7th June 2019 National Botanic Garden Wales
Despite the rain on June 7th, over 250 pupils flocked to the National Botanic Garden to show their support for the Sustainable Development Goals as part of the EU-funded Walk the Global Walk project.
They were joined by 14 excited and committed teachers from Lesotho visiting their Welsh partner schools through the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning Programme and Dolen Cymru’s Teacher Placement Programme. Setempe Phoka representing the Basotho contingent remarked “ We are honoured to be part of this event that shows the commitment of young people leading on the path to sustainability. There is no other way to tackle global issues facing us than with global responses such as this one.”
The event kicked off with a colourful parade around the Garden led by a giant globe and accompanied by a Samba band. Pupils held handmade placards and displayed banners highlighting Sustainable Development Goal 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities and the need to work in partnership to achieve this.
Participants, who included teachers, heads, education officers, county councillors and NGO representatives as well as pupils, were welcomed by Gareth Morgans, director of education at Carmarthenshire County Council. He reminded all that similar events were taking place in 11 other nations in the EU as part of Walk the Global Walk, meaning that those present were part of a truly international community of thousands of young people raising awareness of the Global Goals and taking action to help make them a reality. He also stated Carmarthenshire’s commitment to listening actively to young people and developing plans and policies together with them.
The Global Goalkeepers, pupil ambassadors from Carmarthenshire schools involved in the project, then had the opportunity to showcase actions they had led to help make their communities more sustainable. These include an intergenerational project highlighting cultural heritage, the creation of community gardens, combatting plastic waste, supporting fair trade, encouraging pupils to get on their bikes with a sponsored bike ride, and an innovative social enterprise scheme. Councillor Cefin Campbell, responsible for ensuring the county becomes net zero carbon by 2030, drew attention to the huge challenges involved and the necessity of taking action both as individuals and as communities to achieve this.
Pupils then took part in a fun range of hands on workshops: experimenting with renewable energies, exploring African and African Caribbean cultures and their influence on music, playing a greenhouse gases game, creating bath bombs, making a sustainable food wrap, concocting a healthy pot noodle, and thinking about how we rely on others around the world for our clothes and food.
The finale saw the Global Goalkeepers making pledges to continue their actions and included music in the form of
beautiful solos from Mari Mathias and spine-tingling choral singing by visiting Basotho teachers.
The organisers would like to thank Sophie Howe and Elen Jones from the Future Generations Office, our Global Goalkeepers and their teachers from Johnstown, Bro Myrddin, Bro Dinefwr, Dyffryn Aman, Glan y Môr, Queen Elizabeth High and Canolfan y Gors, the Basotho visitors, all schools who participated, councillors and CCC officers, staff of NBGW, and all providers of workshops, pop up activities and stalls.