39 Ways to Save the Planet
On Friday 15th October a group of Year 11 and Sixth Form Geography students headed to the Royal Geographic Society in London for a talk entitled ’39 Ways to Save the Planet’ by Tom Heap. Tom is well known for his high profile television appearances on ‘Countryfile’ and ‘Costing the Earth’ but he has a particular link to Leighton Park as the son of Old Leightonian, the late John Heap. John was clearly an inspiration for Tom, both sharing an acute awareness of environmental issues . During his time at LP John won a travel scholarship and the School archives has an account of his extraordinary journey across a wintery 1940s Canada, camping in sub-zero temperatures. John went on to be an early flag bearer for the damage to the ice caps, became a government advisor and there is even a glacier named in his honour.
Tom’s new book promises hope, identifying many ways to cut carbon emissions – some proven and others growing promising but craving uptake. On Friday evening he explained how if we adopt all the 39 Ways, we can save the planet without breaking the bank or sending us back to the stone age. In addition, the evening provided our students with some experience of the formal structure which is typical of so much university teaching and allowed them to demonstrate a willingness to expand their knowledge base, thinking ahead to university applications.
Head of Geography, Oliver Staines, who led the trip with fellow Geographer, Ellie Smales, commented, “It was a bit of rush getting there due to some problems with the tube trains but it was very engaging when we did arrive. It was the launch event so there were some sustainable celebrities in the audience as special guests. It was a really positive talk all about focussing on the fact that we’ve got all the solutions already. All we need to do is scale up what we are doing rather than searching for new solutions. There were plenty of inspiring stories, inspiring people and positive action. There were also great questions about what we can do. Focussing on students they can pester their parents and they can make their own choices about their diet and other forms of consumption.”
Lower Sixth Former, Amelie reflected, “The trip to RGS was great, we attended a very interesting lecture called ‘39 Ways to Save the Planet’ which covered a few of the 39 ways people around the world are currently using to cut down on carbon emissions. Overall it was a great experience.” Year 11 student, Charlotte, agreed saying, “‘It was great to meet Tom Heap and listen to him presenting us with new, innovative ways that people around the world have come up with to save our planet from climate change.” Edward (Lower Sixth), reflected, “I found it extremely interesting and quite thought-provoking, I am still thinking back to the lecture every now and again and the techniques shown. It opened my eyes to some of the interesting and new ways we are trying to halt climate change and I’m interested to see what else is in store!”