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Stephanie Gan
01225 383554
Liz Andrews
01225 383507

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Press Release - 13 June 2007

Local pupils to become climate change ambassadors

Local pupils will become ambassadors for the issues of climate change, at a two-day conference for secondary schools in B&NES hosted by the University of Bath.

Over 150 students aged 14 to 15 are expected to attend the two-day Young People’s Climate Change Connection Conference, the first in B&NES, on Thursday 21 June and Friday 22 June.

Through presentations and workshops, the school students will consider the causes of global warming, learn about its impact on people in developing countries, and take away ideas for positive action at home, school and in the wider community.

BBC Newsnight’s Justin Rowlatt will speak at the conference about his experiences as the programme’s ‘ethical man’ (9.30am), discussing issues from the year he spent trying to live as ethical a lifestyle as possible. He will then lead a workshop session with a group of young people (10am).

Other guest speakers will include Anna Birney from the Worldwide Fund for Nature; Simon Roberts from Bristol’s Centre for Sustainable Energy and Nicola Bennett from Christian Aid.

Throughout the two days the students will make presentations on what they see as the key issue in climate change, what can be done about it, and how to adopt ‘one-planet-living’ lifestyles.

At the end of the conference pupils will address a panel of teachers, council workers and business people with their ideas for environmental change. Their messages will cover what they think they as individuals, their family, school and local council should do and will be made into a ‘green tree’ display.

The event is the brainchild of Dr Frank Martinelli, Director of Ralph Allen School’s Science College.

‘This event will be a fantastic opportunity for our students to make sense of the alarming information they read daily in the media,” said Dr Martinelli.

“In particular we want to give them a sense of the connections between our action here and the impact of that behaviour on people in the poorest parts of the world.

“But we want to be positive too. It is our intention that this conference forms a beginning and not an end point. The messages that arise from the conference will need to be shared with the whole school community, so that the participants have the job of being ambassadors.

“In fact the whole thrust of the conference will be towards producing students who can talk with confidence about the issues and spread the messages.

“In addition we would like to include a global dimension, asking schools to involve schools across the world that that they have links with. We are investigating video conferencing, and will also have a conference website and blog where schools can post information from this country and abroad.”

The conference is organised by Ralph Allen School, a Specialist Science College, with the University of Bath, Envolve, Bath Spa University and Bath RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce).

Financial support has also been provided by Writhlington School through its Leadership in Gifted and Talented education programme.

Every school in B&NES has been invited to send up to 12 students from Year 9 and year 10 students, accompanied by a teacher.

For information about the event please contact Stephanie Gan, Widening Participation Officer at the University of Bath on 01225 383554 or Elizabeth Andrews, Outreach Events Co-ordinator on 01225 383507.

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