Philip Pullman backs school environment initiative

Posted: 18 June 2007

Philip Pullman, world-renowned author of the beloved 'His Dark Materials' children's trilogy, has pledged his enthusiastic support to a new environmental initiative underway at his local primary school on the outskirts of Oxford.

The Norwich-born former schoolteacher, whose work is profoundly inspired by his adopted home of Oxford, today officially launched 'Cumnor Goes Green,' Cumnor Primary School's drive towards becoming carbon neutral, at that most British of institutions, the annual school fete.

Philip Pullman and kids from Cumnor School
Philip Pullman and kids from Cumnor School
Philip Pullman and kids from Cumnor School with eco-friendly straw bale construction material. Photo © Helen Barker
"I am naturally concerned about the environment and our energy use, so I applaud my local community's positive steps to combat climate change, particularly those of the younger generation who will inherit this threatened planet," said Pullman, a keen supporter of sustainable energy schemes.

"The children here have enthusiastically embraced the maxim 'think globally, act locally' and I know that their positive approach in doing their bit to tackle climate change has been hugely inspiring for pupils, parents and teachers alike," he continued.

"I firmly believe that the collective power of children can change the world, if nothing else by shaming grown ups and the people that run the world into doing more to tackle climate change," added the writer, whose award-winning children's trilogy hits the big screen in December with the release of the highly anticipated The Golden Compass.

Commenting on the visit, Cara Lynch-Blosse, Headteacher of Cumnor Primary School said; "The children enjoyed the day enormously and are excited that Mr Pullman has recognised the big difference they have already made by switching off unused lights, reducing power consumption and composting school waste."

"We were already a Bronze Eco-School, but having been awarded Silver Eco-School status earlier this week, the launch of 'Cumnor Goes Green' is our commitment to go for the ultimate, Green Flag status, which although a far greater challenge is one that the children and teachers are very positive about taking on."

"The School sits on an exposed ridge, so ultimately our aim is to purchase wind turbines and solar panels which we hope will have a wider community impact by us leading the way to becoming carbon neutral. We also hope to build a new foundation stage unit using tried and tested, albeit unusual sustainable building materials, including straw bale insulation," she added.The initial aim of the 'Go Green' campaign however, will be to raise both awareness and funds to help purchase equipment such as weather stations and power consumption meters so that the children can measure their power use and the changing weather patterns.

"It's very important that the children not only learn from the project, but that they are actively engaged in the decisions that we take as we work towards becoming more environmentally sustainable," said Mrs Lynch-Blosse.