UN World Environment Day – A Child’s Right to a Better World

5 June 2014 · 0 comments

in Art & Music Outdoors, Community Involvement, Early Years Outdoors, Outdoor Play, Urban

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Recently, I was presenting at a Kirklees Council conference, I’m a Kid, Get Me Out of Here, which was based at Cliffe House.

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This council-run outdoor centre is a wonderful place. Aside from a beautiful location, really quirky dormitories with decent beds and good food, I particularly liked the displays and attention to detail throughout the centre.

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It reflects the care and commitment of the staff who work there.

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Going up the stairs, is a display of children’s artwork which is particularly poignant and relevant to  UN World Environment Day (#WED14) which is June 5th. The text accompanying the display states:

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“Today, many people in our world are facing great difficulties. Many of them are hungry. Many of them have no homes. Many of them cannot read or write. Many of them are at war.

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Many of them are children.

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These pictures have been created by the children in Year 5 at St. John’s Church School, Golcar. They were made using collage, water colours, chalks and pen. Drawn in the style of the artist Bruce McNally, some of the children have traced parts of the picture and others have drawn freehand, copying his work.

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Each of these pictures is as individual as the child who has created it. Yet, alike and united in a theme as the children are part of a school, part of a community and part of the human race. 

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The work was done as part of a PHSE project. The project compared the lives of children in our world looking at the rights children should have and the unrelenting work which UNICEF does to make sure these rights are implemented. 

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Children who begin to think about others with understanding and compassion grow up to be understanding and compassionate adults – and our world and the children within it need more understanding and compassion.”

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If you read the text below each picture, you can see it is very relevant to WED14.

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If we think about and truly acted upon what every child really needs when growing up in this world, then the planet Earth would probably be in much better health.

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Ghandi is known for his quote, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” I think another important consideration is whether the health of a nation’s children and their rights are truly respected.

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For me, this goes hand-in-hand with sustainability and caring for the environment. After all, the children are our future and we need to leave them with the best possible legacy.

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Let’s examine our vision for our world, our children and our values…

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..because every child needs a better world…..

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So on June 5th, let’s look at ways we can support our children and make their future sustainable and rights-based.

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On June 5th, a new website is being launched, It’s Our World. This is the UK’s largest art project celebrating the environment and promoting sustainability.

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By visiting the website you can find out how you and your class can contribute to the project and celebrate our world through arts-based projects.

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Many thanks to Cliffe House for giving me permission to publish these beautiful photos and accompanying text – in italics.

And here’s more information about It’s Our World…

“Launching on UN World Environment Day, 5th June 2014, It’s Our World is a mass participation arts project to give children and young people in the UK a voice to speak out for positive environmental action.

The aim is to create the largest online gallery of artwork celebrating the environment, as seen through the eyes of it’s future custodians aged 4-19 years.   Mostly driven through schools, participants are invited to put themselves on the map by creating an artwork to bring their local landscape or neighbourhood to life. The website, donated by Overthrow Digital, has lots of ideas on how to take part and details on how to register www.itisourworld.org The Online Gallery, hosted by Claranet, will open in September when artworks will be accepted in any size or medium.

Closing date for submissions will be in May next year to coincide UN World Environment Day 2015. The entire collection will be handed over to the UK Web Archives, providing a lasting snapshot of how children and young people view the world in which they live.

It’s Our World has been made possible with over £0.5 million worth of sponsorship in kind (list of supporters attached).   It has been developed by Healthy Planet with the support of Start (Business in the Community – one of The Prince’s charities) and the active involvement of over 20 community, arts, environmental and educational partners including The Campaign for Drawing, The National Union of Teachers, Wildlife Trusts (England & Wales), The Scottish Wildlife Trust, The Eden Project, Keep Britian Tidy and The National Society for Education in Art & Design (full list attached).

“Connecting young people with the natural world and for them to understand its importance in terms of ‘natural capital’ and general wellbeing is a key element of BITC’s ‘9bn challenge’ which seeks to create a world by 2050 where 9bn people can lead healthy, sustainable lives. For this reason BITC is delighted to support ‘It’s Our World’” Michael Davies, from Business in the Community said

We hope that children and young people will exercise their imagination in creating artworks and taking the lead in living more sustainably for the benefit of future generations.” Shaylesh Patel, Founder Healthy Planet said. “Small steps in reducing waste, saving energy and water can help to make a big difference”.

The project is endorsed by a growing list of Ambassadors including Michael Morpurgo, Col Chris Hadfield – Former Commander of International Space Station, Liz Bonnin and Stephen Fry who stated “Support It’s Our World, because – despite recent astronomical discoveries in deep space – it really is the One World we will ever know. It has supported us and every one of our ancestors, it’s time to pay it back”.

The launch event on 5th June will feature a Pop-Up Art Class involving Europe’s largest indoor ad screen Motion@Waterloo by permission of Network Rail and JCDecaux. It’s Our World Young Ambassador and artist Zoom Rockman, pupils from nearby Oasis Academy Johanna and students from City & Guilds of London Art Schoolwill bring their neighbourhood to life by creating an artwork from onscreen footage of Waterloo Sunset donated by Nice & Serious.   Easels and artists materials donated by Faber Castell and Cass Art.

 

For further information and details on how to take part visit www.itisourworld.org

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