Students representing 11 nationalities from ICS London, Stonar School in Wiltshire, and EIB Victor Hugo school in Paris met for the first ever “virtual” Our Planet´s Future Summit on Friday 24th April, organised by WWF and Globeducate.
The workshop, usually involving face-to-face contact, immersed the students, aged 12 to 14 and from the UK, USA, Canada, Russia, Croatia, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan, in the varied and interlinked issues that face the planet. This was the first in a series of online sustainable education events to complement online schooling and to contribute to the international school group´s vision to prepare each student to be a global citizen who can shape the world. In May, more Globeducate students and teachers will have the opportunity to take part in these summits.
Aimed at building students´ understanding of the complexities involved in bringing about change at a global level, students met as a diverse group of 24 twice during the week, beginning with a briefing from WWF Education Manager Matt Larson-Daw, and were split into a World Leaders group and six smaller Biome expert groups to focus on their expert areas.
Alex Gololobov, Year 8, Stonar School, a World Leader, said: As World Leaders we had a fund of 100 Billion World Dollars, split equally in 5 Billion tokens; we were given briefings on food, energy and health and had to decide not only on our decision-making process but on our priorities and how to invest the available budget as well as what agreements to put in place, in order to ensure a positive future for the world population. I was also asked to give the official vote of thanks at the end of the summit, which was really rewarding.”
Zoya Elbanna, Year 9, ICS London, played a crucial role in the Freshwater Biome group, speaking maturely and with great conviction about threats such as chemical waste entering the water system from factories. She said: “We had to research our biome with very little time and then fight our case to influence the world leaders´ decision making. As well as the knowledge I gained about the threats to the planet´s future, I learnt new communication skills and will have more confidence doing this kind of activity in the future.”
Oanh Crouch, Education Director for Globeducate, said: “It was an honour to be part of this event and to see the passion our Globeducate students have for our planet. The students had the opportunity to demonstrate their research and presentation skills as they developed a plan to safeguard the future of our planet. Collaborating across three different school settings, the students produced an impressive summit with fascinating content and well-constructed arguments. It was a purposeful experience for the students and adults involved and we look forward to more joint WWF – Globeducate online events over the coming term. We are fortunate to have this partnership with a world leader in sustainability education.”
Matt Larsen-Daw, WWF Education Manager, said: “At this time of planetary emergency, it is vital that the next generation understands not only the science behind the environmental issues we face, but the mechanisms for change. This workshop builds political literacy and systems thinking alongside knowledge and understanding of our planet and the impact of human activities on nature. The students of these Globeducate schools rose to the challenge, confidently negotiating complex issues and drawing some far-reaching conclusions about the future options we face. Seeing the younger generation taking on the role of stewards of our planet with such determination gives me real hope for the future.”