Last night Greg Barker, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, launched his Root to Branch pamphlet on embedding an understanding of the environment into education. Click here to download the pdf.

David Cameron was there and praised Barker’s work. He joked about how he was involved in his leadership campaign at a stage when they could have had team meetings in a taxi, or even in the front of Barker’s sports car. He went on to speak about using Conservative means to tackle climate change, and how centre-right political leaders around the world had been asking him how he’d managed to get a conservative party so focused on the environment as an issue.

In introducing his pamphlet Barker added that man made climate change remained the "greatest long-term threat" to Britain and was therefore too big a problem to leave with just one generation. The main problems Barker identifies are:

  • School trips to the countryside hindered by health and safety worries and cost to parents
  • Lack of relevant teaching skills and insufficient coverage of climate change in textbooks
  • Schools themselves aren’t being built and run with enough efficiency
  • Too many parents don’t let their children cycle to school

And his recommendations include:

  • Schools should appoint ‘Climate Change Champions’
  • More support for farm schools and school/farm twinning programmes
  • More freedom for school caterers to buy local seasonal food
  • Create a new body responsible for spreading best practice in schools