Run a campaign for the whole school community - Challenge 1 degree

This activity involves your pupils running a campaign which will involve everyone in the school community, from pupils, staff, families and others in the school neighbourhood.

50 KS1 KS2 KS3 KS4 KS5 Citizenship English
Get informed

Scientists are now expecting that we will be facing a global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next 8-10 years.  What this means is that since we started large scale burning of fossil fuels during the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago, the average temperature of the climate has increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius.  

This will mean:
  • more heatwaves
  • more heavy rain
  • more droughts 
  • ecosystem loss on land and in the sea
  • increased flooding
  • sea level rise
  • loss of polar ice
  • spread of infectious diseases

1.5 degrees of global warming will means big changes to our planet, but the alternative - 2-4 degrees of warming  - will be worse.   We can avoid this.

We need to make changes to the way we live our lives.  Some of these might seem too big to accomplish straightaway but we can all start by doing something small in our schools and homes.

Did you know that nearly a third of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from our homes. It will be almost impossible to meet our national target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% without reducing our home energy use.

Most of our home energy use is for heating - over 60% is used for heating our rooms.

Most houses will feel warm if heated to only 18-21 degrees Celsius however many homes are much warmer than this.  Some have their thermostats set at 25 degrees Celsius or more!   

We could turn down the heat by at least 1 degree Celsius in our homes and many of us would not even notice the difference.    However each home that turned down its thermostat one mere degree could prevent 310kg of carbon emissions a year - that's quite a lot of climate warming gas that's prevented from being emitted.  Can you believe that the UK would save a combined 1.18 million tonnes of CO2 if every home turned its heating down one degree.

Not only this - turning down your thermostat 1 degree would save your household money - about 10% of the annual energy bill, which would be around £60 in the UK.

In this campaign you will try to persuade families in your school community to turn down their thermostats one degree.

Spread the word

How will you make sure that everyone in the school community knows about your campaign?  You can tell other pupils in an assembly but how will you get the message home to families?    You could:

  • write a persuasive letter to send home to parents 
  • write an article for the school newsletter  
  • put something on the school website
  • put posters up around the school, on the school gates as well as inside the school 

Keep track of the changes

How do you know the impact you've made?  You may want to encourage families to sign a pledge to turn down their thermostats.  Why not run a competition between classes to see which class can have the most families pledge? Can you set a target for the whole school to get 25% of families signed up.  50%?  100%?    As a next phase, why not encourage some families to drop their thermostat 2 degrees!  Go for it!


Celebrate

Make sure you share the great steps that your families are taking.  Keep a running tally of how many families are signing up.   Make sure this is visible to the whole school - put a poster in the school reception or by the school gate or make sure to put it in your weekly newsletter to encourage more families to join in! 

If you're part of a group of schools or MAT, make sure you tell all the other schools about your challenge.  You could even run it as an inter-trust challenge to see which schools get most families pledging.

Why not even tell the local newspaper what you're doing - to encourage other people in your community to take this action too.