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Yorkshire student calls on her MP to support school’s journey to zero carbon

A 14-year old student from Yorkshire, Mathilde Iveson from St Francis Xavier School has written to her MP Rt Hon Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to ask him to visit the school and help her and fellow students progress their plans to be a zero-carbon school. 

She has asked him to help the school increase biodiversity through more flower beds in and near the school and by helping the school get hybrid or fully electric school buses. 

Mathilde, who is in Year 9 and part of the school’s Eco Team is very passionate about the need to make changes at school in order to reduce the UK’s climate emissions. She’s been involved in eliminating single use plastics in the school, litter picking, bulb planting and is a key Eco Team speaker at school and in the community. 

Rishi Sunak visited the school in 2019, the year the school won the 2019 Education Estates Award for Sustainability. 

Since then, the students have become even more aware of the climate emergency and have worked hard with their teachers and the Trust to step up their environmental actions. 

Mathilde’s school St Francis Xavier is part of the St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust covering 17 schools in North Yorkshire (2 secondary and 15 primary), which are now all working on their carbon reduction strategies, learning from St Francis Xavier and collaborating on joint initiatives. 

The Trust has signed up to Let’s Go Zero – a schools’ campaign launched this week (9 Nov) at the Youth Climate Summit. Trailblazing schools across the UK are joining Let’s Go Zero, pledging to be zero carbon by 2030. 

Let’s Go Zero is run by Ashdena UK-based climate solutions charity, in partnership with Global Action Plan and a coalition of sustainable schools organisations. 

Mathilde wrote: 

Dear Mr Sunak 

As you are aware at Saint Francis Xavier School in Richmond (North Yorkshire) we take environmental issues very seriously. Since you visited we have increased our biodiversity within our school, but we were wondering if you could help us increase it throughout Richmond! 

Some ideas that came to mind were having flowerbed road banks to help with pollination, or maybe put some more wild-flower areas in the park. 

We have also been looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint. We have encouraged everyone to turn their PCs, projectors and lights off at the end of each school day. Have you been doing this? 

Even though this will be more of a long-term project, do you think it would be possible to change some (if not all) of the school buses into either hybrid electric or full electric? It would reduce use of petrol which would lower the pollution being caused by people who have to travel to get to school. Another thing is trying to encourage people, who can, to walk to school rather than drive, or if not walking then maybe cycling. 

These are just a few ideas to help not just the school, but also the surrounding areas! 

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