Inspiring Dulwich Students to Change the World
The first Dulwich Climate Conference drew to a close on Saturday after an inspiring two days for students, guests and staff. Attended by over 100 students from across the Dulwich group, the conference included charismatic guest speakers and expert led workshops, but more importantly it was led by the students. They listened, asked challenging questions and worked together to identify areas where they could make a real difference in terms of sustainability and our impact on the environment.
Doug Allan, keynote speaker at the conference, is one of the world’s best known and respected cameramen with 8 Emmy’s and 4 BAFTA’s to his name so far. He specialises in natural history, expeditions and science documentaries in some of the wildest and most remote places on our planet from the polar zones to the upper reaches of Everest. He has worked for the BBC, Discovery, National Geographic and many others on series including The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life, Human Planet and Frozen Planet. Mr Allan shared his first-hand experience from the Arctic and Antarctic, the effects of climate change on our environment and the impact it is having on our wildlife. He also showed students to look at a picture or film and think how all the elements could be been woven together to tell a powerful story. He encouraged our students to follow their dreams, not to be afraid to make mistakes, learn from them, not to be restricted by convention and the expectations of others and in that way achieve a fulfilling and rewarding life.
Also speaking at the conference were Professor Jan Bebbington and Dr Shona Russell from the University of St Andrews, both respected experts specializing in research about climate change and sustainability. They shared their thoughts and experience about how the issues of climate change and sustainability can be tackled and what is needed to make a real change in the world. They encouraged the students to understand the many aspects of this vital issue and how to convince others of the changes that need to take place.
At the conference were Fraser White, Executive and Founding Chairman of Dulwich College International (DCI), Christian Geurtler, CEO of DCI and Brian McDouall, Director of Schools at DCI. This reflected the commitment of the Dulwich group to be a more sustainable organisation and their determination to empower Dulwich students to make a difference.
On many delegates’ minds was COP21 taking place in Paris this year. There is now an unprecedented world-wide effort underway to combat climate change with nations being challenged to meet their stated objective of keeping a global temperature rise to under 2 degrees C. Mia Oenoto and James Guo, two students from Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, will be delegates at COP21 representing their respective countries of Indonesia and the People’s Republic of China. They joined the delegates at our climate conference and were able to inspire our own students that young people really can make their voices heard on a global platform.
By the close of the conference the students had agreed on 8 commitments that they would each take back to their own Colleges.
At Dulwich College Suzhou, we believe that engaging with nature and respecting the environment are important. We are mindful of the impact we have on our environment at The College and believe we have a duty and a responsibility to help our students become leaders and innovators in sustainability so that they understand the effect of their lifestyle on the climate. Our young people have the opportunity to make a positive change in the world and through giving them time and space to think through the challenges and opportunities, we hope that they will become driving forces for positive change. From these 100 hundred students attending the Climate Conference the message can be spread to another 6,000 students across Dulwich and then further still. Our students now have a powerful belief that they really can change the world. Their hope now is that they will inspire the worlds’ leaders to have this same belief as they go to COP21.
1. To remove plastic bottles and disposable containers from our schools.
2. To reuse and recycle more - books and clothes as well as paper.
3. To reduce our food waste
4. Eat more sustainably - more vegetarian, meat free days, organic and grow our own food
5. Review how we travel and act more sustainably.
6. Challenge our colleges to make the buildings more efficient.
7. Get more students involved - house competitions and awards.
8. To be taught more about sustainability in the curriculum.
See our Dulwich College Suzhou Remembrance Day Ceremony 2015
Our Sustainable Forest
Here, at Dulwich College, we have been making a huge effort to reduce the amount of paper consumed through photocopying and printing. Since last year, the Eco-council in Junior School has been encouraging the school to reduce the size of documents printed, as well as the number of pages printed. Over August and September, we have saved 7.5% on black and white copies and 16% on color copies compared to last year. This is very encouraging and we hope we can improve on this even further over the rest of the year. In total, we saved 18 trees worth of paper last year, and to celebrate this we have planted 18 trees in our Sustainable Forest, located at the far end of our Rugby field.
The College has also switched to sourcing printer paper only from FSC certified providers, ensuring that all of our printing paper comes from a sustainable forest. The FSC is the world’s most respected authority in this area. As well as saving paper, we will continue to make improvements towards sustainability in other areas such as electricity and water. For example, the Senior School has saved 5 swimming pools worth of water last year and reduced it's electricity consumption by 10% compared to last year – that's 10% less carbon emissions. We are very proud that our Senior School building is the only LEED certified school in Suzhou.
The more trees we plant, the more carbon is absorbed – that is known as a carbon sink and we are trying to make ours bigger. We hope to continue this good work and save and plant many more trees. We are only one school, but we are making big changes in our community, which we are really proud of.
See What Happened at our Recent Climate Conference
See our two videos, put together by our own student media team, showing what happened at the Climate Conference and the message from our students to world leaders attending COP21 in Paris in a few weeks time!
See our Dulwich College Suzhou poppy in honour of Remembrance Day
The First Dulwich Climate Conference
We are now only a few days away from the first Dulwich Climate Conference. There will be over 100 students from across the Dulwich group meeting in Suzhou. They will get to hear from speakers suzh as Doug Allan, award winning film maker, as well as Prof Jan Bebbington and Dr Shona Russell, from the University of St Andrews, both renowned experts in the field of sustainability.
Our hope for this conference is to inspire our students so they feel empowered to take action and make a real difference with regard to sustainability in their own College. We also hope to inspire world leaders ahead of the climate negotiations in Paris in December.
Over the summer the Green Gardeners have grown a batch of fresh, organic carrots and we're excited to offer them for sale to students, teachers and parents. Profits will be used for the maintainence of their garden to start fresh projects during this year to make the Dulwich College Suzhou campus greener, healthier, and yummier.
Looking for inspiration?