Pupils from eight Coventry schools recently gathered to get in touch with nature and learn about sustainable living to mark the start of COP27.

St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, part of the Romero Catholic Academy, welcomed 60 pupils to the second Romero Eco Conference ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt.

The academy-wide forum was set up to address climate change after pupils wrote to the senior leadership team at Romero Catholic Academy to ask what they planned to do in response to the challenges raised at COP26 in Glasgow last year.

Pupils took part in a series of educational workshops all focused on sustainability, addressing topics including the product lifetime of everyday gadgets such as smartphones and recycling, and spent time in St Patrick’s Forest School, learning about shelter building and staying safe outdoors.

The day also coincided with the Feast of St Charles Borromeo, the patron saint of apple orchards, with Victor Bellanti, Foundation Director of the Romero Catholic Academy Board of Directors, donating an apple tree sapling to each school to mark the occasion.

Mark McLoughlin, Principal at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, thanked Victor for the donation, and encouraged pupils to see their trees as symbols of the difference they can make to the planet with care and hard work.

He said: “It was fantastic to hold this year’s Eco Conference at St Patrick’s on the eve of COP27 and the day of the Feast of St Charles Borromeo.

“We have all been thoroughly impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment from the children here today as they look to make a real difference in their schools and communities in response to the climate crisis.

“The fruits of the apple trees so kindly donated by Victor will take a lot of nurturing to grow, but will be a sign of the efforts and intentions of these very pupils and staff members here today in the years to come.”

Victor Bellanti said: “It’s been a really interesting and fun-filled day alongside addressing some incredibly important issues.

“We all have a lot to learn around sustainability. With days such as this our schools are giving children a fighting chance of making a difference and changing deep-rooted behaviours, and I’m already looking forward to attending the next conference.”

David Harris, Adviser for Catholic Education at Birmingham Diocesan Education Services, was also impressed with the Eco Conference.

He said: “The day was a wonderful opportunity to witness Romero MAC’s commitment to Laudato Si' and caring for God’s creation.  The children and young people participated in a number of workshops and spoke with passion about the actions they can take to make a difference in the world we live in.”

Pictured: Mark McLoughlin, Victor Bellanti and David Harris with pupils from across the Romero Catholic Academy

Environmental Issues in the Archdiocese of Birmingham

Find out how we are addressing climate change and responding to the Call of creation on the Diocesan Environment Page.