University leads on Europe-wide schools project
Release Date 27 October 2010
Educating children across Europe about climate change is at the forefront of a new project led by the University of Reading.
The European schools network on the topic of ‘Changing with the Climate' was launched at the Institute of Education (IoE) with, initially, 65 schools in Spain, Italy, Hungary, France, Romania and the UK.
This event follows the award of a contract to the University of Reading and its European partners by the Comenius programme in the Directorate for Education of the EU which focuses on all levels of school education.
The IoE is the project lead and will be assisted by the University's Walker Institute for Climate Change Systems and other members of the University who have expertise in low carbon buildings.
The aim of the network is to provide a minimum of five lessons to children aged 10-18 on climate change. Participating schools must agree to initiate local actions by individuals and communities which should eventually lead to a more sustainable use of energy and limit the degree of climate change.
Local collective actions on energy conservation already in place include ground source heating from warm soil many metres down; establishing and maintaining an effective transport system; persuading food manufacturers to use less packaging;and increasing composting of organic domestic and commercial waste.
Individual action includes fitting sensors to control lights in areas infrequently used; increasing insulation in roofs and walls; turning down the thermostats where possible and choosing food with lower food miles.
Dr John Oversby, principle investigator for the project at the IoE, said: "All the available evidence suggests that only a few years remain in which to stabilise the concentration of greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere to prevent irreversible changes in climate. To mitigate and adapt to changes in the climate is a huge task, which should start in schools and be incorporated into the life-long learning process.
"The project encourages teachers and students to reflect on the underlying causes of climate change and then to consider local actions for reducing their carbon footprint and to maintain existing biodiversity.
"Generally, only one in eight bids are successful with the European Commission so we are particularly pleased to have won the contract."
Representatives from the British Council, Reading Borough Council and Scottish and Southern Energy attended the launch event on 19 October and provided a perspective from their professional viewpoint, followed by a discussion on what the network can achieve in the next three years.
The University of Reading has been the lead in two previous related projects, particularly Kyoto in the Home, funded by the European Commission, to encourage schoolchildren and their families to help promote more sustainable use of energy in the home.
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Notes to Editors:
The University of Reading's Institute of Education is a major provider of teachers nationally and regionally, offering PGCE Secondary and Primary, BA (Ed) and the Graduate Teacher Programmes (GTP). The secondary programme and the primary programme have both received the top Ofsted grades in 2006/7 and the Institute is now a category 'A' provider for all its courses. The employment rates of graduates are the highest in the University and the best in the country of any initial teacher training provider.