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Cheney School

Cheney School

Caroline Lucas attends Green Event

Caroline Lucas attends Green Event

On Friday 19  January, the Rumble Museum, in partnership with Cheney School's Environmental Impact Team, held a Green Festival. The event involved stalls and workshops aimed at raising awareness about a range of green and sustainable initiatives within the Cheney community. Over the next few weeks and months, the Rumble Museum is working with Cheney School's Environmental Impact Team to explore the vital issues of sustainability and conservation.

The day started at 1pm when Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, arrived to have lunch with the newly formed and very active Year 12 Environmental Student Team. The student team have been working hard at improving recycling and ethical canteen products amongst many other things, and were delighted to be able to share their enthusiasm and ideas with Caroline. At 1.30 Caroline opened the event to the entire Cheney Sixth Form, plus a number of students from other years, staff and also community visitors.

Caroline spoke of her interest in the Iris Project's Rumble Museum initiative at Cheney, and the importance of the ancient world, before going on to express the critical situation we are all in, due to climate change. She spoke of the crisis of living on one planet with finite resources and how vitally important it is that young people make choices in their lives that put pressure on governments and multinationals, whether that choice is expressed through the ballot box or through activism within communities. She talked of how small, committed, passionate groups of people really can make a difference, citing examples of where groups of people have campaigned for positive change.

She spoke of the importance of giving young people of aged 16 and above, who are able to do so many other things, the right to vote in elections, and how this was a policy of the Green Party. She also spoke passionately about how the Green Party's policies focus on a range of things such as supporting the NHS, protecting the rights of women and others, and how it was party policy to abolish tuition fees, as well as to look at a fairer taxing policy, so those earning the most support the most vulnerable in our society.

The audience had a wide range of questions, from drug policy to nuclear energy, and more - Caroline answered each one thoughtfully and with great clarity. After her talk, our stallrunners opened their stalls for the audience. We were delighted to welcome Oxford SESI Refill Station, Relish, the University of Oxford's Estate team, and Oxford City Council Recyling. The stalls provided a wealth of information, as well as offering fair trade chocolate tasting, smoothie making, and recycling products.

After the stalls, Cheney students took part in three different workshops. Paul Langley from Oxfam delivered a workshop looking at the impact of climate change on poverty, and what we can do about it. Bart Ashton from LMH ran a session on the problem of single use plastics, how these affect the environment, and what actions we can take to reduce our use. James Ochiltree from the Low Carbon Hub ran a workshop on the school's use of solar energy, and ways that the school can reduce its energy use. All three workshops were greatly enjoyed by the participants and encouraged the students to think hard about how to introduce sustainability initiatives and how to make their own lives more planet-friendly.

We are deeply grateful to our stall-runners, workshop providers, and to Caroline Lucas, for taking part in our first Green Event, and inspiring a community of young people to make a difference.

Dr Lorna Robinson, Cheney Classics Centre