Dagenham pupils learn about climate crisis from environmental activists

Film-maker and campaigner Alice Aedy and writer and environmental activist George Monbiot

Film-maker and campaigner Alice Aedy and writer and environmental activist George Monbiot spoke to pupils at Dagenham Park school. - Credit: LBBD

School children in Dagenham learned about the urgency of the climate crisis and how they can make a difference from an author and a filmmaker.

Dagenham Park Church of England School recently welcomed This Can’t Be Happening author George Monbiot as well as documentary maker and climate justice activist Alice Aedy in a visit organised by Penguin Random House.

It was part of the Penguin Talks programme in partnership with Speakers for Schools, which allows young people to hear from and directly question world-renowned thinkers, writers or influential figures from the publisher’s authors.

More than 120 pupils from the secondary in School Road heard from the special guests and learned practical solutions for fighting climate change.

Headteacher Chris Ash said: "The event was a fantastic opportunity for pupils to hear The Guardian journalist George Monbiot speak about the climate crisis and what individuals and nations can do to save our planet.

"Pupils asked (Mr Monbiot) insightful and challenging questions and proved that they are future leaders in the making."

Mr Monbiot introduced pupils to the new Green Ideas series, which consists of 20 short books by writers Penguin believes created a movement, such as Rachel Carson and Greta Thunberg.

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Each of the pupils also received a copy of Mr Monbiot’s book This Can’t Be Happening.

The Dagenham school was chosen to host the first in-person Penguin Talk since the pandemic hit.

Previous visits to schools have included Michelle Obama on the power of education and self-belief and grime artist Stormzy on the importance of making your voice heard.

Barking and Dagenham councillor Evelyn Carpenter, who is the cabinet member for school improvement and educational attainment, said: “We know that tackling climate change isn’t something we can do overnight, and it’s something that we need to do as a community. 

“It’s vital to give young people the opportunity to speak about the climate crisis and educate them on the ways that they can help to play their part. 

“Education can play a huge part in creating a better, safer world for our children and future generations.”