We are in the process of adapting our existing environmental education programme, The Future We Want, in light of the current health, economic and environmental crisis. Through our Bright New Futures programme, schools will be able to book free assemblies, lessons and eco council action planning sessions. In this updated programme, the schools will have the option to choose from the following themes
· NEW – Bright New Future Through The Arts
· NEW – Bright New Future Tell Us A Story
· NEW – Grow Your Own Revolution
· Love Clothes and Planet
· Energy Forever
· Plastic-Free Sea
Bright New Future Through The Arts and Tell Us A Story
(While we are preparing to launch these workshops, children and young people are invited to get creative from home and take part in our Clean up and create a Bright New Future competition, learn more here)
Whether schools choose Arts or Tell Us A Story, these sessions will help children to use their imagination and creative thinking to visualise a brighter future. We’ll share ideas and examples of positive changes which are happening and helping to build a more sustainable, healthy and happy world. We then invite the children to let their creativity and imagination run away with them!
There is growing recognition of eco-anxiety and the psychology of climate change. A recent BBC poll reports that three quarters of children say they are worried about the state of the planet. A combination of eco-anxiety and concern about the COVID19 crisis has potential to create an inhibiting amount of stress and fear. In a state of anxiety, we struggle to think innovatively and move forward as the hippocampus is restricted. It is proven, however, that art and creative expression are fantastic ways to process and combat stress anxiety and fear. Our programme will support children and their families to thrive both practically and emotionally in this health, economic and climate crisis. We believe children need to be given opportunities to apply their imagination in a meaningful way.
Bright New Futures will embed messages around carbon literacy, energy efficiency, sustainability and the importance of the natural world in a creative and fun way, helping to reverse the negative spiral which the current situation may have created. We aim to help children to better understand the world – imagining different scenarios and then testing them out and using imagination to empathise with others.
Imagination, dreaming and play can reawaken our ability to think positively about the future, illustrating nothing is impossible. Our creative sessions will give a positive and constructive vision of the future we want and can have.
See an example of our previous creative project in 2019 https://www.sussexgreenliving.
Grow Your Own Revolution
As the COVID19 crisis spreads, there has been a lot of concern about the food chain and panic-buying. With ‘rations’ and reduced availability due to import restrictions people have become more aware of where their food has come from. As a result we have seen positive societal changes: people with bigger gardens letting people use their space to grow food, growing food even in small spaces, keeping chickens, local food producers being recognised and highly valued. We want to show children that there are physical, mental health and environmental benefits to growing their own produce. Whether it’s a single tomato plant in an upcycled container, a salad garden through the winter in an old sand pit, or a full allotment we must make more effort to take responsibility for growing.
The messages in these sessions are:
1. The nutritional benefits of growing your own food: it will provide a fresh and diverse diet, packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
2. Staying active: gardening is a fun way to get outside for fresh air and exercise and it’s great for physical and mental well-being.
3. Getting vitamin D from the sun while you garden
4. Saving money through growing your own vegetables and fruits: A few pounds on seeds, plants, and supplies in the spring will produce vegetables that will yield pounds of produce in summer.
5. Saving the environment: the food in the supermarkets is transported from all over the world which requires fossil fuels. Garden produce has zero food miles and zero packaging.
The lessons will involve hands-on growing, depending on the time of year (winter lessons will include planting winter salad crops such as Lamb’s Lettuce, Corn Salad, land cress and or winter purslane. Other times of year might include planting vegetables such as carrots, rainbow carrots, peas, tomatoes, French beans and dwarf beans) to plant in the school grounds or take home.
In an appropriate and sensitive way we’ll share some of the positive impacts the coronavirus has had on the natural world and human behavioural changes such as: communities working to support each other, garden sharing, growing food even in small spaces, keeping chickens, local non-profit exchange networks in which all kinds of goods and services can be traded without the need for money.
You can learn more about the other three themes Energy Forever, Plastic Free Sea and Love Your Clothes and Planet here.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
Former President Of South Africa