Climate Change Debate

Trelawny camp students (KS4) at Running Deer School have spent their science lessons with Rachael, and other timetabled times with case workers, preparing for a debate around climate change. Using facts from research they have made, they were to argue from the position of a particular person, such as an apathetic single person, a small herd dairy farmer, scientist and a petrochemical businessperson.

Climate Change Debate

Starting with watching David Attenborough’s documentary ‘Climate Change: The Facts’, , this was heavy going because for the first three quarters it spells out the harsh facts and the students did, in the main, struggle to remain present with it.

I think that this represents how we all, as the general population, can react. Eco-anxiety is a very real thing. I have run workshops based on Joanna Macy’s work for people wanting to face these truths and be effective in the face of the ecological crisis we face. Even these dedicated people find it tough, so I was impressed that the students stayed with it as well as they did, and one student was able to take notes all the way through.

Sadly, the disconnect that they experienced did result in most of the students unable to take in the positive message, at the end of the film, of what we can actually do in response to the challenge of climate change. So, these actions were brought into the coming lessons and the students also tried to figure this out from the perspective of the persona they had been assigned.

I was so pleased to watch the final debate, to see the passion that the farmer had for his traditional way of life and his herd as well as his concern for his family’s future, arguing strongly and humorously for the argument for local production. “It’s not as if the avocados grow feet and walk themselves over here’.

The scientist, shy at first, came through with marvellously researched facts and well considered arguments, such as the economics of more people living in one house, rather than just one.

I did feel for the student who had to argue for the petrochemical industry because his single argument was to protect the welfare of the people who work in the industry and their shareholders. He argued it intelligently and creatively despite the reality being that all the research points to us having to drop fossil fuels.

Well done Trelawny camp !!!


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