At the moment, world leaders are gathering in Glasgow for COP26 – an important meeting to discuss climate change.
What is climate change?
When we talk about climate change, we are talking about global changes in the Earth's average temperature.
The Earth's average temperature moves up and down naturally, but it has been increasing more rapidly than it usually does.
This change is impacting on the planet's environment - which is everything natural around us; rivers, trees, plants, animals... everything!
What is causing it?
Scientists say many of the changes to the Earth's climate are caused by things that humans are doing, including:
- Burning of oil, coal and gas - These are used to power / heat our homes and factories, as well as fuel for cars, trucks and planes. When burnt, these release substances into the atmosphere, including a gas called carbon dioxide, which trap heat from the sun and warm up the Earth.
- Deforestation - deforestation is when a forest or tree-covered area is turned into something else (for example a farm). At the moment, the main reason forests are cut down is to make space to grow food to feed to animals which can be slaughtered so that humans can eat meat.
- Waste - The way waste is disposed of often adds to these harmful emissions. Even food waste creates another greenhouse gas called methane when it rots.
What is the impact?
Many people could be forced to leave their homes and their countries, wildlife will be endangered and the amount of land to grow food on will be reduced – making food much more expensive.
Poorer people, areas and countries in particular are likely to be more seriously affected.
What are we doing at Pirton Hill?
As a school, we recognise the need to make changes to protect our planet. We have already:
- Introduced a meat-free Wednesday for school dinners;
- Replaced all of the lighting in the school with low-energy lighting that goes off automatically when you are out of the room;
- Planted more trees in the school grounds;
- Replaced the old projectors in each classroom with energy efficient boards;
- Introduced pre-ordering for hot school meals, to reduce waste; and
- Improved our windows in Reception and Year 1 – to improve insulation.
We are also having an Air Source Heat Pump installed (you might have seen the big, white box appear in the staff car park this week). This will take warmth from the air and warm the school – a bit like a fridge in reverse – reducing our reliance on gas heating.
We will also be looking at ways in which we can reduce our use of plastic in school over the next few months.
What could you do?
There are lots of things you can do to help save the planet… Could you try:
- Having one extra meat-free meal at home each week?
- The process of making just one beef burger generates about the same carbon dioxide as driving a car 10 miles
- If every UK citizen cut out one chicken based meal every week – it would reduce Britain’s carbon emissions by the same amount as taking 100,000 cars off the roads.
- Try replacing one litre of cow’s milk with one litre of soya / oat / almond milk each week.
- Turning lights off when you are not in the room.
- Turning off TVs, Playstations, Xboxes etc. rather than leaving them on standby.
- Encouraging your child to turn off the tap when they are brushing their teeth.
- Turning the thermostat for your heating down by just 1 degree.
- Try to minimise what you throw away:
- Only buy the food you need and make sure you eat it before it goes out of date!
- Repair and reuse.
- Give unwanted items a new life by donating them to charity or selling them on.
- If you have a car, walking or using the bus for one extra journey each week.
- Try to avoid buying things in plastic packaging or made of plastic.