Initial reflections on the National Youth Climate Summit

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I went to the summit yesterday c/o zoom.  I didn't see all of it owing to commitments with my grandchildren, and so I'm looking forward to viewing the bits I missed.

My main reservation about the event beforehand was with the number of speakers.  Nine!  ok, some were only speaking for 5 minutes (some 10 and others 15), but still.  Nine plus the intros and conclusions came to 2 hours 20 minutes.  In all, only 40 minutes were provided for 3 sets of questions and 3 breakout discussions.

In the event, the 75 unanswered questions suggests that others may now feel that way as well.  I think that means fewer speakers next time.  I'd omit those who saw it as a chance to overly-promote themselves and/or their organisations rather than do what (I imagine) they were asked to do.
I thought that the technology worked well.  I didn’t appreciate beforehand how the breakout sessions would be handled.  I thought it was just for school groups and didn’t know that those of us on-line would be in what felt like a small group.  It rather took me by surprise.  That might have been my fault entirely for not reading the instructions more carefully.  I’m making this point because I feel that, had I been prepared, I’d have participated more as the questions posed seemed good ones.  I felt that more time was certainly needed for these groups which are surely a key part of such on-line conferences.
As it was, I made one intervention.  This was in the break-out group talking about what we are doing for nature? / what is nature doing for us?  I just said that I'm constantly disappointed that, 60 years on from the start of environmental education, we still have to wonder what nature is doing for us.  I was asked why I thought this was.  I said it was because those who control the curriculum don't value that sort of fundamental knowledge and understanding.  It's somehow not important – just as learning how to cook nutritious meals isn't deemed important either, or learning about the grip the finance system has on our lives.
Had I had longer I'd have said that a lot of environmental educators don't really think such basics it's important either, which got me round to thinking about whether Doug Knapp was right all along.  If life and lockdown permit, I shall continue this musing next week.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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