The event, which was attended by around 100 people, was organised by the University’s Athrofa – The Institute of Education at the Halliwell Theatre in Carmarthen as a way to inspire and engage educators about global sustainability and global competence. Education and training plays a crucial role in helping people understand and act on environmental sustainability.
The conference is part of the Erasmus + project, funded by the European Union. The project entails working with schools and an inspectorate based in Barcelona and Belgium.
As part of the project, a website has been created as a way to produce resources and information for teachers in schools and for teacher educators, so that they can become more competent about global sustainability issues.
Senior lecturer Gail Parker organised the conference and has been involved in the Erasmus + project for the past three years.
“This conference is about getting the message across to a wider audience, and to inform schools about the resources that’s available for them to use. One of my responsibilities as part of the project is to disseminate information regarding the Go Global project and to raise awareness of the website. Here you can find all the materials and training documents that has been produced for schools and universities.”
The keynote speaker at the conference was BBC Wales weather presenter, Derek Brockway. He spoke about his work and also about the impacts of environmental and climate change to the country.
“It’s a privilege to be here as a keynote speaker at the Erasmus + Conference. It’s my first time here at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and it’s a great honour to be invited to the campus particularly during the bicentenary year.
“It’s always nice to meet people and to discuss something that I’m passionate about. Our teachers have great importance in influencing our future generation, and it’s always fantastic to see their impact when children come back from school and tell their grandparents about ways to tackle climate change.”
Other speakers at the conference included teachers Alison Kelso from Pembroke Dock Community School, and Tom Goss from St Thomas Primary School in Swansea who have been involved in the project, and both presented their work.
Alison discussed how her school has benefited from the Erasmus + project by twinning with schools from Belgium and Barcelona and arranging exchange visits within those schools so that children can understand global competence.
“It’s been a privilege to be a part of a project that’s enabled students to be ethically informed, global citizens.”
During his talk, Tom highlighted how his school had managed to reflect the importance of climate change, the weather and sustainability by creating cross-curricular activities suitable for their classroom.
“We are partly responsible for the actions of the future generations.”
Lara Hopkinson, a Senior Lecturer and Programme Director (Environment, Sustainability & Climate Change) at UWTSD also spoke about sustainability buildings.
“Sustainability is fundamentally important in Wales, and it was an honour to be asked to talk from my perspective of how this impacts everyone daily. Inclusion of sustainability literacy at primary level is so important to help make the changes needed to help our planet flourish. Wales is small yet mighty, and our children will be the changemakers of the future.”
Lisa Fearn, Owner of The Pumpkin Patch Kitchen and Garden – a cookery and gardening school and ‘Y Sied’ café took part and discussed how to eat and save the planet, and showed those who attended the conference of ways to reuse recyclable material within their everyday life.
“It was a pleasure to be invited to talk and enthuse the young people, who will one day be responsible for caring for our fragile planet. The small things we do today have such a massive impact on the future of their (and our) world. We must learn to put the planet first, to care for and be accountable for our actions, so that their children have a healthy future on a healthy planet.”
Hazel Thomas, the coordinator for Canolfan Tir Glas also addressed the audience about the vision of this project.
“I was so grateful to Gail for allowing me the opportunity to showcase the Canolfan Tir Glas initiative in the context of the Think Global event and focusing on the work by UWTSD Professor of Practice Richard Dunne. Richard is the author of Harmony, a teacher’s guide, which is a new way of looking at and learning about our world, based on 7 key principles.”