Following the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), we are continuing to shine a light on the sustainability initiatives of our SCIS member schools.
In this blog, we hear from Paul Vallot, VIth Form Lecture Series Coordinator and teacher at Strathallan, about the school’s commitment to sustainability and their activities with the Zero Water Day Partnership to raise awareness of water & mountain ecosystem conservation.
Strathallan hosts schools from around the world in a Call to Action at COP26
The curriculum at Strathallan places a strong emphasis on the environment, starting in the Prep School and running through into the senior years. The school is proud to be part of the UNESCO Futures of Education Initiative, a global initiative to reimagine how knowledge and learning can shape the future of humanity and the planet.
As part of this, we have been actively involved in the Zero Water Day Partnership, a voluntary partnership of schools with teachers and children learning with and from each other to act on water and sustainable development in their homes, schools and communities.
A key focus for the partnership in 2021 / 22 is on the protection of mountain areas against the impacts of climate change and mountains as water towers of the world. This is promoted through the #MountainsMatter campaign in schools to empower youth to play an active role in protecting ecosystems around the world’s summits for future generations. The Zero Water Day Partnership aims to support UNESCO Futures of Education Initiative through learning and whole school-whole community action.
Exploring ways to reduce waste & boost sustainability
As part of the Zero Water Day Partnership, Strathallan pupils focused on delivering projects in school that relate to 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Our Third Form have been crafting rain gauges to measure rainfall at Strathallan as well as looking at the way in which Scottish people use water.
Our younger pupils have been learning about Scottish rivers and hydroelectric power, waste management, and constructing bird feeders and bug hotels for our numerous outdoor classrooms. Pupils from the John Muir Trust are re-digging the old curling pond to benefit local wildlife, helping to drain parts of campus and our Eco-Schools team is seeking to reduce food waste in the dining hall through the installation of a new recycling system and conveyer belt which separates compostable food waste from non-recyclable material.
Strathallan’s Headmaster, Mark Lauder, has fully supported the initiative and has formulated a whole school plan for the rewilding and sustainable development of the campus. This includes planting bee-friendly wildflower meadows around the rough areas of the golf course, planting hedgerows around the campus boundaries, and developing nature walks around the campus with information boards discussing biodiversity and the local ecosystems.
A forum for discussion & change
When the world turned to Scotland and Glasgow for the COP26 conference at the beginning of November, Strathallan was asked by the Zero Water Day Partnership to host and participate in a virtual workshop session organised by them and in collaboration with the Mountain Partnership.
We were delighted to welcome schools from across the world to Scotland and the session opened with one of our second form pupils piping in the delegates. Discussions focused on empowering young people through education to be the voices of change in addressing climate change, especially regarding their role in water and mountain ecosystem conservation.
It was a real honour to represent the UK in this workshop session and join together with schools from around the world calling upon governments and the organisers of COP26 to urgently address education on mountains and their ecosystems and to build awareness of mountains as the “water towers” of the world.
A call for change
The organiser, Zero Water Day Partnership (ZWDP), is a voluntary partnership of schools with teachers and children learning with and from each other to act on water and sustainable development in their homes, schools and communities. The partnership is supporting UNESCO Futures of Education Initiative through learning and whole school-whole community action.
A key focus for ZWDP in 2021 / 22 is the protection of mountain areas against the impacts of climate change and seeing mountains as water towers of the world. ZWDP has been actively promoting the #MountainsMatter campaign in schools to empower youth to play an active role in protecting ecosystems around the world’s summits for future generations.
We are delighted to have been asked to represent the UK in this workshop session and to welcome all the other schools to Scotland. The session was a call to action and our pupils will be calling upon governments and the organisers of COP26 to urgently address education on mountains, awareness of mountains as water towers, and to tap into sustainable mountain tourism and its potential.
Many thanks to Paul Vallot from Strathallan for his contribution to this blog.