A team of small but mighty eco-warriors from a Lancashire school are making waves in their community ahead of a major climate conference later this year.
Pupils from St Teresa’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Upholland are leading the way to a cleaner, greener world, thanks to several impressive environmental campaigns in their local community.
With Catholic Social Teaching at the heart of the school community, responding to Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home and global community is a vital part of everyday school life.
In a bid to discover more ahead of the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP26) later this year, Year 4 pupils explored Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and took part in CAFOD’s Eyes of the World campaign, before creating their very own Greta Thunberg-style climate emergency videos.
In June 2020, the students put their faith into action by taking on the esteemed John Muir Conservation Award – a challenging but inspiring call to explore and care for our natural world.
To complete the award, deputy headteacher Catherine Phillips took her class to local beauty hotspot, The Beacon Country Park, where they spent four days across as many weeks learning about conservation and caring for the environment.
Miss Phillips said: “On one of our walks to The Beacon, the children were horrified at the amount of litter they saw, so the following week, we took litter pickers with us and picked up a whole bag of litter.
“I then lent out my two litter pickers to children during the following week, who went out with their families in their own time to do some litter picking of their own.
“By the time we did our fourth and final visit, there wasn’t a single piece of litter to be seen – the children were so proud of the impact they had made.”
Inspired by the success of their Beacon visits, the pupils continued their mission by calling on local businesses to get involved, and even began to lobby key politicians such as prime minister Boris Johnson and environment minister George Eustice to take action on climate change.
One pupil said: “The government need to think about food packaging. Some people don’t have recycling bins, so the food packaging ends up in the ocean and killing animals. It makes me and many others feel angry.”
Another said: “I believe there are many issues and ways we can try and fix the problems that we face. We need more equipment to clean our area. Young people like me are keen to get involved in activities to help. We need to come together and work together to clean up our world.”
Now, as the eyes of the world look to the UK ahead of COP26 in Glasgow this November, St Teresa’s is more determined than ever to continue its campaign for environmental sustainability.
Miss Phillips is hoping to secure funds to provide enough litter pickers for each pupil in her class to continue their efforts outside school time, in addition to working on a special assembly on climate change.
She said: “Campaigning for climate justice and caring for our common home is something our school and students are profoundly passionate about.
“The inspiration they found from exploring Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ and taking part in CAFOD’s Eyes of the World campaign has ignited a real mission in our pupils and it’s wonderful to see the impact they are making on our local community.
“Ahead of COP26, we hope our small voices will join a giant call for change, to raise awareness of the environmental emergency our world is facing, and to provide hope for a future based on sustainability and justice.”
Local CAFOD Representative, Siobhan Farnell said “We are thrilled to hear the children have been inspired by Laudato Si and CAFOD’s Eyes of the World Campaign it is wonderful to hear how they have been taking action locally and calling on our politicians to take action regarding the climate crisis now. Many thanks to all at St Teresa’s for such great work”.
So far, over 21,000 pupils have joined CAFOD’s ‘Eyes of the World’ campaign.
- CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. We reach out to people living in poverty with practical help, whatever their religion or culture. Help us build a world where no one is beyond reach of the love and care they need.