Well, a week later and I am back at the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls Campus! However, this time, it is to pay a visit to The Growth Hub and take part in their new ‘Sustainability: The New Advantage’ programme.
The programme is scheduled to take place on two consecutive Fridays (5th and 12th July) and features three speakers per day, with a break in the middle for lunch and networking.
The overriding theme, ‘The UK Government have declared a climate emergency, what does that mean for our businesses?’, is clearly very topical. I especially wished to learn more about the government’s prerogative and how organisations and businesses are reacting.
There had been some revision to Day One; a reversal of Fiona Ellis’ and Dick Baker’s slots. After a formal welcome and brief introduction from Julie Ellison, Business Guide at The Growth Hub, Fiona led a very interesting and highly interactive session. Not only did I discover more about B Corps and B Lab UK, but also local businesses and organisations that have already ‘declared a climate emergency’, e.g. Ecotricity; Toast; University of Bristol. Fiona distributed copies of B Lab UK’s ‘playbook for business’ and drew our attention to particular aspects. On my return home, I referred to the ’10 Facts About the Climate Breakdown’ on page 6 to create a true or false starter activity for future climate change-themed, school-based workshops! Fiona had us working in pairs and small groups at various points, which generated some lively discussion and encouraged attendees to mingle, rather than just chat with their neighbour/s. Neil Gilbride’s session had a more academic focus, exploring ‘complexity theory’ in some depth. He suggested that we should see this as a tool for extending thinking. Climate is a very complex issue; people have to see the world differently in order to construct their understanding. Neil also mentioned the ‘butterfuly effect’; the idea that a small adjustment can instigate much bigger changes.
Over lunch, I managed to do a spot of networking with representatives from local firms and establishments. I am really keen to help them reach out to the younger generation, who are most likely to be affected by our current actions.
Adriana Meirelles, a Brazilian film producer with first-hand experience of the Amazon, and myself are wishing to take a number of local teachers and their pupils on a ‘scintillating, South American adventure’ over the next academic year. Each school-based workshop will incorporate many aspects of the National Curriculum KS2 programme of study for geography, as well as having strong links with other areas of the whole school curriculum, most notably science, literacy/English, art and SMSC. Pupils will be transported (virtually!) to the Amazon and explore the tropical rainforest ecosystem, as well as consider its importance and contemplate global issues, such as deforestation and climate change. They will also have the chance to learn about the everyday lives of the indigenous people, hear, interact with and interpret a traditional tale and use natural artefacts to produce pieces of artwork. There is also the potential for pupils to share their learning and artwork with children in institutions within Brazil. Up to 60 KS2 pupils, alongside their teachers and teaching assistants (FREE CPD also included!), can take part in any such event. The cost of each workshop is £600, which covers all consultants’ fees and materials required.
To date, we have had extensive interest from schools across the south west of England, and beyond. However, with school budgets so tight, it is often these enlightening, enjoyable, cross-curricular experiences that have to be put ‘on hold’ until funding has been sought from other means, e.g. a grant; sponsorship. If any business or organisation feels that they would be able to sponsor a workshop in a local school, then please do get in touch with me as soon as possible (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). This may be deemed a small financial gesture for a business or organisation, but could provide a hugely memorable experience for, and have a life-changing impact upon, many youngsters across our county.
Unfortunately, I had to leave before Dick’s session and am unable to attend the second day due to prior school commitments. However, I do hope next Friday’s event proves to be as well-supported and productive as the first one has been.
Many thanks to all involved in organising such an important and reflective workshop.