On Tuesday 19 June 2012, a couple of volunteers from Scottish Greenpeace groups headed across to Portobello High School for the day to take part in their annual Changeworks Summit.
We had been invited at the request of the secondary school pupils involved in eco-committees and green teams at their schools to come and speak about Greenpeace and what we do, particularly focusing on the theme of the summit, which this year was waste. Nicola gave a wonderful and inspiring fifteen-minute talk to start off the summit before the attendees from various schools went off to take part in various workshops.
So what does Greenpeace do around waste in our campaigns? Well, the obvious first point is that the tenets of reduce, reuse and recycle are central to encouraging individuals to look after our planet better and use fewer resources, such as oil. If we could become less dependent on oil, there would be no need for the destructive and idiotic drilling which Shell is planning on doing this summer, and we are campaigning to stop. We waste huge amounts of energy when burning fossil fuels for electricity, and we've campaigned in the past for the UK to switch to combined heat and power (CHP) stations as well as to move towards renewable electricity.
Once Nicola had completed her speech and the school children had left for their workshops, we joined a teachers' session on the Green Flag Awards scheme, which was fascinating. We then also got the chance to make our own compost-in-a-bottle as an example of an easy workshop which can teach people how to compost effectively at home. We'll be taking these workshops to T in the Park festival in a few weeks' time, so watch this space to see how that goes!
Before we left, we were asked to judge the 'Rubbish Art' competition. Each school was given a cardboard box full of bits of rubbish and asked to make a poster using only the bits in the box and which conveyed a message about reducing waste. It was so difficult to pick the three winners as the standard was so high, but a couple of our favourites are at the top of this page.
It was great fun all round, and we hope they will invite us back next year.