Global climate science expert is first speaker for Cambridge pupils’ eco-seminars
The process of educating the next generation for climate change - which will be in effect long after a vaccine has been discovered for coronavirus - has stepped up with a range of fortnightly series of online eco-seminars alongside the competition to design a composter (entries close April 25).
The free eco-seminars, co-hosted with the Cambridge Schools Eco-Council and supported by CISDL (the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law), start on Tuesday (April 21) at 4-5pm and explore a range of topics related to environmental issues alongside other children, including ‘Voice of Future Generations’ - part of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation - child authors and child ambassadors, Cambridge eco-councillor pupils, and global experts in sustainability.
Each zoom event focuses on a key sustainable development goal such as climate action, protecting/restoring life on land, agriculture and food systems.
The first seminar - the day before Earth Day 2020 on April 22 - will discuss global climate change, the Paris Agreement and policy solutions with international legal expert, Prof Christina Voigt, and two youth speakers, Jona David and Virginia Denmead. The speakers will frame their arguments in the first 25 minutes of the session, the second 25 minutes will be a Q&A on potential solutions and ways to raise education and awareness interactively, and the seminar closes with a 10-minute summary from the experts and youth speakers by 5pm.
Professor Christina Voigt is a University of Oslo international environmental law expert, IUCN climate change specialist group chair, a IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law member and a member of the Paris Agreement’s compliance committee. Prof Voigt, who says “I have been in Cambridge several times”, has had two books published by Cambridge University Press - ‘Rule of Law for Nature’ (2013) and ‘International Judicial Practice on the Environment’ (2019).
“I will talk about the Paris Agreement and why it is so important,” said Prof Voigt of her talk. The 2015 Paris Agreement saw participating countries commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to stay global temperature rises “well below” a 2-degree (Centigrade) rise since the start of the industrial era (early nineteenth century). The Earth is already past a 1C rise, and global temperatures are already on course to reach 1.5C of warming between 2030 and 2052. By the end of the century, if the warming continues at the current rate, the rise will be between 3C and 4C, precipitating the death of millions and causing devastating sea level rises - and making life on Earth barely worth living for those who survive.
The Cambridge Eco-Challenge to support global sustainable development goals is organised by the Cambridge Schools Eco Council, the local network of students from 30 Cambridge schools who lead eco-clubs. The Eco-Challenge was created to inspire children who are at home under lockdown measures to stay active and enhance their local environment and sustainability, “one small project at a time”.