Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Students and climate campaigners stage new eco-fair

Students and climate campaigners stage new eco-fair

A NEW eco-fair held at Icknield Community College in Watlington has been hailed a success.

About 200 people attended the event, which was run by the school council in conjunction with the Watlington Climate Action Group, which wants to make the town more environmentally friendly.

There were stalls selling sustainable products, environmentally-friendly alternatives, a vegetable swap, educational activities including electric bikes, a recycling station, eco-craft and eco-sculptures. Students sold Fairtrade goods.

There was also an eco-cake competition with two age categories. The 12 and under category was won by Dylan Blewitt with a three-tier cake representing the plight of our oceans, forests and melting ice. 

The  winner of the 16 and under category was James Bradley whose cake showed a light bulb being lit by a wind turbine. Businesses in the town donated the prizes.

Nicola Schafer, who co-chairs the action group, said: “The students pulled it together in seven weeks, which was incredible.

“The motivation was increasing awareness of the different things that people can do to live in a more sustainable way, whether it’s what you eat, lifestyle changes or the products that you use.

“The number and variety of stalls was fantastic —  everything from electric bikes to different sorts of cosmetics to the cake competition.

“It was busy throughout the event and the feedback from stallholders has been amazing — they really had a successful day.

“The number of visitors just shows what an important issue it is for people.”

Vicky Pickford, assistant headteacher at the college, said: “Our students were really excited that what they had put together was making people think differently about their lives.

“To them the climate crisis is upon us and it’s an urgent thing to act on. They are, quite rightly, frightened about their future and worried that not enough is being done about it at the top level.”

The action group has suggested a number of initiatives for the town, which were presented at a parish council meeting last month by Mrs Schafer and
co-chair Kate Brown.

Measures include helping the town to be plastic-free, planting trees, setting up a repair café where people can take items to be fixed and a “library of things” where people can borrow useful items.

Henley MP John Howell was among about 40 people who attended a meeting of the group at Watlington town hall and he answered questions about what can be done at national and international levels.

Topics raised included public transport, green energy, raising awareness and the need to fund projects that help address the climate emergency.

Mr Howell said he would take the idea for a public education campaign back to the Government and pass on the group’s ideas to the relevant committees.

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