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Spotlight on Sunderland's sustainability

Sunderland is in the spotlight today as the city's sustainably agenda is being discussed at a COP27 event.

Climate Friendly Schools

Leader of Sunderland City Council Cllr Graeme Miller has today given a virtual presentation at a COP27 climate event all about work to engage children and young people with sustainability.

Cllr Miller spoke to delegates in the live-streamed event 'People Power for Cities' about how cities can use public engagement to achieve ambitious climate action.

The council leader joined speakers like Pietro Bertazzi, Global Director and Policy Engagement and External Affairs of CDP; Gonzala Duran, Mayor of Independencia Chile; Chin Chin Lam, an urban planner from YOUNGO constituency group (Youth NGOs); and a group of panellists.

Engagement work is an important part of Sunderland's sustainability agenda and last week saw the launch of another new initiative. The Sunderland Climate Friendly Schools project will ensure Sunderland's schools, children and young people have the knowledge, confidence and skills required to drive the city forward.

Led by Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists (OASES), the programme aims to improve environmental literacy and take action to tackle climate change.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "While world leaders are at COP27 discussing how to save the planet, Sunderland City Council have announced that they will be supporting 10 Sunderland schools to become Climate Friendly Schools and will be working with a further five Sunderland schools who will be supporting the development of a #WearSustainable local climate education resource for all our schools."

Joanne Appleby, Chief Executive Officer of OASES, said: "It is now more important than ever that good quality, accurate climate change teaching occurs in schools, and that there is appropriate support available for young people to consider and air their climate concerns.  Climate Friendly Schools will help whole school communities in Sunderland rise to this challenge. We hope the young people involved will be empowered and enabled to take positive climate action to build a better future for all."

Sunderland schools including Kepier, St Anthony's Girls Catholic Academy, Portland Academy, Albany Village Primary School, Barmston Village Primary School, Barnes Junior School, Hetton Lyons Primary School, Hudson Road Primary School, Seaburn Dene Primary School and Wessington Primary School have all been selected to take part in the Sunderland Climate Friendly schools pilot programme where they will receive intensive support to develop their curriculum, undertake a carbon audit and to make climate-friendly changes.

John Howe, headteacher of Seaburn Dene Primary School, said: "It's vital that our children understand the role - however small - they can play in addressing the real-world challenges of climate change. We want them to believe they can have an impact on the future by starting the journey now."

Pupil Anya, nine, said: "I think it's important for my school because we should be more aware of helping the climate. This could be done by doing things like reducing food waste, recycling more, turning off lights in school, planting and protecting trees and encouraging more people to bike, scoot and walk to school. If we don't protect the planet we will end up living in a toxic city."

Ms S Read, Kepier's Eco and Sustainability Lead and Evan Hugo Sutherland, an Eco Committee Member said: "As a Green Flag school, Kepier is absolutely thrilled to have been chosen to collaboratively work with 'Climate Friendly Schools' in the future shaping and trialling of educational resources to address current concerns and future impacts of global climate change and ultimately change these concerns into actions. Empowering our school community with secure knowledge and instilled values will create agents of real change in this battle to alter our mindset, our environment and our planet."

Meanwhile, Sandhill View Academy, St Aidan's Catholic Academy, Harry Watts Academy, Ryhope Junior School and St Benet's RC Primary School have also been selected to develop and trial the Wear Sustainable Low Carbon resources which will be made available for all key stages to learn about Sunderland's Low Carbon Journey.

In recognition of Sunderland's work to cut Carbon emissions, the city has once again been recognized as one of 122 A List Cities in the world by CDP for taking bold leadership on environmental action and transparency, despite the pressures of a challenging global economic situation.

For more information on the Climate Friendly Schools project, visit:

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