Following Gosport & Fareham Friends of the Earth’s highly successful debating competition between local colleges in March 2018, one of the participants, Highbury College, kindly invited us to give talks about sustainability to 34 of their A-Level students and their tutors Angela and Dave.
Norman started with global sustainability. First he asked the audience, what do we mean by sustainable? Then he asked the students to look at our sustainability bookmarks and say what caught their attention. Replies included car share, cycle and walk and reduce food waste.
The students then looked at the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra and how "personal is political”. Multi-million pound businesses aren’t going to change what they do without some prompting, but even a relatively small reduction in sales makes companies look at what consumers are thinking.
Holding a globe, Norman said WWF have reported that we are using the natural resources of 1.7 planets- which is clearly unsustainable. He used a hockey stick to represent our growing population and asked the audience to think about their own future family size. He pointed out the value of local nature reserves: Farlington Marshes, Milton Locks Nature Reserve, marine conservation zones and back garden nature reserves. Finally, Norman finished with the sustainability of homes, renewable energy, reducing air travel, and behaving ethically in all areas.
In Lesley’s session, a group of students studying English as an additional language talked about what they themselves were buying and reflected on their clothes purchases. We were all astonished that almost 50% of clothes in British wardrobes goes unworn. Suggestions to do “our bit” included:
We also looked at how little of their life time items such as drills and cars are used for - and talked about sharing.
We think our talks were well received; one student came back and said: “Everyone is talking about what you said.” And tutor Dave asked, “Would you come back in November – I have a group I’d like to hear this talk”.
We would be pleased to - and to have more college and school engagements!