Lucy Anderson, 16, an S5 student at George Heriot’s

A SCOTS schoolgirl has found her sustainable calling after attending a prestigious leadership summit – and hopes she can inspire others to follow suit.  

Lucy Anderson, 16, an S5 student at George Heriot’s (@George_Heriots) in Edinburgh, was amongst a number of pupils to attend the UK Education and Sustainability Leadership Summit. 

Since that she has gone on to participate in a series of webinars and talks and is gearing up for her final studies, which she hopes will allow her to continue to foster her interest in sustainability while becoming a doctor. 

Her decision comes just weeks after Scotland’s Climate Assembly published its report to the Scottish Government including 81 recommendations on action needed, informed in part by other young people. 

This included introducing education on plant-based diets, campaigns to attract young people into ‘greener’ careers and crucially, to make sure young people were taught about climate change. 

It included feedback from younger participants including one who said did not know a time when climate change was not a threat to her future and others who believe they need to be the change if adults will not. 

Lucy said:

“It is so easy to think that It’s all too much to think about or do anything about. But when you think of what kind of future you want, you realise that we all need to work together to make sure our environment is preserved for future generations. 

“Mental attitudes and mindset - so many people think it is just too big of a problem and that there is nothing they can do about It. Especially the mindset of politicians needs to change, and attitudes need to move away from those of the past.  

“This presents some major challenges, as people in general are very nostalgic for the past.” 

She added:

“I have been interested from young age and sustainability has always been on my radar. However last year I attended a summit of sustainability and education and got to look into it at a deeper level and look at all the environmental theories and models.  

“Definitely In the past year I have become more Involved, I’ve been looking at what we can do as a family and a number of my friends are also getting Involved.” 

“I have many Influences, from well-known figures like David Attenborough to my peers. One of my biggest ones Is a book - The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac. It Influenced my attitudes and how I think about sustainability, economic models and having a progressive mindset.”  

Although she sees role in championing sustainability continuing for herself and others, she still insists the buck must stop with politicians.  

She said:

“The government needs to take action – there is lots that needs to be done. Joe Biden has done a lot to reverse the damage of the previous President, and there have been some positive things to come out of the G7 summit earlier this year. However, we need drastic action taken to meet the Paris Agreement.”  

For her part Lucy has built on her experience of the leadership summit event which involved talks from climate, business and education experts who spoke about needs to be done to address climate sustainability. 

Lucy worked in a group who delivered a presentation at a webinar series at George Heriots on the topic ‘Case Studies for Change’ between teachers and students in different parts of the world, narrowing the attributes of sustainable schools to three key things - 

  • Credibility, (ensuring pupils see teachers as a viable source of information over social media); 
  • Connections (need to mirror those on a global scale, global effort to be sustainable), 
  • Create – Using Innovative methods to combat climate change.  

And she says everyone can play a part, adding: “Just starting is the biggest thing you can do - taking tiny steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle.  

“Once you have taken the first step it shows how it is possible, this could be as simple as taking a reusable bag with you, avoiding palm oil, spreading awareness, and starting the conversation with friends and family.” 

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