The European Project, “Walk the Global Walk” aims to localise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)via engaging schools in 11 countries across Europe with the SDGs through Global Citizenship Education. In December 2019, the Walk the Global Walk team looked towards the approaching new year with a great deal of optimism.After a successfulfirst year, whichfocused upon SDG 11“Sustainable Cities and Communities”, in 2019 and 2020, we looked forward to engaging with SDG 13 – Climate Action. This seemed perfectly timed, with COP26 scheduled to come to Glasgow in November2020, public awareness of the climate crisis growing ever greater as more and more public figures committed to the climate emergency, it seemed like there had never been a better opportunity to be working withstudents at Scottish Secondary Schools to address the Climate crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that we needed to change our methods of delivery from March, cancelling plans for gathering our participating schools in Glasgow and abandoning a Summer School for participants that was to be held in Italy in the Summer of 2020. Now that the pandemic is here to stay, how is the project adjusting – and what does the changing shape of the crisis mean for the project’s final year?
The pandemic impact
The arrival of COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order on 23 March 2020 significantly impacted the ability of our teachers to engage their students.
We provided COVID-19 related learning resources for students to work through, encouraging them to consider the likely impacts of the pandemic on the climate change crisis. In online discussions with their teachers, students explored potential silver linings of the crisis, such as the move away from commuting, while also engaging with potential drawbacks, for instance, likely impact of the crisis on the ability ofNGOs’ to organise which could negatively impact the momentum of the climate action movement.
An online ‘pivot’ for Walk the Global Walk 2020!
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Project team is committed to delivering online and socially distanced activities that will help us to reach our goals of localising the SDGs and mobilising young people to drive transformational change for sustainability. We have therefore arranged several activities within our specific European contexts to address Climate Action. In Glasgow, we are now running aseries of socially distanced photography walks for our participating schools, which will be followed by online participatory photography workshops in November & December 2020. We are also hosting a Winter School for all our participating schools in Glasgow, with input from the Climate Ready Classrooms team at Keep Scotland Beautiful and virtual learning experiences from the Eden Project in Cornwall.
COVID-19 may have caused an unprecedented amount of disruption, yet it’s also encouraged us to look at new, virtual ways of engaging with the teachers and students. as we move into Year Three, in January 2020,our focus turns to SDG16 – “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”, where we will be using the lessons we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to make the project more effective than ever.
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