Introduction Show the children these pictures and ask them to describe what they can see. What do these pictures make them think of? Explain that drought and rising sea levels are connected to global warming, and begin the assembly.
You could broadly introduce the concept of ‘being green’: caring for, protecting and improving the environment, both locally and globally.
When we talk about global warming, ‘climate’ means the average weather conditions on Earth over many years. Climate change affects all of us, and the first signs of climate change are all around us: In the Alps, glaciers are melting and disappearing. In southern Europe droughts are getting worse. Some parts of Spain are turning to desert. In the tropics, high sea temperatures cause storms and hurricanes that bring floods and dangerous landslides. As the oceans get warmer, ice at the north and south poles melts. This makes the sea level rise, which could destroy millions of homes all over the world. That includes animals’ homes, as well as ours.
Point out that everyday we use energy to power transport, for cooking, heating and lighting our homes, and to power all the gadgets we use. We take a clean water supply for granted for washing, cooking, cleaning and much more. If appropriate, you could explain what causes climate change: What causes climate change? There is strong evidence that this climate change cannot be explained by natural causes alone. So what is happening? In the Earth’s atmosphere are gases called greenhouse gases . These gases let sunlight and heat in, but only let some of the heat back out. They soak up heat and send it back towards the Earth, making it warm enough for people, other animals and plants to live on. This is called the greenhouse effect because it works the same way a greenhouse does – letting in sunlight and trapping the heat inside. The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere, the more heat that gets trapped. This causes the temperature to go up. So global warming is being caused by an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases. Where do these extra greenhouse gases come from? They are being made by us: humans. The greenhouse gas we release most of is carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is produced when fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas are burned to make energy. Fossil fuels are burnt at power stations to make electricity, and used as fuel to power planes, trains and cars. About half of CO2 emissions in the UK come from what individuals do – for example, using energy in the home for heating and electricity, or driving vehicles.
We all have an important role to play and can make a real difference to tackling climate change. In the UK there are over 8 million children in over 25,000 schools, so being greener at school can make a big difference.
Nearly everyone uses energy, water and transport, and produces waste, every day. That’s why there areas of our lives where we can all be greener. Here are some related facts: Energy: UK homes spend around £2.3 billion every year on electricity for lighting. Source: Energy Saving Trust Water: A running tap uses over 6 litres of water per minute. Source: www.greenboxday.co.uk Waste: The average UK family throws away six trees worth of paper a year. Source: www.greenboxday.co.uk Using public transport reduces pollution and traffic jams. Source: n/a
The next few slides contain some practical ideas, but you could ask the students to make some suggestions at this point.
These simple measures are great first steps towards being greener. What other ways of saving energy at school can students think of? e.g. Wear warm clothes rather than turning the heating up during cold weather When using computers, only print things if you really need to Use low energy bulbs Fact note: Leaving a 60W light bulb on for one hour every day of the year uses the same amount of energy as watching the TV every evening for a month.
These simple measures are great first steps towards being greener. What other ways of saving water at school can students think of? e.g. Collect rainwater to water plants Fit water saving devices in toilets Fact note: 150 litres of water would fill 455 soft drink cans!
These simple measures are great first steps towards being greener. What other ways of reducing waste at school can students think of? e.g. Re-use plastic bottles Use both sides of a piece of paper Only print if you really need to Fact note: Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose. To emphasise how long that is, point out to the children that 500 years ago in England, people were still living in castles!
How many students already use green transport? How many times a week? If students don’t walk, cycle or use public transport, what are the reasons? How could these reasons be overcome? Fact note: In the morning almost one in five cars on the road are taking children to school.
What actions can you all take to make your school a greener place? Start by concentrating on easily achievable goals, like turning off lights when you leave a room, or not leaving taps running. Because students can easily succeed with this type of activity, it will provide an incentive to get involved and generate enthusiasm for changing their behaviour. Ideas include: Turn off gadgets Say goodbye to standby Switch off lights Don’t leave taps running Re-use plastic bottles - fill with tap water Sort your rubbish for recycling Re-use bags – say No! to plastic Cycle or walk to school Use public transport Wear warm clothes rather than turning the heating up during cold weather Use both sides of a piece of paper Only print if you really need to Use low energy bulbs Use recycled toilet paper Collect rainwater to water plants Fit water saving devices in toilets Use rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones Plant trees in the school grounds
The Earth’s climate is changing. The weather is getting warmer. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world. The sea level has risen between 10 and 20 cm over the last 100 years. www.environment-agency.gov.uk