently has, the human centric view
- we need to see us a part of a web of living things
- our students are the heroes of the future
That last point really stuck with me. Sure they may have been zoning off during David Suzuki’s talk or not listening to the inspirational music videos, but we cannot give up hope on our heroes of the future. Even if just a few of them take a stand, we can hope that they will be the change we need to see in this world. I encourage everyone to try to do some of the points as listed above. Also, a great read is this BBC article that challenges us to start making changes as well:
Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s NOT. -Dr Seuss