Sharing and discovering together
The first 1.5 MAX Global Schools' Climate Summit was held in October 2021 in the run-up to COP26. It was organised by the Scottish third-sector group Sustainability Partnerships and involved twelve schools from around Scotland and four schools from Malawi, Mozambique, and Nepal - three of the most affected and climate vulnerable countries.
The summit covered three days and involved a range of activities designed by the teachers involved to promote wider community understanding about climate and related issues, to give young people an opportunity to engage with climate and related issues in a supportive environment, and to empower young people to not only think about their own local climate and sustainability issues but to also take action for positive change on those issues.
1.5 MAX is an initiative which harnesses the ideas, creativity, energy, and enthusiasm of young people to create positive environmental changes for their school and the communities they serve.
“I would like 1.5 MAX to be a starting point - a kickstart for a whole school approach across every school in Scotland, embracing sustainability at a school-wide level.
1.5 MAX is a chance for young people to say, "This is what we want to happen: these are the actions we are going to take ourselves." And the next stage is, "This is how we're going to take things forwards, with the whole school in tow."”
— Tom Bird. Teacher and co-founder Sustainability Partnerships
Responses to 1.5 MAX 2021
The 1.5 MAX 2021 was run as a blended learning event combining collaborative online and in-classroom activities. The summit proved to be a great success with schools, teachers and pupils, and the feedback we received from pupils and teachers was overwhelmingly positive.
We cannot emphasise enough how transformational an experience 1.5 MAX 2021 was for the schools who took part.
"I work in the Hospital Education Service. I work with arguably the most vulnerable pupils in Scotland. Taking part in 1.5 MAX was transformational for them. They really re-engaged with their environment in a way I have never seen in anything I have done before. We have quite an active Eco group. These pupils have brought recycling facilities into a whole hospital, and they meet with the wider community, so there has been quite a strong environmental focus. But taking part in 1.5 MAX really opened up the world to them in a way nothing else has. They've seen their actions as not just in their local environment and the result of 1.5 MAX is that they now want to change the world."
— Liz Russell, Hospital Education Service, Glasgow, Scotland
As well as establishing close personal and institutional ties between international schools, the pupils who took part were given great confidence through connecting with their peers from around the world, and with that confidence all schools undertook some form of positive action on environmental issues within their school or community.
What pupils said
"I liked the work relating to our own schools and how we can improve, that felt productive."
"I thought it was brilliant to spend a whole day discussing solutions to our waste issue and I thought we really did come up with an amazing idea! I'm really looking forward to putting our plan of the interdisciplinary climate lessons into action!"
"A lot more active learning and going round the school and phycially seeing problems that face our school, I enjoyed coming up with solutions and feeling like our solutions will be heard and atcually taken into consideration."
I absolutely loved Day 3 of the summit! It was so much fun creating our presentation and hearing the panel's thoughts on our ideas. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this event possible, it is definitely something I will remember forever."
After the summit
Following the summit the number of climate and sustainability school initiatives has increased. Some of the initiatives carried forward by schools and community Eco Clubs post-summit include:
- developing tree planting and wilding initiatives
- the re-writing of school development plans
- taking definitive action on single-use plastic in schools
- campaigning on local waste management issues
- raising community awareness around water security and flood risk issues
- developing a devised theatre performance based on local environmental concerns
- developing inter-disciplinary learning modules and plans for integrating climate and sustainability education in schools
- seeking meetings with local and national political representatives to discuss their concerns and their plans for addressing them
Tom Bird: Why sustainability Education is so important
In the run-up to the first 1.5 MAX summit, Edinburgh mathematics teacher and Sustainability Partnerships co-founder Tom Bird gave a short video presentation about why the summit initiative was not just important for pupils, but a vital and much needed contribution to sustainability education in Scotland.
Get in touch
You can get in touch with the 1.5 MAX team via our our social media links at the top of this page, or you can (email address at the bottom of the page).