Sunderland's children show world leaders the way to go with carbon cutting initiatives

As world leaders at COP26 have struggled to come to an agreement on how to tackle Climate Change, children across the city have been leading the way with a range of sustainable projects.

Saturday, 13th November 2021, 7:30 pm

Throughout the duration of COP26, hundreds of pupils from six secondary schools and two primary schools have been devising and taking part in a range of carbon cutting initiatives including planting trees to creating orchards, reducing single-use plastics and introducing renewable energy.

One initiative involved children from Kepier Academy in Houghton-le-Spring establishing a plant exchange to buy wild seeds, plants, clay and compost and the construction of a school-run orchard.

The school has also recently invested in solar panels and a wind turbine to generate its own renewable energy to support its energy needs and which it can also sell on to the national grid.

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Headteacher Mrs Ashton said: “As an ‘Eco-Schools Green Flag’ School, we are committed to making a difference by educating learners about our environment. Every individual can make a difference to preserving our planet. It's about connecting what an individual can do that will have an impact on a global scale.

“For instance, putting rubbish in the bin, switching off lights when leaving a room, turning off the water when brushing teeth or recycling their waste plastic may seem small and insignificant actions, but if everyone commits to these actions, the impact would be such a positive one for our beautiful world.

"We don’t have a choice, we must care for and preserve our environment to guarantee a healthy life now, as well as a good life for future generations.”

Kepier Academy's Eco Club committee and teachers on the school roof with the recently installed solar panels.

The school has also established its own Eco Committee to lead on future green initiatives.

The committee added: “We are the Eco Committee and we are the future. We are finding solutions to change the world in a sustainable way and we are starting in Kepier, right here, right now.”

Participating schools had to submit creative project ideas to Sunderland City Council detailing how they would bring their projects to life and what the positive impacts would be. In total, £2,600 was given out to be used in the city’s schools.

Kepier Academy students David Kane and Toby Hall with plants to be grown in the school grounds.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s been great to hear about each of the low carbon projects developed by the schools. The young people have been so enthused by the initiative and it’s fantastic to see how passionate and willing they are to join the fight to save the planet.

“Not only has it given the students support with some of the resources required to develop and roll out their own carbon reducing projects, but it has also encouraged them to think creatively and the innovative solutions they have come up with have blown us away.

"As we look to the future, it’s pivotal that the next generation have the skills required to make the switch to a more sustainable way of living and the ability to support a greener economy, and if the ingenuity of the participants in this project are anything to go by, then the future certainly looks bright.”

Other schools which have taken part in the initiative includes Albany Village Primary School, Broadway Junior School, Monkwearmouth Academy, Southmoor Academy, Sandhill View Academy, St. Aidan's Catholic Academy and Washington Academy.

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