The next generation is taking control of their future – Maya Saha CLFS

Climate change is a prevalent, undeniable issue facing our society. It is seen as inevitable and irreversible – which is true, in part. However, at the City of London Freemen’s school, the importance of taking responsibility for our planet is instilled at a young age, emphasising the fact that climate change can be mitigated; that there is still a chance to prevent worse damage being caused.

The Eco Council is a committee set up by geography teacher Mrs Bueno-Lopez and offers a space for students to raise their concerns and ideas on how to make their school a more sustainable place. While it is overseen by a member of staff, the execution of said ideas lies with the pupils, giving them a sense of responsibility and a voice within the school community. Recently, they have been awarded the green flag of honour as a result of their efforts, marking Freemens as a sustainable and proactive.

So, what new ideas have been implemented to deserve this award?

The Eco Council has introduced Ecosia to be the new search engine across all school technologies, replacing chrome or safari, in an attempt to make even the everyday things contribute to the cause. Ecosia started as a small app but has now expanded for worldwide usage. Every search with Ecosia removes about 1kg of CO2 from the atmosphere. If it was as big as Google, it could absorb 15% of all global emissions. ​They use the profits generated by searches and advertisements to “plant trees where they are needed most,” according to their website. On 18th of October 2022, over 160 million trees have been planted at 13,000 different sites, that number continuing to rise by the second. The Council researched thoroughly their online financial reports to ensure it was an authentic search engine and that the proceeding really do go to regrowing the rainforests. For example, in the Philippines, they are “planting native seedlings to restore the land and creating agroforestry systems with smallholder farmers.” This not only helps increase sustainability and biodiversity, but also supports the local economy. Freemens proves how just using a laptop within school grounds can have impacts worldwide, with minimal change from day-to-day life.

As well as this, the Eco Council initiated a Crisp Recycling Scheme where over 20kg of crisp packets were recycled through Air Ambulance and Teracycle, turning them into things that benefit the community such as park benches or plant pots. Many other schemes have been integrated into the everyday Freemens life, overall making the school more sustainable and worthy of the green flag which now hangs proudly in the Haywood Centre.

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