Meet the fundraisers from Rugby High School’s Climate Coalition

Climate-conscious students at a Rugby High School have gone above and beyond, organising a month of activities centered around the climate crisis. The Climate Coalition organised activities throughout February to raise funds for Cool Earth and towards improving the school’s recycling systems. We caught up with them to find out more.

Please tell us a little bit about yourselves.

The Climate Coalition are a group of students from across all year groups who are passionate about fighting the climate crisis and meet every Wednesday to discuss ways the school can be more environmentally friendly and how to raise students’ awareness of the problem. The club is run by Sixth Formers and there are around 20 members mainly from years 7-9.

What was the inspiration behind starting the Climate Coalition?

Climate Coalition was started by Miriam at the start of her final year of school. The year before, the school had an Eco Club with very few members which looked like it might stop running after the teacher who had led it left the school. Miriam took matters into her own hands and decided to reinvent the club as Climate Coalition and decided to run it alongside some other Sixth Formers. The group has slowly grown in number because of its high profile around the school thanks to the large events it organises throughout the year.

What do you hope to accomplish?

As a group we have two overarching aims: to reduce the school’s carbon footprint and to raise students’ awareness of the climate crisis. Under the umbrella of reducing the school’s impact, we want our school to go plastic free specifically in the canteen, we want to improve our recycling facilities and we want think about renewable energy options. In terms of raising students’ awareness, we want students to understand that there is a chance for change to happen despite the shocking and negative news and we want to empower them to make personal changes in their own lives.

The Climate Coalition members – Nikita, Lin, Miriam, Eshaal, Evie, Ellini, Rachel, Olivia, Iris, Tanzeelah, Heather, Maddy, Cesca, Bethany, Georgia, Rowan, Tvisha, Eliza, Lizzie and Lily

How did you find out about Cool Earth?

Miriam found Cool Earth after a simple internet search for environmental charities and felt that what the charity stood for really aligned with the morals and aims of the Climate Coalition.

Why was it important for you to raise awareness and fundraise for Cool Earth?

We think the trees in the rainforests that Cool Earth protect are amazing because 1. they provide habitats for all kinds of brilliant animals and 2. they act as great carbon sinks sucking carbon out of the atmosphere and releasing oxygen in exchange. Donating money to a charity like this was fun because we could see how our fundraising could make a difference in countries around the globe.

What fundraising events and activities did you organise?

Over two weeks in February, we held four different events and we called this Climate Month. The first was a Meat-Free Monday in our canteen which raised awareness of how lowering meat consumption can reduce your individual carbon footprint. We then held a whole school cake competition where each year group had a different theme to create their entries around such as endangered animals or pollution. These cakes were then judged by members of Climate Coalition and sold during a lunchtime. After this, a second-hand clothes sale raised more money as well as a whole school non-uniform day with the theme of wearing something sustainable or second-hand.

Do you have three top tips for other people wanting to taking climate action?

🌟 Tip 1. Waste. Think about recycling more than just paper and card by using specialist facilities (often these are at supermarkets!) for crisp packets or pens, composting your food and buying less single-use plastic.

🌟 Tip 2. Transport. Think about sharing lifts, taking public transport more and maybe investing in an electric car rather than a diesel/petrol one.

🌟 Tip 3. Community. Think about finding like-minded people to talk to about the climate crisis, joining a group and going to protests.

If other students would like to start their own Climate Coalition, how should they go about it?

Firstly, just go for it! Once you have a small group of people with lots of enthusiasm and have checked with teachers that you can start one, we suggest that you get at least one teacher who can act as a source support and authority when needed. Also, we suggest that you go big or go home – large events will grab the attention of lots of people and then your message will be easy to spread!

Climate Coalition is: Miriam, Rowan, Tvisha, Lily, Eliza, Elizabeth, Bethany, Maddy, Heather, Cesca, Georgia, Eloise, Rachel, Lin, Nikita, Tanzeelah, Eshaal, Iris, Olivia, Leah, Evie, Ellini

Feeling inspired? Ready to start your own Climate Coalition, check out our fundraising page or get in touch we’d love to hear your ideas.