Larbert High in 'Scottish first' as school adds carbon literacy to curriculum

A Falkirk area school is thought to have become the first in Scotland to infuse carbon literacy into its curriculum to tackle the climate emergency.

By Jonathon Reilly
Thursday, 29th April 2021, 4:30 pm

Larbert High has embarked on a programme which will encourage behavioural change and help pupils to make informed choices on energy, transport, food and waste.

The My Carbon Zero initiative will also aim to inspire an entrepreneurial approach as students will be tasked with creating solutions to sell to the world.

The impact of the programme will be measured through regular audits of pupils’ carbon footprints, helping youngsters to understand sources of carbon emissions and what they can do to reduce emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Carbon literacy is being added to the curriculum in Larbert High School in what's believed to be a Scottish first. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The school is working with Forth Valley College-based Fuel Change, founded by David Reid, and the Pond Foundation, of Switzerland, as part of a pilot.

Fuel Change is sparking a means by which the Scottish economy can shift to net zero, a term that refers to achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.

The Pond Foundation’s MCZ initiative aims to tackle climate change by democratising credible climate action and inspiring people in their own journey to net zero.

Larbert High also hopes to collaborate with other educational facilities in Scotland and around the world to help the next generation shift behaviours towards low-carbon living with social, economic and environmental benefits for all.

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Staff, pupils and the wider school community will learn the knowledge and acquire tools to ingrain a positive new outlook on the climate crisis.

The goal is to create a generation able to contribute towards a green and sustainable future in which Scotland will lead the world.

This new approach will take the form of three dedicated learning programmes.

S1 pupils will follow a climate emergency unit of work throughout the summer term in which they’ll investigate the climate crisis from every angle: its history, ethics, politics and geography.

All year groups will take part in lessons exploring the climate emergency over a term. This will include the causes and impacts of climate change, as well as solutions they can implement now and in the future.

Pupils will also be given the skills to debate with and persuade others, including politicians and businesses.

In August, Larbert High will launch a family learning programme to help parents make informed decisions about a sustainable future.

Plans are in place to deliver this online so the message reaches households regardless of Covid restrictions.

Larbert High headteacher Jon Reid said: “We’ve moved from a climate challenge to a climate emergency and it’s important that everyone realises that now is the time to take action and do their bit.

“My Carbon Zero is an important response to the emergency and is the vehicle for informing and influencing generations of our young people.

“As adults we can bury our heads in the sand and pretend that ‘it’s not our problem’. As educators we have the opportunity to empower young people with the skills, knowledge and expertise to change not only their own habits, but to persuade other generations that, indeed, it is everyone’s problem.

“We are delighted to be involved in this ground-breaking initiative – there’s no better place to start than with the leaders of tomorrow.”

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