Air pollution effects everyone and tackling this problem involves schools working with local communities. A big issue is car idling, particularly outside schools. Car idling produces up to 150 balloons of exhaust emissions per minute containing harmful chemicals like cyanide, Nox and PM2.5.
A global citizen is someone who is aware of and understands the wider world – and their place in it. They are a citizen of the world. They take an active role in their community and work with others to make our planet more peaceful, sustainable and fairer.
Very worthwhile if we can educate all our students to grow with these values!
Oxfam publish some helpful guides which outline the ‘key principles of taking a global approach to teaching and learning, as well as practical guidance for embedding it into your lessons’. They also have some excellent Global Citizenship teacher resources for classroom activities.
There are many projects that you could undertake as a school in order to be active citizens.
Here are some ideas:
1. Raising money for an environmental charity by having a non-uniform day, cake sale, secondhand sale or sponsored walk.
2. Donating items to a local foodbank or clothes to a homeless charity.
3. Growing and selling food to your local community such as through an allotment or having your own bee hive.
4. Working with local groups on a project such as litter picking, reducing plastic waste, educating others about air pollution or climate change, or encouraging recycling.
5. Linking or ‘twinning’ with schools in other places and countries and completing a project together. The British Schools Council has helpful guidance on the steps to establishing a partnership with another school.
6. Involve parents, carers and local people in your school projects such as planting trees in your school grounds or creating a community allotment.
UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools Award
Another program a school can consider is the ‘Rights Respecting Schools Award.’ The aim is to approach every subject through the lens of Unicef’s rights of the child. Working for the Award embeds these values in school life and teaches children to be responsible, active citizens with an awareness of the lives of others around the world.
Working towards the award is a big commitment which needs everyone in school to be on board. However, the website has plenty of resources including a range of assembly topics with supporting materials which anyone can access.
UK Schools Sustainability Network
The UK Schools Sustainability Network (UKSSN) brings together networks of students to connect and collaborate on issues they care about, fully supported by school staff. There are now UK regional networks established in places such as Avon, London, Oxford and Somerset with further networks being developed in places like Devon, Essex, Scotland and Manchester. A similar network has also set up in Ireland.
The regional networks provide students and staff with a way to connect with peers, share ideas and resources, collaborate on local, national and international initiatives, and develop personal, social and workplace skills.
The group have worked collaboratively on environmental projects including writing to government officials on topical issues, attending COP26 and organising a residential. They meet regularly and offer free training to students and staff. Any school is free to join a local network group and you can apply to express interest by signing up on the official website.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Using the 17 goals as a means to engage your school in environmental issues is a good starting point. You could work your way through the goals as mini projects or assign one to each year group to focus on throughout the year. This video is a great way of introducing your students to them and inspiring their imagination.
Explore all Schools Resources
Thinking about how we can use water efficiently and sustainably in school and at home is important as clean water is not unlimited. Did you know that on average, each person in the UK uses 150 litres of water a day! Essex and Suffolk Water has some great tips on how to save water and often run educational sessions for schools.