Pupils from St Margaret’s School for Girls will be asking the Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment some tough questions about the Government’s green credentials when she visits the school tomorrow morning (Friday, October 11).
Mairi Gougeon will address the school’s weekly morning assembly before meeting members of the junior school’s Conservation Club, where she will be asked questions regarding Government proposals for tree planting in Scotland, Government targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and how the club can get involved at a local level.
The Junior School Conservation Club was started in 2018 by two 6J girls - Grace Scott and Shannon MacAngus – who had delivered a passionate presentation about their concern for the environment - particularly Goal 14, Life Below Water, a sustainable development goal of the United Nations Development Programme - at the annual Sustainable Development Goals Conference, which was held in Aberdeen.
The club meets once a week to share ideas and strategies for making improvements to St Margaret’s and the local environment. To date, it has raised money to adopt a dolphin, started a letter writing campaign to businesses and the local council on various subjects, collected crisp bags for recycling, planted over 80 trays of wildflowers and attended the annual Sustainable Development Goals Conference in May 2019.
There are now more than 20 girls in the club, mostly from the junior school, and plans are underway for the senior school to develop its own club to work in collaboration with them.
Ms Gougeon said: “I’m looking forward to visiting St Margaret’s to talk about what we’re doing in Scotland to respond to the global climate emergency and what can be done locally. It is fitting that I will be visiting during Scotland’s Climate Week – an opportunity for us all to think about what we can do to help tackle climate change.
“Young people across the world have shown us just how powerful their voices are. The Scottish Government is listening, and we are acting: we now have the toughest framework of emissions targets of any country in the world. We are acting now to safeguard our planet for future generations.”
Teacher Gail Wyatt invited Ms Gougeon to the school to with the club after she delivered a speech at an event about climate change during the summer holidays.
She said: ‘’Ms Gougeon’s remit is very much in keeping with the club's plans for the coming year, reducing our use of paper and initiating a tree planting scheme which the whole school can become involved with.
‘’She agreed to visit St Margaret's when she heard that our club was keen to get involved and included many very enthusiastic and passionate young environmentalists. We are very much looking forward to welcoming her to our school tomorrow.’’