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Children in North Yorkshire are trying to change the world


8:27am 21st June 2012

Students from The Joseph Rowntree School in York have had their messages to world leaders made into a film  that has been shown to the King and Queen of Sweden, two former presidents, five Nobel Laureates, four Ministers, the head of WWF International and a large number of the world’s leading scientists at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil.

The organisers of the two-day high-level dialogues were so impressed with the film that they decided to show it to both the closed and open sessions, at which the leading thinkers, policy-makers and advisors on sustainable development have gathered. The film can be seen here.

The dialogues are to support political discussions and the subsequent formulation of Sustainable Development Goals for the UN Conference. The Joseph Rowntree School was the only school in the UK to take part in the film, and one of just three schools internationally.

Three thirteen-year-old Joseph Rowntree School students – Ben Smythe, Phoebe Frere and Georgie Bryan – are featured in the film, which also includes includes soundbites from Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who calls young people ‘a force for transformation.’

The film precedes an intergenerational dialogue and supports a declaration called, ‘The Future We Choose: Tipping the Scales towards Global Sustainabiity’, which was issued in a press conference from Rio Centro on Monday 18 June. The webcast is available click here.

A video of the webcast will be shown at the school’s own event, the ‘Jo Rio Earth Summit’, which takes place this Thursday, 21 June. The Joseph Rowntree School summit, which is open to all, will also be linking up with the UN conference through another, longer, film that the students themselves have made, which will be broadcast on the night.

Another highlight of the school summit is an Environment Question Time, which will focus on the main themes of the Rio conference. Panellists include York Outer MP Julian Sturdy, Adrian Ramsey, Deputy Speaker of the Green Party, Christian Vassie from the Covenant of Mayors and Professor Dave Raffaelli of the University of York’s Environment Department.

The Jo Rio Earth Summit is a celebration of sustainability and also includes live music, drama, food, dancing and stalls from community groups and other organisations. The free event takes place from 4.00-8.00pm and will be opened by the Lord Mayor of York.

The summit is the culmination of a partnership between The Joseph Rowntree School and The Good Life Initiative, a project to communicate sustainability run by the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

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