PUPIL VOICE: Blogs & Articles by our Young Journalists

19 November 2021

WHY COP26 IS SO IMPORTANT FOR OUR GENERATION: A Blog by Meg P, Year 11 Young Journalist

Calling upon all members of the Rougemont community, yes you! Everyone is talking
about COP26 but what even is this and why should it matter to us?

Well, COP26 is the next annual UN climate change conference. COP stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’ and last week in Glasgow, the summit was attended by the countries that signed the UNFCCC. I’m sure you have all been informed about our planet’s plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. However, have you, a vital member of our community, actually considered contributing to this change?

We all must not only be listening and understanding the crisis, immediate action is additionally important to achieving our goals. Tackling climate change is the most prominent hurdle facing our generation and the transition to ‘clean energy’ is critical to help us achieve the aim of reaching net-zero by 2050.

We must keep global warming below 1.5º if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for future generations. In addition, you may have not taken into consideration that the impacts so far have not been evenly spread around the globe and in the future, they will also not. Temperature increases at various speeds

everywhere but the most active changes are occurring in the Arctic during its cool seasons and in areas closest to the equator during the warmest seasons.

Furthermore, keeping global warming below this level is necessary to avoid droughts, floods and rising sea levels, loss or extinction of species, extreme weather, food scarcity, damage to the rainforests and marine ecosystems.

Unfortunately, these are only a few areas of damage global warming will cause without the help of all of us.

As the COP26 has aimed for a global agreement for all countries to phase out coal-fired power, consumers also have a crucial role to play. Therefore, what can we as a Rougemont community do to help?

Most of us own items imported from all over the world but we can all buy less and buy better. Nevertheless, buying better isn’t about buying British. Although that is sometimes the most sustainable choice, it is about trying to be a conscious consumer.

We can find out where and how products are made and buy energy-efficient or sustainable products that are designed to last for extended periods. Buying sustainably doesn’t have to be more expensive, either. It’s often possible to save money by using things you already own, re-use, re-purpose, and upcycle. What you are looking for does not have to be brand new; why not swap, borrow, hire, or buy it second-hand instead or even visit a zero waste shop like ‘Sero’ at Tredegar Park.

Recently, the senior Eco club is conjuring a plan to increase recycling and reuse throughout our school and as a member of this project, I hope to update you shortly. Finally, our Prep School are taking part in ‘The Big Switch Off’, which is a two week period where our younger pupils will aim to reduce their use of energy as possible. For example, on Tuesday, Year 1 pupils were learning about how turning off the lights, hairdryers, kettles, Ipad chargers etc can all help us make a positive step towards net-zero by 2050. Our Eco Prefect, Amelia writes about this in her article on page 9.  Even turning your heating down or putting on an extra jumper is surely worth it to conserve our wonderful Earth.

Now, Rougemont Eco-warriors, are you all up for the challenge?

Meg P, Year 11 Young Journalist & Eco Committee Member

 

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5th November 2021

VEGETARIANISM: A Blog by Isobel M, Young Journalist

Over the years, the school’s population of vegetarians (someone who doesn’t eat meat) and vegans (someone who doesn’t eat anything that comes from animals such as dairy and eggs, along with meat), has increased, which poses many questions. 

Why are people going vegetarian? 

What are the school vegetarian meals like? 

Is it difficult being vegetarian? 

Do non-vegetarians and meat-eaters feel guilty about eating meat? 

We decided to find out.

To begin with, we interviewed Mrs DeCruz, head of the Religious Studies department and a recently-turned vegan. Here are some of the questions we asked.

How long have you been vegan and why did you first become one?

  • “Well, I started off being Vegetarian when I was about twelve because of Animal rights reasons; then, a couple of years ago, I realised that if I was vegetarian to protect Animal rights, then it would make more sense to become vegan as well.”

What benefits have you noticed since becoming vegan?

  • “I have noticed many health benefits since becoming vegan; I feel a lot better and my sleep has improved, too”

What type of meals do you eat as a vegan?

  • “As the rest of my family are not vegan or vegetarian, I make very versatile meals like Bolognese and chilli and mainly just substitute the meat for my portion. I also take some supplements such as vitamin B12 and Iron to sustain a nutritious diet whilst maintaining my beliefs.”

 

We also wanted to get the other side of the story, and spoke to some non-vegetarian sixth formers who would like to remain anonymous. This is how it went:

Do you ever feel bad about eating meat?

  • “Yes and no, I suppose. I do feel bad for the poor animals, however I think it is part of the food chain and vegetarianism could possibly be bad for the environment and the animal population could get out of control.”

Have you ever been vegetarian before and if so, why did you stop?

  • “Yes, I did try going vegetarian once but it only lasted for about a week because I just found it really difficult and wasn’t getting the nutrients I needed.”

Would you consider trying organic meat?

  • ” I already try to, whenever I can!”

Do  you think that eating meat is morally wrong?

  • “Well, yes and no. The animals did nothing to deserve it, but at the same time I think that animals are a gift from God and are meant to be eaten.”

 

To get another point of view, we spoke to Rosie and her friend from year 7, who have both been vegetarians for most – if not all – of their lives. Here are the results of our interview:

Why did you turn vegetarian?

  • “I’ve just never really liked the taste of meat so becoming vegetarian made the most sense for me.”
  • ” Me and my family are all vegetarian and so I’ve basically just been vegetarian for all my life.”

Do you feel that people who eat meat are in the wrong?

  • “No, as long as the meat is organic and cruelty-free.”

 

Finally, we spoke to Abi in year nine who has been vegetarian for about a year.

Does the school always offer a satisfying vegetarian option each day?

  • “Most days but not always. They offer nice food however they could maybe provide a few more options for vegetarians. Although we have noticed that the plant-based and vegetarian options have improved a lot!

What is your favourite vegetarian meal that the school offers?

  • “Stuffed peppers!”

From our discussions, we have come to the conclusion that – whilst cutting meat out of your diet may not be for everyone – it certainly has many benefits as long as your nutritional needs are still being sustained and this, along with religious reasons and personal preference, could perhaps be why so many people seem to be vegetarian now. 

Furthermore, we have also concluded that there is a wide variety of different food-preferences and diets here at rougemont school, and the school appears to be doing a good job at meeting and providing for all of these different requirements.