A GATHERING of sharp minds keen to learn about climate change is commonplace nowadays but a little more unusual is when it’s in Gympie and the minds belong to primary school children.
Around 215 students from across the region attended the CarbonKids Climate Change Workshop at Gympie West State School yesterday.
They were there to hear about the latest climate change science from real scientists, learn more about sustainability and contribute their own thoughts and ideas on the issues.
A CSIRO initiative with funding support from Bayer, the program helps students understand the concept of climate change and encourages positive actions that make a direct contribution to becoming sustainable.
And it’s cutting edge stuff.
Young people get the chance to hear the latest science advances pertaining to emissions reductions and alternative energy sources, such as solar power used to change the chemistry of fuels to make them more powerful.
CarbonKids co-ordinator Angela Colliver said a range of rotational activities kept the youngsters engaged – from brainstorming carbon footprint reduction plans to creating microclimates.
“They asked some amazing questions,” Ms Colliver said.
“They demonstrated deep thinking, critical inquiry and real leadership skills. They represented Gympie beautifully.”
Ms Colliver said the program did not assume that children were empty vessels in need of filling up with information; instead it was about inspiring them to think about the science objectively.
“They form their own conclusions and look at it from a range of perspectives,” she said.
After Dr Peter Osman gave his presentation, the kid-friendly CSIRO scientist mingled freely with the students, chatting to them and answering questions.
It was not about persuading people that global warming was occurring, Dr Osman said, but showing them where to find information to allow them to make up their own minds.
Whether or not people are causing climate change, the fact remains that we are running out of fossil fuels, he pointed out.
“We try to give a very balanced picture of what climate change is about and discuss where we might be getting our energy from in the future.
"Children understand the need to save energy,” he said.
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