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County Durham schools join Climate Conference during COP27

Published November 16, 2022 11.49am

Pupils in County Durham have joined schools across the globe during COP27 to pledge to protect the environment.

COP27 schools conference

Areej from Hassan Ben Thabet Governmental Language School in Egypt

We have partnered with Durham University and OASES to present the ECO2COP27 International Schools Climate Conference.

The conference connected the county's schools with those in France, Spain, Italy, Costa Rica, Romania, India, Hungary, and the place of this year's COP27 summit, Egypt.

Climate solutions

With 100 schools taking part, pupils were given a range of resources to learn about how climate change affects habitats and eco-systems through three themes: climate losses; climate solutions and climate hopes.

Live interactive online conferences were held, where pupils had the chance to ask questions of a panel of representatives from ourselves and the university.

At the end of each session pupils were asked to think about pledges they could make to reduce their emissions and positively impact on the climate in school and at home.

Pledges included planting trees, setting up vegetable gardens to grow their own food, establishing eco-clubs to encourage climate communication and reducing the amount of energy and paper used.

Find more information about sustainability education support for schools.

Inspiring generations

Cllr Mark Wilkes, our Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: "While world leaders are gathering to discuss climate issues at COP27, we have used this time as an opportunity to work with pupils and teach them the importance of reducing our impact on the environment.

"We set up this conference to connect schools and establish a global partnership, with the shared aim of encouraging the younger generation to be conscious of how their actions affect the environment, as all our actions can. It was great to see pupils respond so positively, and we hope these important messages have inspired them to act in a way that protects and preserves our climate.

"The ECO2COP27 International Schools Climate Conference follows on from the success of last year's schools conference for COP26, showing the ongoing commitment from the partnership and schools from across the globe in continuing the education, collaboration and engagement around taking climate action."

International partners

Professor Douglas Halliday, Co-Director of Durham Energy Institute at Durham University, said: "The ECO2 Smart Schools Climate Conference has provided Durham University with an outstanding opportunity to engage with young people from across County Durham, and their international partner schools, to learn about climate losses, climate mitigation, what they can do to limit this and develop a positive future.

"Through the pre-prepared resources and the live question and answer sessions, we have been able to interact with children to motivate and inspire them to adapt and take action. Their insights, eagerness, and desire to learn were remarkable. With enthusiasm, knowledge and engagement like this, we can be confident that the future can be better for all, and the impact of this event will last for many years." 

Talking and learning

Joanne Appleby, chief executive officer of OASES, said: "It is now more important than ever that good quality, accurate climate change teaching occurs in schools, and that there is appropriate support available for young people to view and air their climate concerns. 

"This conference is an excellent way to start learning and talking about the issue, enabling pupils from all around the world to come together and question Durham University, Durham County Council and OASES representatives. We hope the young people who attended now feel empowered to take climate action."