9 December 2021
Pupils at Sydenham High School were delighted to welcome back alumna Charlotte Lawson (Class of 2012) for the next Lecture in the series, this time with a focus on Climate Change – the Science and the Future. The Senior School community listened avidly, with some pupils invited to form a live audience in the Longton Hall, for the first time since the pandemic, and the remaining classes watching via livestream.
Introduced by the school’s Eco Prefects, Marta, Daisy and Alice, Climate Change Consultant Charlotte shared her knowledge as a specialist in International Development as well as speaking about her recent training as a Voluntary Vaccinator with St John’s Ambulance!
Charlotte began by telling pupils about her route into her profession after leaving Sydenham High School, studying a BSc in Environmental Sciences with European Studies which included a year studying abroad in France, followed by a MSc in Environmental Change and International Development. A fascinating aspect of her studies were the research trips to Tanzania and the Galapagos. She also described her climate-related research with ZSL London Zoo where she analysed bugs and trees on the Mongolian Steppe.
Summarising the way climate change was currently included in the National Curriculum, Charlotte then gave a history of climate agreements and explored the different approaches to tackling climate change – ‘mitigation vs resilience vs adaptation’ and the global socio-economic challenges of these approaches. The captive audience was kept on their toes throughout, with Charlotte asking them to name the 6 top Greenhouse gases amongst other questions. To round up, the guest lecturer discussed the issues raised at COP26, giving a useful synopsis of the outcomes of the conference and ended on a positive note of how individual action can contribute to those different outcomes.
Charlotte’s lecture was followed by a Q&A session, with Year 7, in particular, very keen to have their questions answered. Topics ranged from the future level of the sea rise affecting London, to what motivated Charlotte to choose her MSc course, what she would do concerning the environment if she were prime minister, what constitutes the worst impact of climate change, whether there are any positives to climate change and more!
Eco prefect, Daisy, commented “I found the lecture super interesting as it linked to my current studies of geography and biology as well as my interest in climate change. It is such an important topic and Charlotte had delivered it in a way that was intriguing and understandable for the younger years. I found it particularly interesting learning about how the MDG (Millennium Development Goals) turned into the current SDG (sustainable Development Goals) which have a much more intensive focus on climate change and the environment.”