Global Youth Climate Strike 20th September - Guidance for Principals
13 September, 2019
I’m writing on behalf of the Centre for Global Education, a Belfast-based provider of teacher training and resources on international development issues to local schools.
As I’m sure you are aware, young people across the world have been participating in a series of Climate Strikes to encourage decision-makers to take urgent action on climate change. On 15th March, 1.4 million students participated in climate actions in 2,000 cities which is a great testament to the commitment of young people to the sustainability of the environment. The next climate strike is on Friday, 20th September and I’m writing to encourage your school to support the participation of your students in a safe and educational way.
Recent research by Barnardo’s and the World Economic Forum shows that the climate crisis is one of the top concerns for young people. Research has also shown that youth engagement in social actions can reduce anxiety and improve their well-being. Action projects are an excellent learning experience through which students can develop key thinking skills, capabilities, attitudes and dispositions that will develop them as ‘contributors to society and the environment’.
The climate strikers are calling on everyone - young people, parents, workers, pensioners and all concerned humans - to join the international climate strike on 20th September. I have suggested below some guidance to support you to ensure your students feel listened to and empowered.
Hold an assembly or whole school lessons on the causes and impact of the climate crisis.
Provide a space for learners to voice their worries and concerns on the issue.
Show examples of the different ways people can make a difference (Video) including educating them about Greta Thunberg and the global student climate strike movement.
Help them to consider, plan and carry out appropriate actions on the 20th September and beyond e.g. making banners, protest in the playground, school gate or a community space.
Inspire staff and students with examples from other schools like Mill Strand IPS in Portrush.
Enable staff and students to join a strike near you or register your own strike locally, ensuring parental permission has been gained where necessary.
Share photos of your students’ climate actions on social media using the hashtag #GlobalClimateStrike. (Don’t forget to tag us on twitter @glpni and facebook @globallearningschoolsni).
For further guidance, Global Action Plan have created a toolkit to help school leaders decide their approach to and position on the strikes and equip staff to respond effectively to student concerns and desire to get involved.
I hope you will take this opportunity to enable your students and school to participate in the climate strike on 20th September and support the inspiring student-led movement that has elevated the issue of climate change to new levels.
Director, Centre for Global Education