Climate and Biodiversity project

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<strong>Climate</strong> & <strong>Biodiversity</strong> Comparisons<br />

The Leys Primary & Kathm<strong>and</strong>u English School

Our two schools have formed a strong international partnership over<br />

the past few years working on various activities linked to the<br />

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One such <strong>project</strong>, was the<br />

setting up of an enrichment club at The Leys Primary, with the<br />

support of a ‘Tomorrow’s <strong>Climate</strong> Scientists’ grant’ from the Royal<br />

Society to compare the climate <strong>and</strong> biodiversity that are found in <strong>and</strong><br />

around our two schools.<br />

This collaborative <strong>project</strong> explores the multiple causes of climate<br />

change, the approaches being taken to tackle it <strong>and</strong> potential impact<br />

on biodiversity. In order to provide a focus to the issues,<br />

air pollution is used as the main discussion point as it is something<br />

that communities all over the world can change – today & tomorrow.

The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the<br />

United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty,<br />

protect the planet, <strong>and</strong> ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace<br />

<strong>and</strong> prosperity.<br />

The 17 SDGs are integrated—<br />

recognizing that action in one<br />

area will affect outcomes in<br />

others <strong>and</strong> air quality can be<br />

linked to several Global Goals,<br />

including 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 12 <strong>and</strong> 13.

Dr Carolyn Devereux - who<br />

supported this <strong>project</strong> – is from<br />

the University of Hertfordshire.<br />

Carolyn is a lecturer in Astrophysics <strong>and</strong> explained to<br />

students from The Leys Primary what her job involves.<br />

She teaches Physics to university students <strong>and</strong> some of<br />

this involves measuring <strong>and</strong> gathering data - including<br />

climate data. Hence why Carolyn is also part of the Centre<br />

for <strong>Climate</strong> Change Research (C3R) at the University.

Poster created by a student<br />

at The Leys Primary<br />

to raise awareness of<br />

climate change

Air quality – particle pollution<br />

Particle pollution — also called particulate matter (PM) — is made<br />

up of particles of solids or liquids that are in the air. Some particles<br />

are big enough (or appear dark enough) to see — for example, you<br />

can often see smoke in the air. Others are so small that you can’t<br />

see them in the air.<br />

Breathing in particle pollution can be harmful to your health.<br />

Coarse (bigger) particles, called PM 10 , can irritate your eyes, nose,<br />

<strong>and</strong> throat. Dust from roads, farms, dry riverbeds, construction<br />

sites, <strong>and</strong> mines are types of PM 10 .<br />

Fine (smaller) particles, called PM 2.5 , are more dangerous because<br />

they can get deep into your lungs - or even into your blood.

Stevenage, UK<br />

A local newspaper article from<br />

May 2023, highlighted that air<br />

pollution in Stevenage was well<br />

over the 'health limit' set out by<br />

the World Health Organisation<br />

(WHO), according to Friends of<br />

the Earth data. The statistics<br />

showed the annual concentration<br />

of PM 2.5 in Stevenage was<br />

significantly higher than the<br />

WHO's 5 µg/m 3 'health limit',<br />

sitting at 7.8 µg/m 3 .

PM 2.5 measurement -<br />

Near Stevenage (S<strong>and</strong>y)

Key findings<br />

●<br />

●<br />

●<br />

●<br />

●<br />

Levels of pollution have decreased over the past 10 years<br />

Rarely gets to levels that are deemed unhealthy for all people<br />

The highest levels of pollution were recorded from 2016-18 during<br />

the early parts of the year<br />

However, 2019 appears to goes against the trend in that it has<br />

lower levels compared to 2020. We predict this is because of the<br />

Covid-19 lockdown when people were not allowed to leave their<br />

homes. Therefore, reducing the numbers of cars on the road<br />

From 2014-2019, the air pollution is greater at beginning<br />

of the year. This could be because the colder months generally<br />

find more people using vehicles to get around.

