London Greenground Map

Inspired by the iconic London Tube map, a graphic designer has produced a similar map joining London’s parks and nature spots. Greenground Map “aims to change (the) perception of how we see cities, when walking and cycling longer distances become regular ways to get around.” It’s a great idea that is likely to be adopted by other towns and cities attempting to get people out of their cars and connecting better with nature. Why not ask your students to make a similar green spaces map for where they live? Read more here.

Take a cold shower

Image by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay

According to the authors of a recent report, humanity needs to “take a cold shower” about the true scale of the climate and ecological crisis facing us. Experts need to “tell it like it is.” ‘Anything else is misleading at best, or negligent and potentially lethal for the human enterprise at worst.’ Then we might make the systemic changes that the urgency of the situation demands. There are signs of progress. And if you are reading this you are probably already doing what you can personally. But do read the report so that you are under no illusions. Then ask yourself what you can do to help persuade businesses and politicians make those necessary changes.

Fit for the Future

image by anncapictures at Pixbay
image by anncapictures at Pixabay

In these days of Covid-19 it may feel that demands to respond to the climate and ecological crisis are just another burden. But Covid-19 has also provided us with time and opportunity to  consider a better future while many of the solutions to Covid-19 also offer solutions to climate change. So let’s use this time wisely to make the changes we need to help our industry come out of Covid-19 fit for the future.

Climate Declaration

Congratulations to everyone involved in Mock COP 26, the virtual climate change discussions organised by young people in the absence of this year’s postponed climate talks in Glasgow. The result is the Mock COP Treaty which on education states:

14. Article 12 of the Paris Agreement commits the Parties to cooperate in scaling up and strengthening climate education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information on climate change.

15. Education on climate change and biodiversity, based on the best available science and data, needs to be made available at schools and educational establishments at every level, including informal education. School, college and university buildings and estates must lead by example on sustainability as they form the subliminal curriculum.

16. The Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action prepared in 2019 by the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (‘CERI’), the United Nations International Children’s Fund (‘UNICEF’) and YOUNGO (the Children and Youth constituency to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), already signed by twelve countries, underlines the call for climate change and environmental education, and children’s rights, including the right to a healthy environment.

That is a very useful and clear statement of what needs to happen – indeed should already be happening – in education. Let’s make sure we act on it.

How to Reduce Your Digital Carbon Footprint

ELT Footprint discussion, Thursday 10 December at 16:00 hrs UTC / GMT

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Did you know that the internet is thought to produce carbon emissions on a par with the aviation industry? Digital technology provides wonderful opportunities to reach and engage others, often in ways that aren’t possible using offline methods. But digital does have a significant environmental cost, which most of us aren’t conscious of. Join ELT Footprint UK with technology expert Hannah Smith on Thursday 10 December, 16:00 UTC, for insights, discussion and practical advice on reducing your digital carbon footprint at work and at home. More here.

Defence v. Foreign Aid

It’s good to know where we stand. ELT Footprint UK is part of sustainable education and sustainable education is part of sustainable development. Just take a look at the UN’s sustainable development goals to see the connections. So in that light, the UK government’s recent decision to break its manifesto promise by cutting overseas aid by one third should concern us all. A recent radio programme – The Moral Maze – allowed its speakers to expose some of the spiteful justifications for the decision. Why is it? – asks one person – That some of those who call most ardently for charity to begin at home often have that very belief desert them when it comes to increased welfare spending? But to be honest, the arguments are not always black and white and the programme aired some persuasive views on the actual efficacy of foreign aid. In the end though, considering the subject from every angle, every right-minded person will surely agree that the decision to reduce overseas aid was a shockingly poor one. BBC radio at its best

The Consolation of Nature

It was one of those bad nights. I suppose most of us experience them from time to time. When sleep doesn’t come easily and you lie awake in the small hours turning things over in your mind. In my case worrying about family issues, the effects of Covid and Brexit on our business; feeling I need a holiday yet knowing with Covid restrictions I can’t have one; wondering whether I am taking too much on my shoulders with ELTFootprintUK. So, unable to sleep, I decide to get up early, 6am, still dark outside and take a walk. A cold morning with a crystal clear starlit sky and the first really hard frost of the season on the cars. I’m lucky that where I live I can step straight out into the countryside and I soon find myself in a dark spot where I can view the sky properly. The River Isbourne – really not much more than a stream – gurgles away quietly nearby and as I look around I can feel my cares dropping away. There is Orion’s belt on the horizon; The Plough (Ursa Major) right overhead; and Venus rising, shining brightly in the East. I watch a couple of satellites move across the sky in unison and wonder if I have caught my first glimpse of SpaceX. I think about strange people like Elon Musk who put it there, how they must somehow manage to see the bigger picture to make their dreams come true; and yet how they still get caught up in the petty squabbles and jealousies of earth. It gives you a sense of perspective, the night sky. You can feel at once insignificant and at the same time totally alive in the consciousness of observing it. And though not a religious person, I have to ask the philosophical question that, when humans sooner or later leave this earth, who or what will be left to observe the glory and beauty of the night sky? And so back home for a cup of warming tea, feeling fortified for another day of work.