Stowe hosted the inaugural National Schools’ Assembly on the climate crisis on Friday 15 October 2021.

The Schools’ Climate Action event aimed to raise awareness of the detrimental impacts of climate change, we encouraged schools all around the UK to pledge to join us in becoming Carbon Net Zero.

400 students from across the UK joined us for the day: to listen to speakers, take part in exercises and to embrace practical solutions that will ensure we achieve a greener, more sustainable planet.

Opening the proceedings in the Main Tent on the South Front, with 1,500 pupils, Gregory Nasmyth (Event Sponsor and Environmental Philanthropist) introduced the thinking behind the day and the need for action. John Sauven (Executive Director, Greenpeace UK) followed, speaking about the need for change. He delivered some thought-provoking statistics and spoke of the actions required by us all as individuals, as well as on a national and international scale.

Throughout the day, visiting students, pupils, teachers and Stoics formed breakout sessions in the State Rooms and across the School. With guest environmental specialists leading sessions, the students took part in activities supported by Sixth Form Stoic Climate Ambassadors.

For some pupils, lunch was a do-it-yourself affair, with the Climate Ambassadors being treated to a talk and demonstration by zero-waste chef, author and TV presenter Max La Manna. Max is an advocate for sustainability, educating people on how to reduce food waste and how to be more reliant on the food they already have. Following the cooking demonstration, the pupils re-grouped in the breakout rooms where they tried to re-create the lunch recipe they had been shown.

The Head, Dr Wallersteiner, interviewed one of UK’s best-loved wildlife television presenters, Michaela Strachan. Michaela talked about her journey as a presenter and her experience of dealing with the impact on the natural world and of the climate emergency.

To finish the conference, John Sauven gave the closing keynote speech, reinforcing the important messages that had been delivered throughout the day. A party atmosphere to mark the end of the event, on the North Front lawn, with live music performed by the Stowe community, in the Climate Change Concert featuring Stoic performers as well as Old Stoic Mali Aitchison (Nugent 18). Food trucks (Carbon Net Zero companies creating vegetarian or vegan sustainably sourced food) served supper to all.

The Schools’ Climate Action event at Stowe was a real game changer. I have always believed in the power of young people to make a difference. I believe their voices are critical to get the change we need. – John Sauven, Greenpeace UK

Stowe Parents were invited to join the closing interviews, speeches and the concert, before being served dinner in the Music Room. Dinner was created by zero-waste chef, Max La Manna.

Closing the dinner was a talk by explorer Justin Packshaw, who shared details of his next expedition which involves skiing 2,000 miles across the ‘White Continent’ from coast to coast, through the Geographic South Pole, relying solely on manpower and kites. During his voyage, Justin will be conducting research for NASA, the European Space Agency and Stanford University.

Whilst the event had to be limited in the number attending, we are pleased to say the message of the day was shared by the media who covered the day with interest, spreading the word nationally. The Schools’ Climate Action event appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the BBC and Sky News, only helping to highlight the issues and raise awareness of the aim of the day. All the resources from the day have been shared with all UK Secondary State Schools so they can run their own event in their schools for their pupils.

Was the aim of the day achieved? In receiving the following, in an email from one of our visiting schools after the event, we think the answer is a resounding YES!

“We want to say a HUGE thank you for an unforgettable day. We are honoured to be invited and to be part of this movement Stowe has created. You really are all Change Makers!”

Thank you to all who gave so much, in so many ways, to contribute to this incredible day, especially Gregory Nasmyth and Samantha Rowe-Beddoe who made it all possible.

Inspirational speakers throughout the day included: Joycelyn Longdon, Neil Agius, Rt Hon Sir Ed Davey MP, Dr Tamsin Edwards, Dr Roger Highfield, ClassVR, Dr Stephen Smith, Climate interactive, BEIS and The World Land Trust (WLT).


Tori Roddy, Group Director of Marketing and Admissions