Relationships Day at St Mary’s College

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Pupils from Year 7 and Year 8 at St Mary’s College in Southampton were invited to take part in two workshops exploring the the issue of climate change earlier this month as part of their ‘Relationships Day’.  

Education Volunteers from our team from the University of Southampton Catholic Society (Nick Wong, Karen Brugger and Eugene Siow) ran the interactive session with additional support from Petra Wagenblast, Steve Deadman and Roger Lillie.

The team started by looking at two young people’s experiences of living in different parts of the world that are affected by extreme weather. This included Martin from Myanmar who had lived through Cyclone Nargis and Veronica from Kenya whose community experienced sever water shortages back in 2011.

St Mary's College 20 January 2016As the team said, whilst we can’t say that any one weather event is caused by climate change, we do know that changing temperatures are making natural disasters more frequent and intense. We also know that change is hitting the poorest people the hardest.  44 per cent of the people most vulnerable to climate change are already living on less than 77p a day and 90 per cent of people who die in natural disasters live in the poorest countries.

Pupils then looked at how CAFOD partners assist people who are affected by extreme weather by playing our Flood game.  Working in small groups, the pupils aimed to protect a community threatened by floods.  The game helps emphasise the importance of working closely with local organisations and encourages pupils to analyse the impact of their decisions.

It also highlights some of the barriers faced in emergency situations such as communication problems, water contamination, coordination and cultural challenges.

Watch our short film below which explores how CAFOD works in the event of an emergency.

After the game, the group looked at what we can all do to prevent climate change. Hundreds of leading scientists have said with 95 per cent certainty that humans are the main cause of climate change. Power and transport are currently responsible for over 60 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions

With a two to three degrees Celsius temperature rise over the next 20 years, an extra 200 million people will be at risk of hunger. This is more than three times the population of the UK.

As the team explained, we’re not the only ones who want to do something to stop climate change. A global movement is building fast. Worldwide, millions of people are seeing the effects of climate change and are committed to stopping it in many ways including making changes in our own lives. Watch our short film on this below.

Pupils were then tasked with thinking of ways they could live more simply and sustainably and they came up with loads of fantastic ideas! These ranged from cuttting down on waste, taking shorter showers, saving energy by turning down the heating at home (and wearing more layers), recycling more, using bikes rather than the car all the time and using more renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. Cracking stuff!

Thank you so much to all the pupils at St Mary’s College for their great enthusiasm and their fantastic teacher Mrs Thom who invited us in.   Thank you too to our fab volunteer team for all their hard work!  Wonderful!

Read more about CAFOD’s One Climate, One World campaign.

Find out more about our resources on climate change for secondary schools.

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