Chris Packham at ACS Egham: act now against climate change

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Chris Packham disappointed with world leaders at ACS Egham talk

ACS International School Egham hosted naturalist, TV presenter and campaigner, Chris Packham, has urged students to act now in the race against climate change. At an event streamed globally, Packham said: “We must all act to affect a change – we can’t rely on our leaders; we must peacefully call them to task so that we can get out of this mess.”

‘The world needs…Climate change challengers’ event was organised to highlight how people can contribute to climate change solutions and, ultimately, help build a more sustainable future.

Packham shared his “enormous sense of guilt” that 68% of the world’s wildlife has been lost since the 1970s and that he believes not enough has been done to prevent the destruction of the countryside and species.

Describing his disappointment in leaders at the COP26 conference, Packham urged young people to “muster a sense of empowerment” to make the changes needed to address climate change. He said: “What’s disappointing is that the oldies aren’t giving the young people the trust that we should to make decisions. We would be far wiser to let them play a more proactive role in the decision making. Young people are less risk averse, but progress is made by making mistakes.”

Packham highlighted three actions that need to urgently be taken to address climate change:

·       Don’t dig up any more fossil fuels

·       Cut down on meat consumption and food waste

·       Cut back on consumption, generally.

He said: “We need to ask ourselves do we need so much stuff and does this stuff make us happy?”.

Addressing young people in the audience, he pleaded: “Please do not give up. Keep writing letters. Keep complaining, peacefully and politely. Consider carefully what you eat, and how and where you spend your money. Start young, be committed, believe you can make a difference, cherish nature and remember that people can change things.”

Packham handed over to Sophie Locke of the Blue Marine Foundation, who described her journey from a young girl with the dream of becoming a vet, to climate change graduate and marine conservationist. At the age of just 27 years, she works to protect and restore marine habitats and is “still learning more about marine conservation every day”.

Locke told the audience how the oceans support all life on earth and explained why “climate action needs ocean action”. Addressing students, she advised that they should “find out what you’re good at and what you enjoy, and then find out how to merge the two into a career where you can make a positive difference. There’s a massive misconception that you have to be a scientist to be able to contribute to protecting the natural environment”.

Locke continued: “People need to understand the carbon footprint of what they eat and do. They must be educated so that they understand the issues and can make informed decisions. We need to give them the power to make the right choices.”

‘The world needs… Climate change challengers’ is the first in ACS International Schools’ new series of ‘What the World Needs’ events, which this year focuses on building a sustainable future. The series of four compelling hybrid events will be hosted by each of ACS’ schools in Egham, Cobham, Hillingdon and Doha, Qatar.

View the session in full here:

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