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St Mary's feels the Greta effect

St Mary's feels the Greta effect

“You say you love your children above all else and yet you’re stealing their future in front of their very eyes.” Greta Thunberg, UN address 2019

Wow. When it comes to making the world sit up and take notice, Greta Thunberg is certainly pulling some punches.

Her courage, tenacity and passion are some of the very qualities that spring to mind when we think of a St Mary’s girl.

For Greta to cross the Atlantic Ocean, to take the United Nations to task over climate change, despite an army of social media critics, is all rather impressive in someone so young. And she is right. We are failing to protect our planet and we must take responsibility for the legacy we leave our children.  

The climate crisis has rumbled on for decades. A once distant threat, it presented no easy solutions, so it was left to evolve into the urgent situation we now face. I believe educators have a responsibility to influence and guide where we go from here.

Teachers find themselves on the frontline of this crisis, because we stand alongside young people. It is down to us to share the science, to build the creativity, resilience and innovative thinking that we need to face this challenge. Next year, public schools in Italy will incorporate 33 hours of climate-related education in their annual curriculum, to place ‘the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school.’ This is a move we need to see on a global scale.

Pope Francis has launched a global call to action, with a very clear message on the urgency of the crisis:

“Future generations stand to inherit a greatly spoiled world. Our children and grandchildren should not have to pay the cost of our generation’s irresponsibility.” Pope Francis 2019

In 2020, the Pope will launch a Global Educational Pact, to bring together world leaders and young people from around the world to form a new alliance between: “the Earth’s inhabitants and our ‘common home’, which we are bound to care for an respect.”

Pope Francis is calling for a global effort that transcends religions, to heal three fractures currently affecting our world, the third fracture is between humanity and the environment. He has declared an urgent need to create the conditions for ‘ecological citizenship’.

Considering Pope Francis’ call for a wider civil effort and Greta’s powerful example of an individual’s role in effecting change, we at St Mary’s are adding our voices and efforts to actions which reduce our impact on the environment.

St Mary’s in action

Led by the passion and drive of our students, we are building momentum across our eco-initiatives, which will grow year-on-year.

From highlighting issues around fast fashion, to recycling, re-wilding and fundraising, our Eco-Councils in Junior School, Senior School and Sixth Form are extremely pro-active in running events and activities.

In parallel to this, our Leadership Team are prioritising changes to our school infrastructure that will reduce our environmental impact, for example our food waste and paper recycling initiatives, through to the introduction of re-usable bottles and water fountains across our sites. Many of these are not only improving our eco-footprint – they are also saving us money!

- Olympia Severis, English teacher, and Greg Ball, Head of Operations