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National Schools Action Day 21 June: schools get active for urgent climate action

On Wednesday 21 June, schools across the UK will get active in a day linking exercise with climate action.

Let’s Go Zero – a campaign now supported by over 2000 schools, colleges and nurseries in the UK teaching more than one million students – is supporting National Schools Action Day, which will promote a range of climate themed-challenges and activities. It will be a great opportunity for students to get moving and explore their passion for sustainability.

The National Schools Action Day will take place in unison with Running Out of Time’s Ben to Ben relay. Ben to Ben – a baton relay going from Ben Nevis in Scotland to Big Ben in London – will be the UK’s biggest relay of runners from all walks of life, running more than 2500 km across 50 towns and cities in just one month. The Running Out of Time relay will pass by schools and local points of interest throughout the UK, meeting locals and giving talks as they go. The relay started on 10 June and will end in Parliament Square in London on Tuesday 11 July. Thousands of people will pass the baton to inspire the nation to take collective action towards becoming zero carbon.

On the action day, students can get active in whatever way they want – from joining the relay, making special sustainable batons and having their own relay at school, or just dancing around the classroom.

The National Schools Action Day on 21 June will also help schools all over the UK take part in #ShowYourStripes – an active and colourful way to represent the rising global temperature over the last more than 100 years, and to get students thinking about climate change (the stripes for countries and cities around the world can be downloaded for free from

Schools will be sharing their human climate stripes on social media.

Many schools will form a human picture of the temperature rise year by year by wearing t-shirts of different colours from blue to red to represent the climate stripes.

Alex Green, head of Let’s Go Zero, said: ‘We love the way that schools are getting involved in National Schools Action Day – some are running, but others are cycling, swimming, walking, windsurfing, kayaking, climbing – even skiing! As well as putting the action into climate action, they are also calling for the government to commit to all UK schools being zero carbon by 2030 and to announce long term and consistent policies and funding to enable this. This is the serious but really essential part of National Schools Action Day.’

Dan Thompson, co-founder of the Running out of Time relay, said: ‘National Schools Action Day is a key focal point of our Running out of Time Relay.

‘Involving the next generation in a fun way, such as taking part in relays and wearing the climate stripes – while having the opportunity to explore the serious issues of climate change and the need to protect our natural world – engages them in the need to take action.’

The Running out of Time Relay will link up with schools in Wakefield who undertook their own relay in and between over 50 schools. The meet up is at RSPB at St Aidan's, Leeds, on Tuesday 20 June the day before the National Schools Action Day, including student runners from more than 50 primary schools in Wakefield that took part in their own climate relays.

Craig Thorpe, assistant head at Moorthorpe Primary School, St Elmsall in Wakefield, who organised the Wakefield school to school relay, said: ‘It is great to see pupils from more than 50 schools in Wakefield getting active, passing the baton in the name of climate action, and having so much fun at the same time. We are delighted to be able to meet up with the national Running out of Time relay and to provide a great lead in to National Schools Action Day – we really encourage other schools around the UK to get children involved too.

Teachers and school sustainability leads can download a Schools Action Day Activity Pack which includes more information about both the Running out of Time challenge and the National Schools Action Day activities, as well as ideas to help plan their day, such as the Earth Cubs assembly. There are also tips and materials to help schools share what they are doing with other schools and their community.

The pack also includes how to deal with climate anxiety among pupils, how to talk to parents about climate action, and where to get high quality climate information. A School Toolbox on climate action in schools is also available with advice from the Let’s Go Zero coalition which includes Carbon Trust, EcoSchools, Fairtrade Schools, Global Action Plan, the Soil Association (Food for Life), Sustrans (School Streets), The Tree Council, WRAP, and WWF.

Many Let’s Go Zero schools will have already celebrated Clean Air Day with Let’s Go Zero Coalition member Global Action Plan (Thursday 15 June) and The Tree Council will be sharing a screening of Force for Nature for schools to watch on Wedesday 21 June.

To find out more and join the day or sign up to Let’s Go Zero, go to:

The ShowYourStripes ‘warming stripe’ graphics are visual representations of the change in temperature as measured in each country, region or city over the past 100+ years. Each stripe or bar represents the temperature in that country, region or city averaged over a year.

Image courtesy: ShowYourStripes.


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