05 May 2015

UN Chief inspires girls

​UN Climate chief Christiana Figueres gave a rousing talk at St Catherine’s today (5 May) in which she urged students to turn climate change around by becoming the teachers.

Ms Figueres is the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and is responsible for the intergovernmental process to deliver the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change. She visited the School with 1 Million Women, an Australian grassroots movement awarded by the UN for its success in encouraging women and girls to take practical action to fight climate change by changing the way they live.

Ms Figueres was introduced by Environment and Sustainability Prefect, Georgia Murray, a 1 Million Women ambassador, who urged her fellow students to cut carbon emissions in their own lives, join the movement and make a difference.

In a passionate and at times emotional speech Ms Figueres described climate change as a huge electric blanket that has enveloped the whole world and caused enormous damage. She told students the current generation had done them a huge injustice by handing them a world in which everything had changed and so much had been lost. "You do not turn your back on pain and suffering, she said. "I know this is a school where we assume our responsibilities. My request to you is be the teachers, you are so much more aware than my generation, teach your parents to do better."

She asked the girls for suggestions on ways they could cut carbon in their own lives and many hands shot up, especially among the younger girls. There were ideas such as; make cars that run on water; stop using electricity in the daytime; develop low emission phones and ride a bike or walk to School.

Ms Figueres congratulated the girls on their passion and commitment and told them "I don’t think I have ever experienced a whole school that has been so engaged, well done!"