Why we're campaigning for an environmental sea change

Sixth form student RAFAELLA SHIERS reports on why students are hoping to help bring about a sea change in our environment as they launch their latest charity fundraiser

EVERY day approximately eight million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. Due to growing alarm over our climate emergency our chosen cause for this year's Charity Week is Surfers Against Sewage, put forward by Sebastian Lyons.

SAS aims to inspire people to protect our beautiful coastlines through 'highlighting the connection between global climate change and the day-to-day changes we’re seeing at our local beaches’.

Surfers Against Sewage emphasises that, despite their name, plastic pollution is the ‘new sewage’ and tackling it is their number one priority. In order to do this they organise beach cleans and educational programmes for the next generation of environmental champions, along with petitions to governments and industry.

As well as being one of the UK’s most successful and active environmental charities, recent successes of SAS include securing a £5 billion investment from UK water companies to improve the quality of bathing water and successfully campaigning for the plastic bag charge.

Sebastian says he was attracted to the SAS charity because he believes we need a fundamental change in how we view the environment: "Surfers against Sewage is at the forefront, playing a leading role in the Parliamentary Ocean Conservation group. The magnitude of this problem requires large-scale political solutions. This is what excites me about our chosen charity, because our contribution promises to create change.”

Due to the environmental focus of our chosen charity our eco-committee and society will be integral to continuous awareness of the catastrophic effects of single-use plastics. 

Our eco-committee, which spans from first year pupils to the upper sixth, encourages students to ‘be the change’. Some of the student-led schemes introduced within school include pen and battery recycling along with trees coming to us from the Woodland Trust as ‘trees are warriors in the fight against climate change’.

We plan to help SAS take the fight against single use plastics further by becoming a plastic-free community which is a fundamental step towards becoming more environmentally friendly. To support the charity further and to really integrate with its ethos we hope to arrange sponsored beach litter pickings for first year pupils to enthuse and inspire students to go a step further for the environment.

Additionally, sixth form students in the eco committee are reaching out to local primary schools to share ideas on helping the environment and making a difference within the community.

Charity week will commence on the 21st of October this year and continuing tradition we will be raising money through several exciting activities including a Year 7 film night, teachers’ pantomime and various games. Each form will also run a stall of their choice, with the emphasis being on activities and prizes which produce as little waste as possible.

Following last year’s record-breaking £15,397 raised for St Michael’s Hospice we look forward to continuing this legacy for a worthy charity.

Concerned about the environment: Rafaella, centre, pictured with Sebastian and Emma, front left and right