Shimna Integrated College Students take part in mock debate on climate change at Stormont
Shimna Integrated College students were at Parliament Buildings, Stormont (Friday, 5 November) to debate on the biggest issue facing the planet… the Climate Crisis.
The sixth form pupils were taking part in British Council Northern Ireland’s COP26 Climate Simulation Negotiation event, which saw them join with other students from across Northern Ireland to play the part of world leaders, lobbying groups or media, in a bid to discover what it’s like to negotiate a real climate deal.
The event, which used computer software by Climate Interactive and MIT to create a real-life climate simulation, was taking place to coincide with the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, which runs until 12 November.
During the negotiations Shimna represented Climate Activists, and working together with the other schools, they had to collectively agree on how much they were going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by, how they would help struggling nations, and agree on ways to adapt to climate change to protect their cities and people.
The negotiations were led by Dr Peter Doran, Senior Lecturer in Law, from Queen’s University Belfast, with pupils also zooming in to the event live from Egypt – with the British Columbia Canadian International School in El Sharouk taking on the role of the UK as part of the proceedings.
The event ended with the schools agreeing to reduce global temperature rises to 2.3 °C and securing enough funding through the Green Climate Fund to support future climate actions in both the developed and developing nations.
Ahead of the event, Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “Education plays a crucial role in informing our young people about climate change and its impact. Sustainable development is already part of the Northern Ireland curriculum via the World Around Us area of learning at primary level and through the Environment and Society area of learning at post-primary level. The COP 26 event is a great way to introduce a number of elements of the curriculum, together with current affairs, in a way that directly engages the pupils.”
Also, commenting was Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, said: “Today’s event put pupils in the hot seat by taking on the role of leaders – giving them a real flavour of what negotiations such as those taking place in COP26 are like. It’s also a chance for them to experience the complexities and challenges in reaching international agreement on such urgent global issues.
“Today’s initiative is part of our global programme, The Climate Connection, which brings young people around the world together in 2021 to meet the challenges of climate change ahead of COP26 through co-operation, dialogue and action. I am delighted that the voice of Northern Ireland’s young people continue to actively engage in this global programme.”
The Climate Connection, which launched in June 2021, brings people together through arts and culture, education, and the English language to address the climate emergency through a global programme of activity and engagement, with particular focus on young people aged 11 to 35. The programme supports young people to gain the skills and connections they need to address climate challenges
Through the programme, the British Council has reached almost two million people online and directly engaged with over 2,000 young people to date, including indigenous communities, artists, academics, scientists, and creative innovators, to find long-lasting, creative ways to tackle multiple issues relating to the climate crisis.
This negotiation event continues the British Council’s work, building connection, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching.