Sustainers Fest, which welcomed over 70 students from 7 Camden secondary schools, took place at Samsung KX, on 24 May. Urban Partners and Google sponsored the climate action-packed afternoon event where students were encouraged to think critically about the climate crisis and how they could bring about change and solutions with their ideas and collaborative working.
Following on from the Schools Summit in November where the Camden School Climate Charter was launched, Sustainers Fest was an opportunity to give students a platform to use their voice on the climate crisis, encouraging them to think critically and to be morally and socially responsible citizens.
Students moved around 8 different zones aligned to the Camden School Climate Charter commitments, including food, energy and built environment, climate justice, single-use plastic, clean air and transport, rewilding, fashion and waste, and a student ‘climate action’ zone led by Parliament Hill students. Each zone comprised of a mix of reflective exercises, quizzes, collages, pairing games, sewing, problem solving – and lots of critical thinking!
As part of their climate zone, Parliament Hill students created a ‘top tips’ guide for delivering climate action and creating impact. Read their key takeaway points.
Students also had the opportunity to immerse themselves in Google’s relaxing virtual rainforest setting during the break before re-joining their school groups to plan how they would deliver a climate assembly on what they had learnt from the afternoon. The event finished with a session on careers in sustainability and the different routes to working in the sector.
Throughout the event students were encouraged to fill out ‘cross-pollinator’ cards and pass them along to a student they didn’t know. This was to help facilitate conversation and share knowledge and ideas with other schools. Some of the responses included:
- Turn off whiteboards
- It could be interesting to do more stuff with fungi because they are very fast growing and varied
- Find ways to combine climate action and art/creativity
- Use more natural light in buildings where possible
- Introduce more vegetarian options to school menus whilst trying to limit food waste, trial tasting sessions with students
- Climate justice links to all other topics around sustainability – create a climate noticeboard so students can add to it overtime and consider the breadth and depth of the topic
The overarching message from the event was start small, work together, keep at it, this is just the beginning.
Here from students on what they thought about the event:
A student from University College School said:
“I enjoyed speaking to other students in Camden with similar aims and goals for sustainability in our respective school. It would be great to have even more time next time to explore and discuss the different zones.”
A student from Camden School for Girls said:
“I liked how engaged everyone was and being able to understand how they made it to their career as it gave me insight into jobs that have a helpful impact on climate change and sustainability.”
A student from Hampstead School said:
“My favourite part about Sustainers Fest was realising that our ideas could have an impact.”
The event follows on from the launch for the Camden School Climate Charter, which was launched in November 2021, whereby Senior Leadership Teams of Camden schools were invited to sign the charter and declare climate emergency. There are currently 23 signatories.