RM commentary in response to Scotland being set to become to first rewilding nation

“As COP 26 comes to a close, and attendees return to their homes and places of work, it is important that this conference becomes much more than a “distant memory”.  For us in the Education Sector, it’s important to build on the good intentions – even if the policy statements announced were seen by many as not going far enough.  This is why students from school and universities in Scotland are already doing just that and holding themselves to account when it comes to making real and lasting change. A movement to rewild Scotland is picking up momentum amongst school and university students; allowing pockets of land to grow wild, planting trees and creating ponds is a simple initiative that will encourage biodiversity and bring students closer to nature – something that will be crucial to inspiring the next generation of environmentalists, both locally and nationally.  But is there more that educators can be doing to mitigate the impacts of climate change?  And is it all about creating new habits, or simply tweaking old ones?
“One thing about climate change is that everyone in the Education Sector can play their part – and one way is with respect to the use of technology.  Let us start with computer cabinets and rooms.  They’re inherently hot, sticky and consume a great deal of energy – that is unless your school has moved their servers “into the cloud” where energy consumption can be greatly reduced by sharing it between many institutions.  How about the worksheets that are printed off for students to complete – can the task be done equally well (and much more efficiently) online?  And what about assessment – is a printed exam the answer, or could that also be done digitally?  These are simple changes that could have huge consequences.  All have a great impact in the search for a greener future, and recognising the role we and education institutions play, both good and bad, is a substantial step in the right direction.
“Schools and universities now have to prepare themselves for the potential repercussions of climate change while also considering what actions they can take themselves. Otherwise, schools in areas such as London, where statistics from the London Mayor’s office warned that a fifth of schools are at risk of flooding, could be a great risk of feeling the effects. Without a continuity plan in place, as well as plans to effect positive change on their own doorstep, the repercussions could be devastating. So while initiatives such as rewilding Scotland may seem like a small step locally, their impact could be vast.”

Simon Carter RM