Kathm<strong>and</strong>u, the capital<br />

city of Nepal, is a<br />

‘hotspot’ of urban air<br />

pollution in South Asia.<br />

The reason for this is<br />

partly to do its<br />

geographical location:<br />

it’s found in a bowlshaped<br />

valley which is<br />

surrounded by tall<br />

mountains which trap<br />

urban air pollutants.<br />

Kathm<strong>and</strong>u, Nepal

PM 2.5 measurement -<br />

Kathm<strong>and</strong>u (US Embassy)

PM 2.5 measurement -<br />

Kathm<strong>and</strong>u (US Embassy)

Key findings<br />

●<br />

●<br />

●<br />

●<br />

Far higher pollution levels than recorded for Stevenage<br />

Highest levels of pollution occur in winter months. This could be<br />

because colder air will take longer to rise out of Kathm<strong>and</strong>u<br />

valley<br />

During winter months, pollution is deemed to be a health hazard<br />

for all of the population<br />

2020 appears to goes against the trend of decreasing over time.<br />

This may be due to the Covid-19 p<strong>and</strong>emic when free movement<br />

of people was restricted. Therefore, reducing the numbers of cars<br />

<strong>and</strong> other vehicles on the road.

Poster created by a student<br />

at The Leys Primary<br />

to raise awareness of<br />

climate change

A common narrative we see in public<br />

discussions is that levels of air pollution<br />

are at their highest levels in history.<br />

With continued urbanization, denselypopulated<br />

cities <strong>and</strong> city driving, this<br />

narrative can be easy to believe. But for<br />

rich countries today, such as the UK,<br />

this is far from true. Air pollution levels<br />

today are at some of their lowest levels<br />

in decades.

In the scatterplot opposite we see the comparison of exposure to<br />

PM 2.5 in 1990 (y-axis) <strong>and</strong> exposure in 2017 (x-axis).<br />

Here we see a very strong regional split: pollution levels have fallen<br />

across most of Europe <strong>and</strong> North America whilst pollution has<br />

increased in recent decades across most countries in Asia <strong>and</strong> Africa.

Is climate change real?<br />

There is unequivocal evidence that the Earth is warming at an<br />

unprecedented rate, this includes the following parameters:<br />

• Global temperature is rising<br />

• The oceans are getting warmer<br />

• The ice sheets are shrinking<br />

• Glaciers are retreating<br />

• Sea levels are rising

Yearly global<br />

temperatures from<br />

1880-2023 compared to<br />

the twentieth-century<br />

average. Global average<br />

surface temperature<br />

has risen 0.14 degrees<br />

Fahrenheit per decade<br />

since 1880. The rate of<br />

warming has more than<br />

doubled since 1981.<br />

Data from NOAA NCEI.

Seasonal heat content<br />

in the top half-mile of<br />

the ocean compared to<br />

the 1955-2006 average.<br />

Heat content in the<br />

global ocean has been<br />

above-average (red<br />

bars) since the mid-<br />

1990s. Graph by NOAA<br />

<strong>Climate</strong>.gov, based on<br />

data from NOAA NCEI.

The total area of the<br />

Arctic Ocean that was<br />

at least 15% ice covered<br />

each September from<br />

1979–2023. Since 1980,<br />

the amount of ice that<br />

survives the summer<br />

has declined by 13.1<br />

percent per decade.<br />

Data from the National<br />

Snow <strong>and</strong> Ice Data<br />

Center (NSIDC).

Ice loss relative to 1970<br />

for the glaciers in the<br />

World Glacier<br />

Monitoring Service's<br />

climate reference<br />

network. Including the<br />

preliminary values for<br />

2019-2020, these<br />

glaciers have lost a<br />

volume of ice equivalent<br />

to about 27.5 meters (90<br />

feet) of water spread<br />

out over each glacier.<br />

Data from WGMS.

