Politicians meeting for the World Summit in Rio this week are struggling to find many achievements since their last big environmental summit in Johannesburg ten years ago. But for the last ten years, teacher Colin Workman has been bringing students from Whitchurch High school in Cardiff to the Centre for Alternative Technology and he believes attitudes amongst his pupils are starting to change.
“In the years that we have been coming here it is clear that the groups now have a better understanding than perhaps those pupils 10 years ago did about sustainability issues, but nevertheless they always learn something new.” Said Colin Workman.
Since 2002 the School has consistently brought around 200 pupils each year to the centre, meaning over 2000 pupils have now benefited from the trips. The pupils get a tour of the centre with experts from CAT, where they get to see renewable technology and innovative building techniques first hand.
“The centre always seems to move on; there’s always something new for them to look at and to learn about. The last couple of years they’ve been able to look at the WISE building and the way in which that has been built to minimise impact on resources… I certainly think it gives them a better awareness of what’s going on and that that can only be a good thing.” Mr Workman continued.
Speaking about what the benefit of coming to the Centre for Alternative Technology is to their pupils he said:
“They see the technology working in situ. It makes it more real than classroom learning.
“It is part of a basket of activities which we base this trip around that are all to do with environment and sustainability, but this is the most focused part so this is a key part of the learning journey.
“They can have some fun but they do learn important lessons about environment and sustainability.”
Ann MacGarry, Education Officer at the Centre for Alternative Technology said: “We really enjoy doing tours for the Whitchurch pupils. They are so interested, lively and engaged. I’m really impressed by the teachers as it is such a challenge these days to organise a trip like this but so valuable for the pupils.”