Seasonal sea level<br />

compared to the 1993-<br />

2008 average, based on<br />

a combination of tide<br />

gauges (light blue) <strong>and</strong><br />

satellite data (darker<br />

blue). In 2020, global<br />

mean sea level hit a<br />

new record high: 91.3<br />

mm (3.6 inches) above<br />

1993 levels. Data from<br />


Benefits of exercise<br />

The WHO recommends that children aged 5 – 17 should take part in<br />

at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical<br />

activity every day.<br />

Students from all year groups at The Leys Primary (n = 370) were<br />

asked how they travel to school to determine how much physical<br />

activity this involves.

The survey showed<br />

that less than 60%<br />

of students got<br />

some form of<br />

exercise travelling<br />

to <strong>and</strong> from school.

Examples of<br />

badges made<br />

by students<br />

from The<br />

Leys Primary

Poster created by a student<br />

at The Leys Primary<br />

to raise awareness of<br />

climate change

Impact of exercise<br />

on the circulatory system

Scientific investigation<br />

Pupils then investigated the impact of exercise on heart rate <strong>and</strong><br />

blood pressure.<br />

Students to add the results <strong>and</strong> conclusions from the investigation

Benefits of active travel<br />

Encouraging students to walk, cycle or scooter to school rather<br />

than come by car can help them to become fitter <strong>and</strong> healthier<br />

whilst also addressing the amount of air pollution emitted by cars.

Exercise vs air pollution<br />

When you are physically active, you breathe more often <strong>and</strong><br />

take more air into your lungs than when you are inactive.<br />

If the air quality is poor, you may breathe in a larger amount<br />

of harmful pollutants. In addition, while exercising, you are<br />

more likely to breathe through your<br />

mouth rather than your nose. Unlike<br />

the nose, the mouth is unable to<br />

filter out certain large pollutants in<br />

the air <strong>and</strong> stop them from entering<br />

the lungs. Therefore, breathing<br />

through the mouth can lead to more<br />

pollutants entering the airways <strong>and</strong><br />

potentially damaging the lungs.

Long-term impact of air pollution<br />

Long-term exposure to<br />

polluted air can have<br />

permanent health<br />

effects, including<br />

making people more<br />

susceptible to illness<br />

<strong>and</strong> disease. Many of<br />

these effects may not<br />

become apparent for<br />

many years, but the air<br />

children breathe today<br />

can have a significant<br />

impact on their health<br />

in later life.

What can we do?

Clean Air Day is the UK's largest<br />

campaign on air pollution.<br />

Coordinated by Global Action Plan,<br />

the campaign encourages schools,<br />

businesses <strong>and</strong> communities to find<br />

about more about air pollution <strong>and</strong><br />

show their support for action to<br />

make our air cleaner <strong>and</strong> healthier<br />

for everyone.

This Clean Air Day Thursday 20th June,<br />

take simple actions <strong>and</strong> make a difference!<br />

• Learn: Find out more about how air pollution impacts<br />

our mental, physical <strong>and</strong> planet’s health.<br />

• Act: Walk, wheel or use public transport to reduce<br />

your exposure <strong>and</strong> contribution to air pollution. If you<br />

take the car, try leaving it behind on Clean Air Day <strong>and</strong><br />

one day every week.<br />

• Ask: Get in touch with your local councillor to ask<br />

them to support clean air measures that make it easier<br />

for you to breathe clean air.


Local biodiversity study

The students will use iNaturalist to help them identify the plants<br />

<strong>and</strong> animals that are found in <strong>and</strong> around their school<br />

environment whilst also generating data for science<br />

<strong>and</strong> conservation.<br />

They will then investigate the difference types<br />

of species that were found in the UK <strong>and</strong> Nepal<br />

<strong>and</strong> aim to identify similarities <strong>and</strong> differences.

49<br />

Poster created by a student<br />

at The Leys Primary<br />

to raise awareness of<br />

climate change

CREDITS: This presentation template was created by Slidesgo, <strong>and</strong><br />

includes icons by Flaticon <strong>and</strong> infographics & images by Freepik

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